Help me make some delicious soups!
October 25, 2006 9:46 AM   Subscribe

It's that time of year's getting cold and I'm craving soup more and more. The only problem is I'm sick of canned soup and I'd rather make most of it homemade. Lay your best soup recipes on me, ingredients/prep the works! Any type of soup accepted! Hot, cold, lukewarm! Chicken, cream-based, potato leek, broth-based etc. I want to start a good collection of new recipes to try!
posted by PetiePal to Food & Drink (49 answers total) 286 users marked this as a favorite
This is my fave because it's so simple, and good. It makes a great winter dinner with some bread:

Peel and cut winter squash (any kind but spaghetti) into cubes.

Sautee briefly with some chopped onions, carrots & celery (a mirepois).

Add water to cover. Simmer until squash is tender (~20 min).

Roughly mash for a rustic soup, use an immersion blender for a more smooth soup.

Add some greens for, greens-kale, chard, spinach.

Finish with a bit of vinegar, a few Tbs of butter, or a bit of cream.

Salt and pepper to taste.
posted by OmieWise at 9:55 AM on October 25, 2006 [3 favorites]

On the other hand, one of my truly favorite soups, which takes more effort, is pozole, which is a hominy soup, usually with pork. There are as many recipes as there are regionsXpeople, os I'll let you find one that seems good to you.
posted by OmieWise at 9:57 AM on October 25, 2006

Tool lazy this morning to type my own recipe, but second OmieWise's squash soup with three tweaks:
1. Add garlic to the sautee. They say it's good for the immune system in winter;
2. Add chicken stock to the water for some extra flavour;
3. Sour cream is great on top at the end too.
posted by BorgLove at 10:05 AM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

My wife and I just take some canned peas, corn, string beans, kidney beans, butter beans, new potatoes, tomatoes, etc. and throw them in a crock pot with some sliced onions.

We have learned that you have to rinse the canned veggies first, or the soup will be too salty. All in all, a very easy recipe.
posted by 4ster at 10:06 AM on October 25, 2006

I love this beet soup with anchovy and walnut paste from Chocolate and Zucchini.

I'm sure you'll get a million and one recipes for wintery squash soup. I like to add croutons made from cubed pumpernickel tossed with olive oil or melted butter, chopped chives, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Bake in oven until crispy (idea courtesy of Oprah Magazine sometime last year).
posted by robinpME at 10:06 AM on October 25, 2006

I'm lazy, and therefore I try to keep my cooking to a bare minimum. This is the soup I made yesterday:

1 lb. hamburger meat

2 cans tomato sauce

1 can corn

1 can cut green beans

1 can diced green chiles

Cook the hamburger with the chiles in a pot until the hamburger is browned. Add everything else then heat until boiling.

You can add onions to the burger and diced potatoes to the pot with everything else if you like. I didn't have any, so I went basic. Cheap, easy, good.
posted by CRS at 10:18 AM on October 25, 2006

This is my favorite quick and easy soup:

Cheesy Rice Poblano Soup

If you put the rice on to cook first, it is ready just about the time you cook everything else, so total prep/cook time is twenty minutes.

(I've substituted veggie broth for chicken broth and it works fine that way)
posted by mikepop at 10:22 AM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

My relatives are from San Marino, and they have this with almost every dinner:

Make some chicken broth with bullion or stock
Throw in some tortellini (cheese works best)
Ladle into bowl and sprinkle with Parmesans cheese.

It's simple and delicious. The only downside is that the tortellini absorb a lot of broth, so if you have leftovers you have to add water the next day.

French onion soup is also pretty easy, and very delicious. Beef broth, fresh onions, croutons/stale bread and swiss cheese.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 10:27 AM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

The key to most soups, IMO, is a good chicken stock. There are a ton of threads here on the subject, but to summarize- throw some chicken parts/bones (as cheap as you can get) in a large pot with some loosely chopped onion, carrot, celery. Add some parsley stems (NOT the leaves). Cover with cold water. Bring to the slightest boil you can manage (you don't want to disturb the material too much), and let it go for about 3 hours, skimming constantly. Strain.

