The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 6, 2014

Soup for February Chill

The Associated Press

Susquehanna Valley —  The traditional gesture of making and sharing soup has become something of a recent phenomenon, with detailed how-to's shared in recent women's magazines and a book devoted to the subject, "Soup Night: Recipes for Creating Community Around a Pot of Soup," by Maggie Stuckey.

Soup is relatively inexpensive and simple to prepare, after chopping is complete.

This week marks "National Homemade Soup Day," and with the weather forecast, the timing seems perfect.

If big eaters seem put off by soup as a main course, fill them up with a salad and great bread.

Here are some ideas you might want to try.

Chicken Noodle Soup

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 large leek, split lengthwise, well-rinsided, and sliced crosswise (white and light green parts)

3 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices

3 celery stalks, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch slices

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 3-pound rotisserie chicken, meat removed and shredded, bones discarded

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

8 ounces wide egg noodles

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, carrots, celery and garlic and saute until the vegetables are soft; 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the shredded chicken, chicken broth, thyme and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the noodles, then reduce the heat and simmer until the noodles are tender but still firm to the bite, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaf, ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with the parsley. Serves 8 to 10.

(Recipe courtesy of "In the Kitchen with David -- comfort foods that takes you home," David Venable,

Creamy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon sugar

3 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

Grilled Cheese Croutons  (makes 60)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

6 thin slices sandwich bread

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar

To make the soup, heat the butter and olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over low heat. Add the onion, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Sprinkle with the flour to make a roux, and stir constantly for 3 minutes more.

Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and vegetable broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper, if necessary. Remove the soup from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blender. (Alternatively, puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender). Return the soup to the pot and stir in the cream. Reheat over low heat just until hot. Do not boil. Serves 6 to 8.

To make the croutons, heat a grill pan or a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Mash together the butter and thyme in a small bowl until well blended.

Spread one side of each of the bread slices with the thyme butter. Place 3 slices, butter side down, in the hot pan. Top each slice with the cheese, then the remaining bread slices, butter side up. Grill until the sandwiches are toasted and browned and the cheese has melted, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove the sandwiches from the pan and allow them to cool slightly. Cut the sandwiches into 1-inch squares.

Serve the soup, accompanied by the Grilled Cheese Croutons.

(Recipe courtesy of "In the Kitchen with David -- comfort foods that takes you home," David Venable,

Peasant Soup

1 pound dried great northern beans

6 cups water

3 carrots, sliced

3 celery ribs, sliced

2 medium onions, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 bay leaves

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

Rinse and sort beans. Place beans in a Dutch oven; add water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1 to 4 hours or until beans are softened.

Drain and rinse, discarding liquid. Return to Dutch oven. Add 6 cups water, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, bay leaves, tomatoes, basil and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 1-1/2 hours or until the beans are tender.

Discard the bay leaves. Add oil and heat through. Yield: 12 servings (3 quarts)

(Recipe courtesy of "Best Loved Recipes," Reiman Publications)

French Onion Soup

1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)

1/4 cup butter, cubed

2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) beef broth

2 tablespoons sherry or additional beef broth

1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 slices French bread (1/2-inch thick), toasted

4 slices provolone cheese

Place onion and butter in a 1-1/2 quart slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until onion is tender. Stir in the broth, sherry and pepper. Cover and cook 2 to 3 hours longer or until heated through.

Ladle the soup into ovenproof bowls. Top each with a slice of toast and cheese. Broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

(Recipe courtesy of "Taste of Home Almost Homemade," Reiman Publications)

Easy Baked Potato Soup

3 to 4 medium baking potatoes, baked

5 bacon strips, diced

2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) condensed cream of potato soup, undiluted

1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cheddar cheese soup, undiluted

3-1/2 cups milk

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Dash Liquid Smoke, optional

1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

Shredded cheddar cheese

Peel and dice the baked potatoes; set aside. In a Dutch oven or soup kettle, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels. Drain, reserving 1-1/2 teaspoons drippings.

Add the soups, milk, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, pepper, Liquid Smoke if desired and reserved potatoes to the drippings.

Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Stir in sour cream; cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through (do not boil). Garnish with cheddar cheese and bacon. Yield: 10 servings (2-1/2 quarts).

(Recipe courtesy of "Taste of Home Almost Homemade," Reiman Publications)

Zesty Vegetable Beef Soup


8 cups water

3 pounds bone-in beef short ribs

1 large onion, quartered

2 medium carrots, quartered

2 celery ribs, quartered

8 whole allspice

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper


4 cups V8 juice

3 celery ribs, sliced

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 medium carrots, sliced

1 medium onion, diced

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1 cup uncooked noodles

In a Dutch oven or stockpot, slowly bring broth ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 2 hours or until meat is tender.

Remove ribs; allow to cool. Skim fat and strain broth; discard vegetables and seasonings. Remove meat from bones and cut into bite-size pieces; return to broth. Add the first 10 soup ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour or until vegetables are tender.

Stir in noodles. Return to a boil; cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until the noodles are tender. Discard bay leaves. Serves 12 to 14 (3-3/4 quarts).

(Recipe courtesy of "Best Loved Recipes," Reiman Publications)

Cajun Corn Soup

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped green pepper

6 green onions, sliced

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups water

2 packages (16 ounces each) frozen corn

1-1/2 pounds smoked sausage, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

3 cups cubed fully cooked ham

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Cajun-style seasoned tomatoes

2 cups chopped peeled tomatoes

1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste

Salt to taste

Hot pepper sauce to taste

In a Dutch oven, saute the onion, green pepper and green onions in oil for 5 to 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in flour and cook until bubbly. Gradually add water; bring to a boil. Add the corn, sausage, ham, tomatoes, tomato paste, cayenne, salt and pepper sauce.

Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Serves 12 to 14.

(Recipe courtesy of "Best Loved Recipes," Reiman Publications)

Best Broccoli Soup

2 cups water

4 cups chopped fresh broccoli (about 1-1/2 pounds)

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped onion

6 tablespoons butter, cubed

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 cups chicken broth

2 cups 2 percent milk

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1 teaspoon onion salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a Dutch oven, bring water to boil. Add the broccoli, celery and carrots; boil 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain; set vegetables aside.

In the same pot, saute the onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour to form a smooth paste. Gradually stir in broth and milk until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened.

Stir in the reserved vegetables and remaining ingredients. Reduce the heat; cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Makes 6 to 8 servings (2 quarts).

(Recipe courtesy of "Best Loved Recipes," Reiman Publications)