I need hearty soup recipes
September 25, 2010 2:34 AM   Subscribe

I need recipes for hearty soups, veggie preferred.

I'm looking for soups that will fill the belly and leave us warm on chill wintery evenings. I've got a few stock soup recipes but I'm looking to reinvigorate what I put on the table in front of Mrs Mutant. Veggies soups are preferred, but if the stock includes animal protein then fish or chicken please. The thicker the soup the better, and soups that go well with fresh baked, buttered bread are ideal.
posted by Mutant to Food & Drink (37 answers total) 148 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: What a coinckidinki, we are planning to make Fasolakia today, which, while not quite a soup or stew, definitely meets your criteria of veggie, hearty, thick, and goes well with bread (and feta!). This morning's heavy downpour and current gray skies here made us realize that we're coming to the end of green bean and tomato season, and need to gather our rosebuds while we may, so to speak. :) This is really, really delicious because of the melding of flavors — much more so than one might imagine from looking at the recipe ingredients.

note: we make ours pretty much exactly as this recipe specifies, though we don't bother with keeping the green beans in a layer, and more importantly, while the recipe says either-or, my Greek husband would have a conniption if the tomatoes were chopped instead of grated. You better grate!
posted by taz at 3:13 AM on September 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I love roasted garlic and potato soup (go heavy on the potato to thicken it) and this Italian stew (the broth isn't thick but the veggies are very filling).

There are some great suggestions here and here.
posted by neushoorn at 3:24 AM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My two favourites are below. They both sound kind of boring (and in the case of the pumpkin hotpot, a little weird), but they are unbelievably amazing. We got both recipes from friends who are real foodies, and they make an appearance at just about every party in our social circle. The hotpot in particular is a great winter evening comfort food.

Saute 1 onion in a tablespoon of butter until transparent. Add six cups of chicken stock, and 1 cup of red lentils. Boil until lentils are soft. Blend with a hand blender, or squish through a sieve, or mash with a potato masher or something until fairly smooth.

Make a roux with 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon flour (double these measurements if you prefer your soup thicker). Once it has bubbled and started to brown, quickly stir in several cups of the hot soup, which should thicken up. Then pour the whole lot back into the soup and stir.

Beat an egg yolk (two if you prefer your soup richer), into a cup of milk. Pour this into the soup. Heat soup while stirring until bubbling.

Squeeze in the juice of a lemon, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with crusty buttered bread.

1. 1.2kg pumpkin (e.g. 1-2 small butternut squashes), cut into 3 cm cubes
2. 1 large onion, chopped
3. 1 Tbs curry paste (optional)
4. 1 tsp ground coriander
5. 1 tsp ground cummin
6. 2 tins coconut milk
7. 2 cup stock (veg or chicken)
8. 1/4 cup oil
9. 1/4 cup soy sauce (yes, really).
10. 4 tins beans (2 chickpeas + 2 others - whatever you like really, I think the original recipe is just 4 tins of chickpeas, but we like to add kidney beans or butter beans or the recent discovery of whole or halved water chestnuts has been quite successful)
11. 1 cup fresh chopped coriander

1. Fry onion, curry paste and spices in a little oil for a minute or two, in a large pan. Add
pumpkin and stir until coated.
2. Add liquid ingredients and bring to the boil. Cook for 20 min or until pumpkin is
3. Add beans and cook a further few minutes to heat through.
4. Stir in about half or 3/4 of the fresh coriander, and use the rest to place on top of the hotpot as a garnish.

note: This seems to be a totally variable recipe. As with the beans, even the pumpkin
can been swapped in or out. I like butternuts best, but any variety will do. Sweet potato works equally well, and is perhaps even faster cooking, or potatoes are fine. Meat works in it too, if you are feeding carnivores, but you might want to stew meat separately for an hour beforehand if you want it really tender, since you can see the cooking time is quite fast otherwise. You can also vary the quantities of spices and curry paste that you add, according to taste. The 1 Tb curry paste listed above gives quite a spicy dish but it is still super yummy if you use 1/4 as much.
posted by lollusc at 3:33 AM on September 25, 2010 [8 favorites]

PS: in case of Americanness, "fresh coriander" = "cilantro"
posted by lollusc at 3:35 AM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Since taz opened up with fasolakia, you also need to try this. Feta on the side and large hunks of fresh bread are obligatory. It doesn't sound like you would go for it, but you could also add some spicy sausage in the final stages.

