Category Archives: soup

Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight Meals

Hey there! I hope you’ve been enjoying my annual post-holidays savory food content. While I love baking desserts and am ready to get back to it, I thoroughly enjoy changing it up for a month every year. I still have one more savory recipe coming your way this month, but it’s more Super Bowl-centric than balanced, nutritious, and delicious.

Before we start talking about cheesy dips and chili and guacamole and brownies though, I want to take a minute to acknowledge some of my favorite cold weather weeknight meals from the archives. After four Januaries (Januarys?) as a blogger, I have a lot of them. For this post, I’ve narrowed the list down to the five that I make most frequently. Three of them are soup—depending if you are a #soupseason person or not, I’ll either say “you’re welcome” or owe you an apology…in the form of a big cookie.Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight MealsSopa de Pollo

My iPad keeps autocorrecting “sopa” to “soap” de pollo, which sounds very gross. But this soup is the exact opposite of that—it’s delicious and nourishing with a decidedly Mexican flavor. Oh, and it’s dead easy; the prep takes all of ten minutes. Just put a bunch of vegetables, herbs, bone-in chicken and stock on to boil. Forty minutes later, remove the chicken, shred it, and return it to the pot. And um, well, that’s literally it. Easiest chicken soup ever.Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight MealsEveryday Cassoulet

This might be my favorite weeknight meal on this site. I’ve been making it for eight years and it always hits the spot. I mean, who doesn’t like sausages baked with tomatoes, pearl onions, and white beans?! Like Sopa de Pollo, this meal takes one hour start-to-finish and most of it is hands-off. Everyday Cassoulet is hearty without being heavy, and is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. While it’s perfect for any weeknight, I’ve made this recipe for multiple dinner parties to rave reviews. Love that versatility!Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight MealsSausage, Kale & White Bean Soup

If you love the flavors in Everyday Cassoulet, this soup is for you! In this one-hour recipe, Italian sausage, white beans, mirepoix (fancy French word for the combination of carrot, onion, and celery), and kale are simmered together in a tomato broth. This is the kind of good & good-for-you comfort food that I love, especially when it’s paired with cheesy Parmesan & Black Pepper Biscuits!Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight MealsRoasted Cauliflower Soup

I am the sort of person that generally doesn’t care for cream soups or savory dairy-based things (except for this), but this Roasted Cauliflower Soup is so good, it may well change my tune. Made by roasting cauliflower florets until golden and then puréeing them with aromatics, butter, stock and half-and-half, this vegetarian soup is one of my favorites to make and eat. I’m not alone in this—I make it at work at least once every two weeks and it always disappears quickly.Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight MealsPasta Bolognese

Now, you may not think of bolognese sauce as a weeknight meal because it takes a while to prepare, but if you simmer a pot on the weekend and then chill it, you can get at least two family-of-four-sized meals out of it. If spending three hours making sauce sounds daunting, just know that most of it is spent letting the sauce bubble away. When all is said and done, the final product is rich, delicious, meaty magic that will have you wondering why you didn’t make a double batch! I like to keep this stuff in the freezer for when the big-bowl-of-pasta mood strikes. And while I have not yet tried it, I imagine this sauce would make killer lasagna.Friday Favorites: Wintry Weeknight MealsHave you made these or any of my other weeknight meals? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsI love January on this blog. It’s not that I’m not into making desserts all the time—and you know I can’t quit baking completely—but it’s really fun to share recipes that are part of my everyday life. The sorts of things that I make on the weekends and then delegate as lunch or dinner for the next four days. #singlelady Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsI’ve been making this Roasted Butternut Squash Soup for the last few months and I can’t get enough. It’s super simple to put together and very wholesome and comforting.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsDid I mention that it’s made almost entirely of vegetables and contains zero dairy? This soup’s creamy, velvety texture comes from one unsuspecting secret ingredient: a turnip.* It’s diced up and roasted with the butternut squash until everything is golden and sweet. Yum.