If you like, you can take the meat off the bones, put it back in the soup with some noodles and fresh veggies, and you've got kick-ass chicken noodle soup.
posted by mkultra at 10:28 AM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

Chop a couple of rashers of bacon into tiny pieces. Sauté in olive oil, in a large pan, along with a couple of cloves of garlic, chopped as fine as you like, and an onion, also chopped.

When the onion is transluscent, add one large head of celery, sliced into little pieces, and three or four large carrots, finely chopped. Stir. Put the lid on the pan and let the veggies soften slightly (not too much).

Stir in some chopped fresh herbs - parsley, basil and rosemary.

Stir in 2 pints of chicken stock. Bring to a low boil.

Simmer for 30 minutes or so until everything is softened.

Taste. Add salt/pepper to taste.

For a veggie version, leave out the bacon and use vegetable stock.

This soup is low in calories and fat and is incredibly tasty.
posted by essexjan at 10:31 AM on October 25, 2006

All Recipes: Soups
posted by Methylviolet at 10:31 AM on October 25, 2006

Count me as another soup devotee. I highly, highly recommend the cookbook Soup Suppers by the 'food maven', Arhtur Schwartz. It's one of those rare and wonderful recipe collections from which anything you choose to make far exceeds expectations. His black bean soup, in particular, is excellent.

But for a good, wintry throw-together soup, here is my no-fail plan. I used to make this when I was much more broke than today. One potlful will keep you in lunches and dinners for days.

Start by purchasing one of those 89-cent dry bean 16-bean mixes. The night before you're going to make soup, throw them in a pot with water, bring them to a boil once, then turn off the heat and let them soak overnight. Easy.

Take 1/2 lb. spicy pork sausage - purchased in links or in one large roll, either way. Freeze the other half pound for later.

Saute the sausage in a frying pan. Add a chopped onion and some chopped celery and cook until fragrant. Then put all of that into a large soup pot. Rinse your soaked beans off, then add them to the kettle along with copious amounts of water or chicken broth. Set to simmering. Let it cook for an hour or so.

You can now go two ways here. You can add a large can of crushed tomatoes and some pasta and turn it into sort of a Tuscan bean soup. Or (my winter preference) you can add diced chunks of potato. The potato softens and incorporates into the soup stock as it simmers, thickening it beautifully into a hearty soup. Chopped kale works well in either version, too.
posted by Miko at 10:33 AM on October 25, 2006 [14 favorites]

Dice and sauté garlic and onions and a red pepper with minced parsley and lots of dried oregano and basil and curry powder (and some salt and pepper) until the onions are soft and translucent. Add a couple of thin-sliced chicken breasts and stir till they're cooked. Now add two cups of water, cover, and bring the heat up till the water's boiling. Add a cup of rice and simmer till the rice is cooked and the water's gone.

Store this in ziploc bags in the fridge, and when you want soup, empty a bag into a pot and add chicken stock. Garnish with fresh minced parsley. Oh god it's good.
posted by nicwolff at 10:34 AM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

Whoops, forgot to link you. Arthur Schwartz, Soup Suppers.
posted by Miko at 10:34 AM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

One word: Harira.

Okay, two words: miso soup with an egg.
posted by DenOfSizer at 10:37 AM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

Good chicken broth is key.

Here's a tasty one: chicken salsa chili from Cafe Latte, St. Paul, Minn.
posted by blueshammer at 10:49 AM on October 25, 2006

Cook's Illustrated (my bible) has a chicken noodle soup recipe that could make the dead to walk. It solves the anemic broth problem that plagues so many homemade chicken soups. The secret is browning the chicken pieces, then "sweating" them so they release all their goodness into the stock.

It does take a whole chicken, but believe me, that bird will not have died in vain.