Note that the linked recipe calls for oregano, which I have never used and would find kind of strange - feel free to leave it out.
posted by Dr Dracator at 4:16 AM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, also: for low-temperature weather, add dried hot peppers (peperoncino?) to taste.
posted by Dr Dracator at 4:22 AM on September 25, 2010

Best answer: I've made this White Bean and Vegetable Soup and love it. The addition of the parmesan cheese at the end is what takes it to a different level for me. I add more than 1/2 cup though... hee hee.
posted by spec80 at 4:25 AM on September 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

ha, Dr Dracator! I was going to mention Fasolada (which is heavenly), but got lazy. We always have ours with smoked herring filets (comes packaged in oil) and thin-sliced sweet onions on the side, along with the bread and feta.

I'm dying to try lollusc's Pumpkin Hotpot. For those who may (like us) not have access to all types of tinned beans, I learned via Chowhound that a pound/500 grams of dried beans is about equal to four cans.
posted by taz at 4:30 AM on September 25, 2010

Best answer: Matty Boy's Ultimate Vegetarian Corn Chowder!

1 medium yellow onion, diced
2-3 ribs celery, diced
2 medium carrots, grated
3-4 Tbs. diced red bell pepper
3 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2-3 yukon gold potatoes (or any other relatively waxy potato), peeled and cut in to small cubes
1 can corn niblets, drained (frozen corn works fine here as well)
1 can cream corn (try to get the stuff with no sugar in it)
1/2 cup whole milk or heavy cream
Olive oil
1 cup vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Add 1 Tbs olive oil to large stockpot. Sweat onions, celery, carrots, bell pepper, bay leaves and 1 sprig thyme in stockpot over medium-low heat, uncovered, for approximately 5 minutes or until onions just become translucent. Add potatoes and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Add 1 cup vegetable stock plus enough water to barely cover potatoes; bring soup to a boil, adding leaves from remaining thyme sprigs, finely chopped. Boil until potatoes reach desired consistency, then reduce heat to low, stir in corn and cream and salt and pepper to taste. Immediately before serving, add approximately 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives.

I've added diced ham to this (tasty), crumbled fried bacon (very tasty) and seared scallops (super tasty), and I'm sure it could handle a variety of other delicious protein sources as well (I'm sort of intrigued by the idea of adding lobster meat, for instance).
posted by saladin at 4:47 AM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I make this a few times a week.

-Red lentils
-Pearl barley
-Can of chickpeas
-Salt + spices (I use this)

Add lentils and barley to a pot, roughly 2.5:1 ratio. Add salt and spices. Add water. Cook on medium flame until lentils are kinda dissolved. Add chickpeas. Turn down flame to low, stir, wait until it gets nice and goopy. Eat. Yum.
posted by greatgefilte at 5:04 AM on September 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Butternut squash soup!

Take two butternut squash, slice in half, rub with olive oil, and put in a 400 degree oven for at least 40 minutes; you want to be able to poke the flesh with a spoon.

Slice up some leeks (two if they're a good size, three if they're smallish) and cook them down with a little olive oil and some nutmeg (or a lot, if you really like nutmeg) in a large pot on the stove.

Take the butternut squash out of the oven, scoop out the delicious flesh, and stick it in with the onions. Add (I add chicken broth) veggie broth to cover. Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

Get out your bender/food processor. LET THE SOUP COOL FOR AT LEAST 10 MINUTES OR YOUR BLENDER WILL EXPLODE. Put soup (you may have to do this a little at a time, depending on how big your blender is) into blender, and add about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of cream or half and half. Blend until smooth.

Congratulations, you have made delicious butternut squash soup!

