In my book, there is nothing better for dinner on a cold night than hot soup and bread. Today I'm sharing some of my go-to recipes and tips for simple, warm, nutricious soup dinners.
First, make sure you have a great stock pot or dutch oven. I love pulling out our Le Creuset to make a big pot of soup. My husband scored ours at a Le Creuset outlet store that was going out of business when he was nineteen! Lucky me, I married into some great cookware. (You could try finding one at CSN. They have everything from barstools to cookware to lighting. See their Le Creuset selection here.)
Also, I like to keep things on hand that add a nice garnish to my soups. A little lemon juice, for example, can pep up a chicken soup. Parsley is great to have to sprinkle on top of most soups, and real Parmesan cheese is an absolute must in our fridge--it's so tasty on a warm soup!
Most importantly, you need some great, never-fail soup recipes. Here are some of my favorites:
I love Taylor's french onion soup and potato spinach soup. (I often use broccoli in place of spinach.)
Here is a great looking squash soup--how Autumny is that?
And here is my version of 'pasta fazool.' I'm sure it's not super traditional, but it's my absolute favorite soup right now...so yummy.
1 package bacon1 yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped2 celery stalks, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced2 cans cannelini beans
2 cans diced tomatoes with juices8 cups water or chicken broth (I usually do about half and half)
freshly ground pepper1/2 pound small pasta shells
In a large soup pot, cook bacon on medium-low heat, until it renders its fat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the beans, the tomatoes, the water and broth, and simmer about 15 minutes.
To give the soup more body, remove 2 or 3 large spoonfuls of beans and vegetables, place in a blender, and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the pot. (I skip this step usually because I love a really brothy soup, but my husband prefers when I don't!)
Sometimes I throw in some chopped zucchini at this point, or whatever extra veggie I might want to use up. (Don't add zucc earlier, as it will get soggy.)
*I've gotten in the habit of never cooking pasta within soup. If you do, it soaks up too much liquid and gets soggy and yuck. I always cook it separately and add it in. This is especially nice when you're eating it for lunch the next day.
Hoping these recipes warm you up,