Makes about 3 quarts, serving 6 to 8

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds), breast removed, split, and reserved; remaining chicken cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium onions, cut into medium dice
2 quarts boiling water
2 bay leaves
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 celery stalk, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 cups (3 ounces) hearty, wide egg noodles
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
Ground black pepper

1. Heat oil in large soup kettle. When oil shimmers and starts to smoke, add chicken breast halves; sauté until brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add half of chopped onions to kettle; sauté until colored and softened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl; set aside. Add half of chicken pieces; sauté until no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with onions. Sauté remaining chicken pieces. Return onions and chicken pieces (excluding breasts) to kettle. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until chicken releases its juices, about 20 minutes. Increase heat to high; add boiling water along with both breast halves, 2 teaspoons salt, and bay leaves. Return to simmer, then cover and barely simmer until chicken breasts are cooked and broth is rich and flavorful, about 20 minutes.

2. Remove chicken breasts from kettle; set aside. When cool enough to handle, remove skin from breasts, then remove meat from bones and shred into bite-size pieces; discard skin and bone. Strain broth; discard bones. Skim fat from broth, reserving 2 tablespoons. (Broth and meat can be covered and refrigerated up to 2 days.)

3. Return soup kettle to medium-high heat. Add reserved chicken fat. Add remaining onions, along with carrot and celery; sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add thyme, along with broth and chicken; simmer until vegetables are tender and flavors meld, 10 to 15 minutes. Add noodles and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings, stir in parsley, and serve.


Serves 6 to 8

Follow steps 1 and 2 of Master Recipe for Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup. In step 3, substitute 1 medium leek, rinsed thoroughly, quartered lengthwise, then sliced thin crosswise, for one onion. Substitute 1/2 cup orzo for egg noodles. Along with orzo, add 1/4 pound trimmed asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths, and 1/4 cup fresh or frozen peas. Substitute 2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon leaves for parsley.


Serves 6 to 8

Follow steps 1 and 2 of Master Recipe for Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup. In step 3, add 1 medium zucchini, cut into medium dice, to sautéing onions, carrots, and celery. Increase sauté time from 5 to 7 minutes. Add 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned) along with broth to kettle. Substitute 1 cup small shells or macaroni for egg noodles and simmer until noodles are cooked. Substitute an equal portion of fresh basil for parsley. Serve with grated Parmesan, if you like.


Serves 6 to 8

Follow steps 1 and 2 of Master Recipe for Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup. While broth is simmering, cook 1/2 cup wild rice, following package instructions. Use 1 cup hot chicken broth to rehydrate 1/2 ounce dried wild mushrooms, about 30 minutes. In step 3, substitute 1 leek, rinsed thoroughly, quartered lengthwise, then sliced thin crosswise, for one onion and omit celery. When leek and carrot have softened (about 5 minutes), add 1/4 pound sliced mushrooms (domestic or wild); continue to sauté until mushrooms are softened, about 5 minutes longer. Drain and chop dried wild mushrooms; reserve soaking broth. Pour soaking broth through strainer lined with coffee filter to remove grit. Add this liquid and dried mushrooms, along with chicken broth, to kettle. Simmer according to Master Recipe, stirring in cooked rice during last 5 minutes of cooking.
posted by ottereroticist at 10:50 AM on October 25, 2006 [12 favorites]

Absurdly easy garlic soup. Good for cold winter nights and if you have a cold. But everyone in the household must eat it, or there will be tears and recrmination due to halitosis. As rendered below, serves 2.

Smash and peel 6-8 cloves garlic. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in saucepan. Crush garlic thru a press into hot oil -- not too hot; you don't want the garlic too brown (or, god forbid, burnt, in which case you'll need to start all over). Sautee at a lowish heat for a few minutes. When it is making the house smell delicious, add 2 cans of chicken broth with herbs. (I like the fatty, salty Swanson kind, health concerns be damned.) Adjust heat so it is simmering. Beat two eggs in a bowl, then drop the beaten eggs into the saucepan as you stir. The eggs will turn into long strings of goodness. Now it's done. A little pepper might be nice. Serve with lots of hot crusty bread, or a grilled cheese sandwich, or for a more substantial meal, with roasted root veggies like carrots and potatoes. Oh, I'm drooling on the keyboard again.
posted by scratch at 11:00 AM on October 25, 2006 [6 favorites]

Easy potato-leek soup:

4 cups diced Yukong Gold potatoes - for a little extra yum, make one cup sweet potato.