Serve with a dollup of plain yogurt or sour cream and cracked pepper.
posted by phunniemee at 5:15 AM on September 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Not so much a recipe as a technique, since you mentioned thick soup: the hand blender is your friend. Pouring hot soup into a countertop blender can be a recipe (heh) for spills or burns, or apparently even an exploding blender, but the same blade at the end of a long hand-held wand can go right into the pot.

I'm not typically a big fan of kitchen gadgetry, but once we got one of these (we have a moulinex one with interchangeable heads that can do ice and loads of other stuff) it's been amazing how much we use it.

Soups in restaurants often rely on fat and/or cream to thicken and add flavor, but you can be healthier if you rely on starchy roots to thicken your soups. Here's a template for a recipe which we use all the time:

1. put chopped onions and some kind of fat/oil and spices into a large soup pot

2. eventually add other chopped vegetables; stir to coat them with the spicy fat/oil and possibly let them brown a bit before you...

3. add some liquids; let it cook for a while, until the chunks seem blendable

4. blend right in the pot with the hand blender

...and that's it. If you want something that seems "heartier" you can take out a few scoops of the chunks before you blend and then add them back so the texture is more heterogeneous. You can also add stuff after you blend (croutons, dollops of stuff, chopped herbs, fried lardons, beans). Here in Paris they often serve soup at the table in a pitcher that gets poured over other stuff in your bowl. Last week I had pumpkin soup over croutons and thick shavings of some hard-ish cheese.
posted by tractorfeed at 5:34 AM on September 25, 2010 [4 favorites]

Best answer: The Moosewood's Pear and Turnip Soup at the bottom of this page is pretty good and very filling. With the radish garnish, it's delish! :)
(The Moosewood cookbooks in general have tasty vegetarian soup and stew recipes).
posted by bluefly at 5:42 AM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You want this book right here: Twelve Months of Monastery Soups, divided by month and based on whatever is usually in season at the time. The author is a monk who tends the garden and runs the kitchen at a monastery in rural New York. This is our go-to book for seasonal soup recipes and they range from light broths all the way to minestrone, French inspired country soups, gazpachos and more. They're nearly all vegetarian.
posted by jquinby at 5:46 AM on September 25, 2010

Best answer: Moosewood is always a fine source: last weekend I made a massive vat of gypsy soup for almost a dozen guests and served it with several fresh loaves. Response was favourable.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:01 AM on September 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: This is what I make all winter long.

1 can Campbell's Vegetarian Vegetable soup
1 lean hamburger patty
assorted vegetables
salt & pepper to taste

Brown and crumble the hamburger patty.
Pour in the can of soup.
Add whatever fresh or canned vegetables you have on hand that day.
Add a little onion (dehydrated flakes or frozen diced work fine, too).
Toss in one or two handfuls of rice depending on how thick you want the soup.
Simmer all afternoon.
Serve with cornbread, rolls or crackers.

I add one or two cans of tomatoes. I also started includng a can of Rotel, and I like the way it spiced the soup up (and opened up my sinuses).

Usually I'll add a can of new potatoes. I kind of whack them up a little with my butcher knife while they're still in the can. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it's faster and with them corraled in the can, they don't go bouncing across the floor while I'm trying to cut them up.

Then I add a can of kidney beans or crowder peas.
Sometimes, I'll add sliced carrots (fresh or canned).

I tried it once without the can of soup, but it just didn't taste right to me without it as the base. If you're using canned vegetables, it's your choice whether or not to drain them or use the fluid they're packed in depending on how thin or thick you want the soup to be.

It's great that night but even better the next day after it's been refrigerated and reheated, and it freezes well as individual servings.
posted by JaneL at 7:38 AM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh, I left out a couple of things. Since you prefer chicken, this works just as well with leftover roasted or stewed chicken as well as it does with the hamburger patty. I also usually add a teaspoon or so of chicken base instead of salt and pepper if I have some on hand.
posted by JaneL at 7:42 AM on September 25, 2010

FYI as has sort of been mentioned, any soup that uses potato or beans can be a thick soup when blended. We use an actual blender because that's what we own, but a good hand blender or stick blender makes producing thick soup a virtually clean-up free event. If you still want chunky soup, just blend half of it.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:49 AM on September 25, 2010

Best answer: I like this Spicy Peanut Eggplant Shallot Stew and this Curried Carrot Bisque a lot.
posted by davar at 7:51 AM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Seconding tractorfeed's hand (aka infusion) blender rec and method. I usually include potatoes, use chicken broth for the liquid, and often add cream at the end. Works great with broccoli, kale, leeks, celeriac, etc etc. Garlic is a nice addition. Recently I've been kind of into adding some smoked paprika at the end.