*Yes, the turnip pictured is comically large. That’s what I get for shopping ten minutes before close on a Friday night.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsThe roasted vegetables are then combined with some softened aromatics and stock (chicken or vegetable, whatever you have on hand), simmered for a few minutes, and puréed into a thick, rich, nutritious soup.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup provides a great blank slate for any number of garnishes. I was tempted to go with crispy bacon or even a wintry pesto, but decided instead to make something out of the seeds from my butternut squash!Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsWhile the vegetables were roasting, I rinsed the seeds to remove the fibrous squash innards. Then I toasted them in a dry pan just until they started to pop. After that, I added some olive oil, maple syrup, ancho powder, cayenne and salt, and stirred until they were brown and crispy.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsThe results are spicy, salty, sweet Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds, perfect for garnishing soup. Or eating by the tiny handful while you wait for your subpar Chinese takeout to arrive, which is exactly what happened to these. Ah, well.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
makes 4-6 servings

1 2 lb butternut squash
1 large or 2 medium white turnips
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large or 2 small Spanish onions, 1/2-inch diced
3-5 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1/2-3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 425F.

Peel butternut squash and use a large, sharp chef’s knife to cut it into 1-inch chunks. Reserve seeds for Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds (recipe below).

Peel turnip(s) and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place turnip and butternut squash pieces on 2 dry rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle each pan with 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) olive oil and toss to coat vegetables. Roast 50-60 minutes, tossing every 25 minutes. They should be soft and caramelized in places. (The roasting time is a good time to make Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds.)

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 6-quart soup pot over medium heat. Add diced onion and crushed garlic cloves and cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened. Stir in roasted vegetables. Add stock, water, and bay leaves. Turn heat to high. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove pot from heat. Discard bay leaves. Use a stick-blender to purée soup. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.

Serve soup with butternut seed garnish. Leftovers will kee in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds
makes about 1/3 cup

~1/3 cup butternut squash seeds (from 1 butternut squash)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground ancho, chipotle or other chile powder
pinch of ground cayenne pepper
pinch of fine sea salt
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

Place squash seeds in a small mixing bowl and cover with water. Use your fingertips to remove pithy squash innards from seeds, discarding them as you go. Pour seeds through a colander and remove any remaining pith.

Place seeds in an even layer on a clean, dry kitchen towel (or double layer of paper towels). Blot dry with another kitchen towel (or paper towel).

Heat a medium heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-low heat. Add squash seeds and toast, stirring every minute or two, until they start to pop. Do not burn.

Reduce heat to low. Stir in olive oil. Return heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to darken and pop again. Do not burn.

Mix in chile powder, cayenne, salt, and maple syrup. Stir constantly for 1-2 minutes, until the seeds clump. Remove from heat.

Transfer seeds to a plate and let cool completely. Serve with Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds

Potato Soup

Potato SoupWhat was the first recipe you ever committed to memory?Potato SoupFor me, it was this Potato Soup—my mom’s. It was our traditional pre-church Christmas Eve dinner for our entire childhood. Every year, Mom would make a double batch and serve it with a spinach salad and warm rolls. It was a tradition we all loved and something we remember fondly.

As we got older and were more able to help in the kitchen, it fell to my little sister and me to make the soup (and the Christmas morning breakfast casserole) while Mom worked on other holiday-related tasks. It was fun to help out, and Mom’s Potato Soup is so simple that it wasn’t long before I ceased needing to peek at the recipe card and started making it from memory.Potato SoupSince then, I’ve made Potato Soup for friends, boyfriends, student film shoots, and even once for 125 Hurricane Katrina relief volunteers. My sister doesn’t even particularly like white potatoes,* but she had no problem putting away this soup on Monday night. Everybody—and I mean everybody—loves this soup.

*She also doesn’t like cinnamon rolls and stuffing. Freaking weirdo.Potato SoupIt’s easy to see why. My mom’s recipe is simple and straightforward. There are only seven ingredients (plus salt and pepper), so the flavors of buttery potato, onion, and garlic really shine through. Half-and-half is swapped for the usual heavy cream, so this soup won’t weigh you down either.Potato SoupAll that rich, creamy deliciousness is accented with a sprinkle of celery seed…Potato Soup…and melty cheddar, crispy bacon, and fresh scallions.Potato SoupIt doesn’t get simpler or more delicious than that.Potato Soup

Potato Soup
makes 3-4 servings

2 pounds red potatoes (about 7-8 potatoes)
2 quarts (8 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large white or Spanish onion, diced small
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4-1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

For serving:
shredded cheddar cheese
crispy bacon, crumbled or chopped
sliced scallions

This recipe makes enough for 3-4 people. If you have very hungry people and/or want seconds, double the batch.