2 leeks. Cut off about two inches from where the green starts, then cut thinly down toward the root. Wash all the cut pieces really well to get the dirt out. You'll get lots of rings.

1 quart chicken broth. Making it from cubes is fine, I use vegetable-based 'chicken' bouillon.

1/2 cup butter or margarine. Butter may make the soup too rich.

2 cups milk. You could also use light cream, but again the soup gets really rich that way. I use skim.

1 Tbsp. cornstarch.

Melt the marg. over medium and cook the leeks in it, stirring, frequently, until they're tender - 10 to 15 minutes. Stir the cornstarch into the broth and add to the leeks, add potatoes and bring to a boil. Add milk and simmer until the potatoes are done, probably at least 20 minutes. Then use a hand mixer to beat up the potatoes a bit until the whole thing is a more even consistency (but don't make it a puree, either). Salt and pepper to taste.

Makes lots, keeps a week, can be vegetarian.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 11:06 AM on October 25, 2006

Oh, and there's a company called Ramone's that makes frozen egg noodles, available at most/many supermarkets. If you're not going to make your own noodles, these are the babies you need to be putting in your chicken soup.
posted by blueshammer at 11:09 AM on October 25, 2006

I second the vote for Moroccan Harira
posted by Gooney at 11:15 AM on October 25, 2006

Anyone have a good Thai Chicken noodle soup recipe?
posted by |n$eCur3 at 11:17 AM on October 25, 2006

my 5-min vegetable soup:
* pressure-cook one kind of vegetable until soft (broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin, carrots, butternut squash) with some salt. (If you have no pressure cooker, just boil normally, but it'll take longer)
* drain cooking water into a bowl
* mash/blend
* add some sour cream and/or heavy cream
* add back previously drained water until consistency is less baby-food-like and more soupy.
* go crazy on the spices! I experiment by color, so e.g. tumeric, chili, paprika, and garam masala has served me well for pumpkin and squash, ground coriander and pepper for broccoli, white pepper for cauliflower.
* enjoy!
posted by meijusa at 11:18 AM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

I really like this "Nile River Lentil Soup". Don't bother pureeing it.
posted by Succa at 11:21 AM on October 25, 2006

Peanut Butter Soup (A Ghanaian delicacy)

Meat of choice
1 mid sized Onion
3 large tomatoes
half jar of all natural non sweetened smooth peanut butter
1 habanero (or 2, depending on your tolerance)
garlic, ginger, salt (to taste)

Steam meat of your choice (chicken/beef/pork) in a pan with the whole onion, whole tomatoes, habanero, garlic cloves and ginger. When veggies look soft and mushy, scoop out and blend smoothly and pour back into pot and add half the blender jar of water...leave to simmer and cook the meat.
While the soup is simmering, put peanut paste into a pan, preferably non stick. Add water and squish and mix with fingers till you get a peanutty liquidy yucky looking mess. Add a dash of salt to this mess, and stir on the stove, careful to avoid it lumping up. Stir for about 10 mins until the oil starts to separate from the peanuts (the water will evaporate).
Take the cooked peanut mixture, add about 2 cups of water to it, stir vigorously, and dump the entire concoction into the simmering soup.
Let simmer some more for about 30 mins, until surface of the soup is lightly coated with peanut oil.
Season to taste (i tend to use maggi sauce/salt).
Voila...Ghana style peanut butter soup.
posted by ramix at 11:39 AM on October 25, 2006 [10 favorites]

What, no split pea? Throw a couple of smoked ham hocks into a pot w/ about 8 cups of water. Add a pound of split peas. Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 30 minutes. Add 1 cup each diced onions, carrots, celery, plus a bay leaf. Simmer for another 30 minutes or so, then season w/ salt and pepper. Remove the ham and either set it aside or shred it up and put back into the soup. I've also heard of people doing this with a smoked turkey leg.
posted by Gilbert at 11:41 AM on October 25, 2006

i make two soups constantly through the winter. one is a super rich baked potato soup that is time-consuming to make and is not for the health-conscious (seriously, you add butter to bacon grease. i don't think even and the other is a ridiculously easy chicken tortilla soup.