Other ideas - black bean soup: onions, pepper, garlic, cumin, coriander, chile sauteed in oil Add broth, canned black beans, simmer 20 min or so. Blend. Finish with raw onions/cilantro/sour cream.

Split pea soup: onions, carrots, garlic, dried split peas, water, dried basil. For this one I don't sautee, just combine all the ingredients and cook. Diced ham or cooked bacon (or a ham hock from the beginning) are excellent to add, but you can also just throw a hunk of butter in there and keep it veggie. This one doesn't need blending, the peas go all mushy eventually (hour or so), just watch and make sure it has enough water.
posted by yarrow at 7:58 AM on September 25, 2010

Check out Love Soup by Anna Thomas. While it's all vegetarian, I'd imagine if you wanted to bulk up some of the recipes with chicken stock (or chunks of chicken or whatever), that wouldn't be too hard. Her recipes are pretty simple and don't rely too much on hard-to-find ingredients and she has some inventive (and tasty!) flavor combinations. (She loves using leeks, though. Almost every recipe uses leeks.)

I've made a few of the soups from this book and I've enjoyed them greatly (I will make more, but I just spent a year without a full kitchen and it hasn't quite been soup weather yet).
posted by darksong at 9:17 AM on September 25, 2010

Sweet potato and black bean soup! So filling and delicious!
I can't remember the recipe, but it's got onions, maybe garlic, toasted cumin, tomatoes... It's very hearty and healthy! Top with some sour cream or cheddar cheese :)
posted by Neekee at 9:42 AM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: When I made the following a couple nights ago, I added sliced baby portobello mushrooms and homemade turkey meatballs, the kind you'd make for wedding soup. Since you want to keep it vegetable-based, I'd consider adding the cheese from the meatballs (Parmesan and Pecorino Romano) somehow for added richness. This soup is very tasty--the lemon and cream make a big difference, and it uses a trick I've noticed in lots of hearty vegetable soups--use just an eensy amount of rice, more as a subtle thickener than anything else. You won't even notice the grains once you serve it, but they definitely add an element of "this is a full meal."

The croutons are awesome by the way, don't skip them as a step! And they work so, so well with the creamy lemony and earthy elements. It was fortuitous this time for us, since all I had on hand for the bread was a little loaf of bakery rye. Fried it up in some slightly nutty brown clarified butter (was a bit careless making that batch) and it was so, so good.
Spinach Soup with Indian Spices
From The Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison

2 Tablespoons clarified butter (it's not difficult to make...just gently heat butter, skimming the solids at the top, and then strain it through a sieve lined with cheesecloth and let cool)
2 carrots, diced
3 zucchini or yellow squash, diced
1 celery stalk with leaves, diced
1 large red onion, sliced
1 small potato, chopped
5 parsley branches
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
3-inch piece cinnamon stick
6 cloves
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon cardamom seeds
1½ teaspoons salt
8 cups cold water

Heat butter in a soup pot and add vegetables, herbs, spices and salt, stirring vegetables to coat well with butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until onion begins to color, about 10 minutes. Add water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer about 30 minutes. Strain stock, pushing hard on the solids to extract as much flavor as possible.

