Now that the days are cooler, and the air feels like Fall, I have begun to incorporate soups into my family’s nightly supper. Arriving home when it is dark and cold outside, my family enjoys the warmth and coziness of soup waiting for them! We like thicker soups, with lots of vegetables. Sometimes my kids comment that they need a fork rather than a spoon, but you can make the soups thinner by adding more water or stock.
Many soups are surprisingly easy to make, and are easily adaptable to your family’s specific tastes. I do strongly recommend purchasing an immersion blender—they are not a big investment, and help create soups that are thick, smooth and appealing. In keeping with the simcha issue of the paper, a great soup can be the centerpiece of a low-key meal when all the family is gathered together before or after the simcha. A tureen of soup, some garlic bread and possibly some soup add-ins like bowls of croutons or fresh herbs, are all you need to feed a large group without a lot of fuss. Here are some of our favorite soup recipes:
Sweet Potato Leek Soup
4 medium sweet potatoes; peeled, thinly sliced
3 leeks, white parts; washed, thinly sliced. (Leeks are very sandy, they should be sliced down the side, so all the layers are exposed and rinsed very well.)
1 medium onion; chopped
1 clove garlic; minced
2 tbls. olive oil
8 cups stock (or water with bouillon)
1 medium Idaho potato; peeled, thinly sliced
Salt, pepper to taste (be generous!
Cook sweet potatoes, leeks, onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until tender—about 20 minutes. Add stock and potato. Bring to a boil, simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add salt, pepper. Puree with an immersion blender or in blender.
Mushroom Barley Soup
3 tbls. oil
1 1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 pound mushrooms; sliced
1 tsp. Salt
4 tbls. sherry
1/2 cup barley
1½ cup stock
4 tbls. soy sauce
Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil. When onions are transparent, add sliced mushrooms, salt, sherry, and cook uncovered until mushrooms are soft. In a soup pot, cook barley in 1 1/2 cups in stock until tender. Add mushroom mixture, soy sauce, and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes.
Easy Vegetable Soup
1 onion; thinly sliced
6 cups water
2 tsps soup mix
Assorted vegetables, chopped. I use an assortment of carrots, celery, turnips, parsnip, cauliflower, squash, zucchini, sweet potato, etc!
½ cup uncooked alphabet noodles
2 tbls. soy sauce
Sauté onion until soft. Add water, soup mix, and vegetables. Bring to a boil. Cook about 1/2 hour. Add soy sauce, return to boil, cook until all vegetables are soft. Sometimes I throw the alphabet noodles in with the vegetables, which creates a thicker soup; sometimes I cook the alphabet noodles separately, and then spoon some into each bowl.
Easy Butternut Squash Soup
I am embarrassed to include this recipe, since it is really so easy, but I have served it many times and always have my guests calling or emailing for the recipe. Yummy food does not have to be difficult!
1 onion; chopped
Approximately 5 cups stock (or water with chicken soup mix)
Lots of chopped butternut squash. The more squash you use, the richer and thicker the soup will be. I use 2 butternut squash.
Salt, pepper to taste
A dash of nutmeg
Sauté onion until soft in a soup pot. Add butternut squash and stock to cover squash. Bring to a boil. Cook 45 minutes, until the squash is soft. Puree with an immersion blender. Season to taste.
By Chavie Hagler