baked potato soup
first, bake some potatoes in your microwave. i usually use about 6 red potatoes, but yukon golds make a good soup too. these can be cooking while you make the base.

in a dutch oven or stockpot, fry 12 slices of bacon. take bacon out, drain. add 1/3 cup butter to bacon grease. saute 2 cloves garlic, 1 chopped onion in butter/grease until translucent.

next, whisk in 2/3 cup of flour. this will make your roux. continue to whisk, cooking on medium heat until the roux turns a golden brown. make sure not to burn it. when roux is finished, add two cans of chicken broth and 2 cups of milk. continue to whisk until thickened.

once soup base is thickened, add about a half cup of chopped green onions and your baked potatoes (chopped up into pieces). bring to a boil, stirring frequently. turn down heat, let simmer for about 10 minutes.

add 1 cup half&half, 1 cup sour cream, 2 cups cheddar cheese, and the bacon you cooked earlier, all crumbled up. also some salt and pepper to taste. cook until cheese is all melted through.

chicken tortilla soup
cook a couple cut-up (into tiny soup-sized pieces!) boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a bit of olive oil, chili powder, cayenne powder, garlic, and a bit of chopped onion.

in a stockpot/soup pot, add 2 cans of chicken broth, 1 can of corn, 1 can of black beans and 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chiles. add cooked chicken to soup. heat through. serve with cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips/crushed chips.
posted by kerning at 11:46 AM on October 25, 2006 [2 favorites]

Here's my version of potato-broccoli-leek. As usual it will require a little bit of winging it.

4 medium to large baking potatoes (e.g. russets) or that much of whatever potato you like

1 large leek

2 cloves garlic (or more if you like garlic)

4 cups broccoli (use the florets and the stalk. Just use a vegetable peeler on the stalk if seems tough.)

vegetable stock

2 containers non-fat, plain yogurt

Cut the bottoms and the tough parts of the leaves off the leaks. Dice and clean and then saute on medium in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil until translucent. Toss in the garlic and saute for a couple minutes more. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Peel and slice the potatoes into ~1/2 in slices. Put in a stock pot and cover with chicken stock. I use half stock and half water because I find pure stock to be too much. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook potatoes until they're soft (about 15-20 min.)

While the potatoes are cooking steam the broccoli pieces until they're crisp-tender (about 10-15 min.) I like to do it this way because I think it makes the soup tastier and thicker. If you want to though, you can put the broccoli in with the potatoes for the last 10 or 15 minutes. Be sure you've added enough water/stock to cover them too.

Add the steamed broccoli to the potatoes and blend up. I use a wand blender, but you can do it in batches in a regular blender. Put everything back in the pot (if you have too) and add the leeks/garlic and the 2 tubs of yogurt. At this point adjust the consistency to what you want with additional stock or water. Bring up to simmer and season with salt, pepper, and good curry to taste. Add the curry slowly so you don't end up with too much.

Serving size: big bowl

It freezes well, it's practically fat free, and tastes great. Serve it with a handful of fresh spinach and/or some chopped up toasted walnuts.
posted by sevenless at 12:20 PM on October 25, 2006

If you make soup in large batches, because it can take time and you freeze portions, one good idea is to make if fairly basic. You can then customize it in various ways at serving time.

For example I make split-pea soup from 4 pounds of peas, a pound of carrots, 5 onions, a bunch of celery, and 4 ham hocks. I don't add salt (see below). I cook it a long time (because I don't like the texture of unpopped granules) and put it through a food-mill sieve. The end product is like babyfood.

At serving time you can add various flavors and textures. Lots of things work: soy sauce, hot sauce, hot sesame oil, wet Indian curry from a jar, sherry, olive oil, butter, bacon bits, cubes of meat, sauteed vegatables or even apple cubes, raisins, diced (hot) peppers, ...