6 Tablespoons butter (they recommend clarified butter here too)
1 large red onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons white rice
½ teaspoon salt
4 whole cloves (or 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (or 1 teaspoon ground)
¼ freshly grated nutmeg
Stock (added in two different steps)
1 pound spinach (or any combination of greens)
½ cup light cream
Grated peel and juice of 1 lemon
Pepper to taste
Bread, cubed to crouton-size bits

Grind the cloves and cumin electrically or use a mortar and pestle, and combine with the nutmeg. Set aside. Warm 3 Tablespoons of the butter in soup pot and add onion, garlic, rice and salt. Add ground cloves, cumin, and nutmeg to onion and garlic. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add 1½ cups stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Scrape all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add spinach (or greens), cover and let it wilt. Add remaining stock. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. Cool soup, then purée in a blender (note: to whatever degree you prefer; me, I did not do this at all since mushrooms and meatballs were involved, and it was fine). Return to pot and stir in cream and grated lemon peel. Season to taste with lemon juice, pepper and more salt if needed.

Heat the remaining clarified butter in a small pan. Fry the bread cubes until crispy and golden. Top the soup with the croutons and enjoy.
This soup does the same thing, where the bit of rice makes a huge difference in how satisfying it is as a meal.
Italian Leek and Potato Soup
Adapted from Not Your Mother's Weeknight Cooking by Beth Hensperger

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 medium leeks, washed and thinly sliced, white part only
3 medium-sized russet potatoes, peeled and chunked
About 6 cups water or broth of your choice (vegetable, beef, chicken all fine)
1/4 cup arborio rice
3 Tablespoons fresh Italian parsley or chervil, chopped
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the leeks, potatoes, and enough water to cover. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, partially cover, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, pulse a few times to coarsely puree the soup. Add the rice and parsley and cook for about 20 more minutes until the rice is soft.

Stir in the cheese and salt and pepper. Serve immediately, with more cheese on the side if you like.
Personal Note: I love this because it's so unfinicky compared to its French counterpart, and it's heartier and lip-smackingly good thanks to the nutty Parmesan and added texture of the arborio.
Another good option for the winter, one I always make when it gets cold. Personally, even though it isn't as pretty, I actually prefer it with normal potatoes, not sweet potatoes (which is strange because I almost always choose sweet potatoes over normal ones). For some reason when I make it with sweet potatoes it doesn't taste as filling and it's almost too sweet. It looks like this.
Valencian "Gypsy Pot" Soup (Olla Gitana)
Adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen

Olive oil
3 cloves (or more) garlic, pressed
Handful blanched almonds
1 large yellow onion, chopped
Around 1 pound fresh pumpkin, winter squash, sweet potato, carrots, or a mixture, peeled and cubed
1 or 2 apples or pears, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 (or more) cups stock or water or a blend of both
1 whole dried pepper, seeded and chopped, steeped to soften in a bit of boiling water or stock
Pinch saffron threads, crumbled and steeped in a bit of boiling water or stock (can be same liquid as above)
2 teaspoons paprika (sweet, not smoked)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch cayenne
2 bay leaves
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 can chick peas, drained
About 10 ounces green beans or peas, frozen (optional)
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon tamari (preferable) or soy sauce
Fresh mint, chopped

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven warm the oil over medium heat and carefully saute the garlic and almonds until lightly golden but not burnt, no more than 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove and reserve the garlic and almonds, leaving as much of the oil in the pot as possible.

Saute the onion, pumpkin, fruit, and celery in the pot with the remaining oil until a bit soft, about 5 minutes.

Add stock or water and all seasonings except for the tamari and mint, cover, and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the tomato, chick peas, and green beans or peas if using and simmer gently until everything is tender, about another 10 minutes.

Off heat, crush the garlic and almond mixture to paste either by hand or using a food processor, blender, or grinder. Blend this paste with the vinegar and add to the soup pot.