Peel potatoes and cut into 2-inch chunks (mine were quartered). Place them in a large (6+ quart) heavy-bottomed pot and add stock. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove lid and reduce heat to medium-high. Continue to cook until potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Cook diced onion until translucent (but not brown), about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Set aside.

Set a large strainer over a large heatproof bowl. Pour potatoes & stock through the strainer, reserving stock.

Place potatoes back in the pot. Add onion mixture. Use a potato masher to mash potatoes until no large chunks remain. Stir in reserved stock (about 4 cups). Cover pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, scraping the bottom of the pot frequently to prevent burning, until thickened a reduced slightly (about 20-30 minutes).

Remove soup from heat. Stir in celery seed and half-and-half, followed by salt and pepper.

Place soup over medium-low heat (do not boil) for 5-7 minutes, just to bring it back to temperature.

Serve soup with cheddar, bacon, and/or scallions, if desired. Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.Potato SoupPotato Soup

Sopa de Pollo

Sopa de PolloEverybody has a favorite chicken soup recipe—until very recently, the Chicken Noodle Soup in the archives was mine. I still love that soup (I feel less affection for those horrible photos), but now that I’ve started making this Sopa de Pollo, it’s going to have to settle for being my second favorite.

It seems harsh—pushing aside a recipe I’ve loved for years in favor one that I started making on a whim last fall—but my version of this Mexican chicken soup is so easy, healthy, and deeply delicious that I’m only sorry I didn’t find it sooner.

Sopa de PolloThis Sopa de Pollo is adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s recipe. I saw her version a couple of years ago and then totally forgot about it until I was standing in the produce section of the grocery store a couple of months ago with no idea of what I wanted to make for the week. A quick Google search for Mexican-style chicken soup recipes led me back to Molly’s recipe, and now I’ve spent two months tweaking it and serving it as much as possible. Really. I’ve made it twice at my day job, once for my parents, another time for my little sister, and three more times just for me. I may or may not have a whole batch in the freezer right now. That may seem a little extreme for something I just started making a couple of months ago, but it’s just. that. good.

Sopa de Pollo

So, what makes this soup so outstanding? Well, for one, it only takes an hour start-to-finish. If that doesn’t have you putting ingredients on your grocery list, I don’t know what will. Speed isn’t everything though—let’s talk flavor.

Sopa de PolloSopa de Pollo

The broth here is flavored with a 1/2 bunch of whole cilantro sprigs and a handful of fresh mint leaves, in addition to the chicken and a good pinch of salt. The herbs soften and add incredible depth of flavor as they cook. There’s no need to remove them after cooking either, but you absolutely may if you’d like; just tie the herbs together with twine before you drop them into the pot, and lift them out with tongs when you’re done.

Sopa de Pollo

This Sopa de Pollo is chock full of vegetables, too. You’ll find big chunks of carrot, celery, onion, and zucchini in this soup, in addition to crushed whole garlic cloves and chayote. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a mild-flavored gourd that looks like this:

Sopa de Pollo

I find chayote at a regular supermarket, but if you can’t find it or don’t want to use it, feel free to leave it out. My sisters would tell you to swap it for corn. For that matter, you can add or subtract any vegetables you want here—make the soup you want to eat, y’all!

Sopa de Pollo

Take my favorite and make it yours.Sopa de Pollo

Sopa de Pollo
lightly adapted from Orangette
makes about 6-8 servings

3 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken pieces (I use chicken breasts, thighs, or a combination)
2 quarts chicken stock
4 medium carrots, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 stalks celery, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium white onion, diced large
2 medium zucchini, quartered, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 chayote, peeled, seed removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 bunch cilantro
leaves from 4 sprigs of mint
Kosher or sea salt, to taste

Combine chicken pieces and stock in a stockpot over high heat. Bring to a boil. Add carrots, celery, onion, zucchini, chayote, garlic, cilantro, and mint leaves. Once the soup returns to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook uncovered for 40 minutes. Remove pot from heat and use tongs to fish out chicken pieces.

Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin and bones and tear the meat into large pieces. Return meat to the pot. Taste for salt and adjust as necessary.

Serve in shallow bowls. Soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Sopa de Pollo