Stir in the tamari, adjust seasoning if necessary, and garnish with mint. Serve with crusty bread.
Personal Note: I will definitely try the more authentic recipe as soon as I get my hands on more ingredients aaand we've gotten over our winter-soup-hangover (we've had constant root veggie soup, I tell you). But this somewhat inauthentic bastard pot I've created? I have to say, it smells like heaven and did the whole way through. The heart of what defines this soup, as far as I can gather online from a messy amalgam of discordant takes, is the pretty balance of seasonal orange and green vegetables and the spice blend used (which is AMAZING, as everyone online says in their reviews, just so you know). I think I like making soup so much because it quickly and efficiently but gently warms the kitchen (unlike long-roastin' oven fare, which can still make me nervous sometimes when the oven groans and rattles), and makes the place smell so divine. This is the first dish I've made in my getting-over-a-cold-yes-still state that I can REALLY smell and appreciate. Wow.
Speaking of Mollie, her version of borscht is the best I have ever made, it was a total breakthrough for me. I have to admit a big chunk of what made it so, so deliciously satisfying probably had to do with my use of chicken fat (schmaltz). But having potatoes is the key too, to making it more than just a watery thin sweet tangy gruel. It looks like this.
Russian Cabbage and Beet Soup (Borscht)
Adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen

Serves 6 (and can be doubled if your pots and colander are big enough!).

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced potatoes
1 cup thinly sliced beets
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water
2 Tablespoons butter or, if you've got it, chicken fat (schmaltz)
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 scant teaspoon caraway seed
2 teaspoons salt
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 or 2 large carrots, sliced
3 to 4 cups coarsely chopped red or green cabbage (about 1 small head or half of 1 large head)
1 cup tomato puree
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar or honey
1 teaspoon dried dill
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Sour cream, for topping (yogurt works too)
Sprigs of fresh dill, for garnish (optional)
Chopped tomatoes, for garnish (optional)

Place sliced potatoes and beets in a medium to large saucepan over high heat; cover with stock or water, and boil until vegetables are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter or schmaltz in a large heavy-bottomed non-reactive stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in onions, caraway seeds, and salt and toss to coat; cook until onions become soft and translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in celery, carrots, and cabbage. Mix in at least 2 cups of the stock used to cook the potatoes and beets (or more if needed to cover). Cover the pot and cook until all vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the cooked potatoes and beets and any of their remaining stock, along with the tomato puree, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar or honey, dill, and pepper. Cover again, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer at least 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Serve hot topped with sour cream and any desired garnishes.
Personal Note: Jackpot! The most successful borscht I have ever made; Mollie Katzen's (rather simple, really) version from the Moosewood Cookbook. Finally I have a borscht as savory and satisfying yet tangy and bright as any I've had out in good restaurants in Toronto and Chicago!

I have, I kid you not, literally 20 borsch(t) recipes on hand and have felt a little overwhelmed, especially since it's the one beet-y thing Robert requests (he hates the taste of beets but loves borscht), we both have had fantastic borscht out that set the bar pretty high, and the first few I tried making were very disappointing. I really wanted to emulate the kind we had on repeated trips to Old L'viv in Chicago--warming and hearty, where you can tell the stock and herbs involved were what made it. To be frank, fully fleshed out, fatty, animal-y stew-like stuff. Not the citrus-y sweet and light chilled summer versions.

So I was skeptical with this, since it does come, after all, from an infamous vegetarian cookbook. But I used homemade chicken stock and the schmaltz I'd saved from making it, and oh. This is exactly the stuff! I also love that it included potatoes, to thicken it and make it feel like the hearty wintery real deal. Mm. And oh, it was the most gorgeous borscht I've made too--the color is a deep, shiny, lovely ruby, not a muddy, dull, silt-y pinkish brown like past efforts (yeah, I don't know why either!).

So yeah. This can be vegetarian if you like, using water or vegetable stock and butter--that was the recipe in its original form. But personally, I love it with all the added savory, buttery elements chicken stock and schmaltz provide.
posted by ifjuly at 10:03 AM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I wish I could remember where I found this recipe:

Shrimp and Greens Gumbo
10 C mixed chopped raw greens, from at least two of the following: kale, collards, mustard greens, spinach, turnip greens, beet greens.
2 T oil
2 C chopped onions
1 T pressed garlic
1 C chopped celery
2 red peppers, seeded and diced
2 dried chipotle peppers
9 C chicken stock
1 t dried thyme
1 t paprika
1/8 t cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
1 28 oz. can crushed or diced tomatoes (I prefer diced)
2 C fresh corn kernels (I have used can or frozen on occasion, but much prefer fresh)
1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
salt and pepper to taste
hot sauce to taste

Make a roux any way you want (I stir and microwave 1/3 C oil and 1/2 C flour, being careful not to burn it). Saute onions, garlic, celery and red pepper in the 2 T oil. Add the roux, stir and add the chicken stock and seasonings. Bring to boil and cook ten minutes, then add greens and bay leaves. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Skim oil from the top if necessary, add the tomatoes and corn. Cook for 5 minutes. Add shrimp and cook for 5 minutes. Remove chipotles and bay leaf.
Serve over rice.
posted by francesca too at 10:06 AM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I make phunniemee's butternut squash soup but replace the nutmeg with ground cumin. Delicous, warming and filling.

Spicey roast parsnip soup and Jamie Oliver's Southern Indian & seafood soup would also fit the bill.
posted by ceri richard at 10:16 AM on September 25, 2010

Best answer: Ooh, I'm vegetarian, and I love soup. (The following are all self links.)

2 bean chili

Kimchi Soup

Spicy Chickpea Stew with Israeli Couscous

Black Bean and Tomato Soup
posted by (Over) Thinking at 10:54 AM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Just as a general tip, parmesan rinds add heartiness to minestrone type vegetable soups, here's a chowhound discussion on the topic.
posted by JulianDay at 12:38 PM on September 25, 2010

Best answer: Here are two that are not as much bread-dippers but are still warming, spicy, and good:

Green soup with ginger is a recipe from the Anna Thomas cookbook mentioned above, Love Soup.

101 Cookbooks has lots of good soups (click her category "soups" in the lefthard column) - here's another I liked: Thai red curry pumpkin/squash soup. It's very sweet, even sweeter if you roast sweet potatoes or acorn squash to include. Yum.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:41 PM on September 25, 2010

Best answer: Similar to the above recipe for butternut squash soup: this butternut squash and sweet potato (and potato) soup has been a big hit whenever I've made it. I use a russet potato and vegetable stock (per their options). The one thing I add to this recipe is some freshly ground nutmeg at the end.
posted by John Cohen at 3:28 PM on September 25, 2010

Best answer: never actually tried this recipe but sumo wrestlers vegetable stew is pretty good:
posted by bigspoon at 4:54 PM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Fast, filling, thick and spicy carrot-ginger soup. For extra richness just toss a half-cup of milk or cream into the blended soup at the end and simmer over low heat for a few minutes. I use just enough water to boil the veggies, and blend them into a nice thick paste that's perfect with thick, toasty buttered bread and a garnish of mint or cilantro.
posted by mediareport at 7:07 AM on September 26, 2010

Best answer: What my happy belly is full of RIGHT NOW:

Easy Umami Potato Soup

Put 2qts. water on to boil w/ 3T "Better than Bullion" vegetable stock concentrate
cut up 5 Idaho potatoes into soup-sized bits. Put in water.
Added 1/2 oz. dried chantarelle mushrooms. (this seriously deepens the flavor.)
Added 2 chopped adobo peppers. (again, adds a smoky earthy flavor)

On the side, I chopped 3 lg. carrots and fried them in a covered pan w/ 2T olive oil. I suppose you could just throw them in w/ the potatoes, but I prefer the slight caramelization I get this way.

The soup boils until the potatoes are soft, 10-20 minutes depending. Then I let it cool a bit, and put about half the potatoes in a blender with some of the stock and whirr. (This is where an immersion blender would come in handy, but c'est la vie.)

Add the carrots. I usually add some skim milk, but you could totally make this vegan. It's also great with grated cheese on top, but again, not needed.

I learned to make this with kale in it when our farmshare was swimming in kale, but it's yummy w/out it, too.
posted by endless_forms at 11:42 AM on September 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Vegetarian posole! It's essentially a bean soup with a south-of-the-border flare to it.

The main ingredients are hominy, onions, stewed tomatoes, oregano and chipotle (I used canned chipotle). If you want, add in chunks of chicken breast (it's usually made with pork, but it's not really necessary).

I could give you a recipe, but it's really a "season to taste" kind of thing. Seriously. Start by chopping up a whole onion and sautéing it in some vegetable oil. Then add in a can or two of vegetable broth (or chicken broth), a can of stewed tomatoes (fresh tomatoes work too, but they're starting to go out of season), and your can of hominy. Add in the oregano and chipotle to taste. You can make the stew as thick as you want by using less broth and more hominy, or by simmering it longer.

When you serve it, sprinkle a bunch of fresh cilantro in it (if that's your thing) and squeeze half a lime into your bowl. Dip your buttered bread as you wish (chipotle + butter = win), but I think corn tortillas go a little better with it. You can also garnish it with fresh radishes, and cotija cheese.

You can find actual recipes online, but I think stews are typically just as good (if not better) when made without them.
posted by jabberjaw at 7:04 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm a big fan of Egyptian lentil soup. It's warming and the lemon juice gives it a great kick. There are loads of recipes out there: here's an example from Waitrose. I usually put more cumin and coriander than they suggest.

Sometimes I add a bit cream/creme fraiche for variety. I quite often just use a veggie stock cube instead of chicken stock and it tastes just as good.

Pumpkin (or squash) and chestnut soup is also awesome! Here's a recipe.
posted by jonesor at 10:43 AM on September 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

I forgot one that used to be more popular and feels quite retro but is very creamy and a nice contrast to more popular rich but one-note-herb-simple French soups--Greek-American Avgolemono. It does rely on chicken stock, which I'm pretty sure it integral to the overall flavor (at least, that's my personal read on it). It's thickened with egg and a bit of rice, and made tart to balance with fresh lemon and dill. You do have to temper the egg when you add it in IIRC, but it's really no big a deal. Very nice change of pace once in a while.

For whatever little it might be worth, I use David Rosengarten's recipe from It's All American Food (probably identical to whatever is in The Dean and Deluca Cookbook since he authored both). But recipes should be a dime a dozen in slightly older cookbooks and online, really. Here is an ugly firsthand pic (apologies for the tinge of green egg). And what I said about it at the time in the caption:

Avgolemono (Greek chicken rice soup spruced up with fresh dill, lemon, and egg). Good stuff--texture and appearance-wise reminded me of the simple and dainty French cream soups in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but with the happily more vibrant/intense flavors of the Mediterranean. A nice and (to me) uncommon juxtaposition. Also, for the record I was very wowed by how creamy it looks given there's zero cream in it--just stock and whipped and tempered egg for body.

P.S. My eggs totally were NOT fringed in green when I boiled them (Orangette's method really does prevent that like a dream), but I made these eggs a day or two in advance and so...

Just omit the actual chicken (pretty unnecessary, this feels like classic French cream soup just spruced up) and use the stock if you can.
posted by ifjuly at 4:36 PM on October 3, 2010

Best answer: Here's a slogger® Original Soup™ that I made the other day. Turned out quite well.

slogger®'s Original Cod Chowder™

3 strips of bacon, diced (optional)
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1T Paprika (sweet, sharp or smoked, or a combination)
1 can (14 oz.) diced tomato
1c white wine
3c stock or water
1T sugar
1 fresh bay leaf
1 small bunch fresh thyme
1.5 lb waxy potatoes, peeled
12 oz cod or other firm whitefish
Salt and pepper

1. Saute bacon until it releases fat. (If omitting bacon, substitute with 2T of olive oil.) Add onion and pinch of salt. Cook until onion is translucent and releases moisture, 5 minutes. Add garlic and paprika, stirring continuously until garlic releases aroma, 1-2 minutes. Add wine, stock or water, sugar, bay leaf and thyme. Adjust seasoning and simmer until tomatoes begin to break apart and onions dissolve slightly, 30-45 minutes.

2. Cut potatoes into medium bite-size chunks and add. Simmer until potatoes are fork-tender and broth thickens slightly from starch of potatoes, 20-30 minutes. Cut fish into bite-size chunks. Adjust seasoning and add fish. Simmer until fish is cooked and flakey. Serve immediately with crusty bread.

*NOTE: none of this is actually registered, trademarked or copywrited
posted by slogger at 9:20 AM on October 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

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