If you are adding strong flavors, it is best to test out the quantity in a small sample. The soup seems to moderate hot peppers so I often wind up adding more than my initial guess. I once added smoked oysters. My sample convinced me they were a strong surprise, so I wound up cutting them in pieces.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 12:29 PM on October 25, 2006

If you're making soup because it's cold, try adding some spice to it. Spicy food has a lovely warming effect. You can put chiles into the soup along with the other ingredients -- try chopped chipotles en adobo (these come in cans), or sliced fresh serranos or jalapenos. They're hot, but not too hot to eat along with the soup. You can also sprinkle some hot sauce or chile powder into the broth. Cayenne or red chile powder is probably best for this.
posted by vorfeed at 12:35 PM on October 25, 2006

Here's my chicken wild rice soup. Real wild rice, mind, not that Uncle Ben's long grain and wild rice stuff, although you can find recipes that use that too. It would be even tastier if you made your own stock, etc.

Cook 1 cup wild rice in 3 cups water for 50 - 55 minutes. Drain excess water and set aside.

Cook 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts in 1 quart canned chicken broth for about 20 minutes, until cooked through. (I also add some pieces of carrot, celery, and a bay leaf to the broth). Remove chicken and skim or strain broth. When slightly cooled, cube the chicken. You could use chicken pieces with bones for more flavor. Or use leftover chicken.

Slice up 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery, a medium onion, then saute in some butter in a large saucepan for 5-10 minutes. Add some sliced mushrooms and saute for another 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle 1/2 cup flour over vegetables and cook for another minute or two.

While stirring, add the strained broth to the veggies, plus another 2-3 cups of broth. Stir in rice, chicken, salt and pepper to taste, and 1/2 cup white wine. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until veggies are tender. Add 2 cups of half and half, and extra broth if it needs to be thinned out a bit.

It will thicken over time so you may need to thin it again if you serve it the next day. If you plan to freeze it, do so without the half and half, then add it after you've reheated it again.
posted by cabingirl at 12:53 PM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

I make a pretty good cream of tomato soup:

1 large can of whole, peeled tomatoes
1 tbs tomato paste
2 cups water or stock
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup (depending on soup thickness) whole milk
some cherry tomatoes
handful of basil

Saute the onion (diced) in some olive oil on the bottom of a large pot (no extra dishes to clean). When it is translucent, add chopped garlic and stir until soft.

Then add your liquid- I usually use veg stock- and your tomato paste and mix it all up with some salt and pepper and a tiny bit of cinnamon. When it is good and hot, add your canned tomatoes and cook until they don't smell raw anymore. I usually let it cook for 15 min or more just so all the flavors are married.

Blend it all together until smooth, put it back in the pot, then add your milk and basil and any other fresh herbs you like. Add a few halves of cherry tomatoes and you are done.
posted by rmless at 1:24 PM on October 25, 2006

everybody who glossed over it needs to go back up and read ramix's recipe for Ghanaian peanut butter soup. and after you read it, go make it. that stuff is -the- -best-. signed, another soup devotee.
posted by whatzit at 1:44 PM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

Great color and enough of a kick to warm you up . . . Simple but a little time consuming, both in assembling the ingredients and chopping -- but worth it.

It's from the Boston Globe Recipe section:

Carrot red-lentil soup with Asian spices
Adapted from ``The Union Square Cafe,' by Danny Meyer and Michael Romano (HarperCollins, 1994).

2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
3/4 cup sliced onions
3/4 cup peeled and sliced parsnips
4 cups scrubbed and sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup red lentils
1/4 cup basmati rice (adds really nice flavor)
7 cups vegetable stock or water
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons lime juice
In a 3-quart saucepan, melt the butter over a low flame. Stir in the ginger and spices and cook for 1 minute. Add the onions, parsnips, carrots and celery. Add the salt and pepper. Raise the flame to medium and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Soften but do not brown the vegetables.
Stir in the lentils and basmati rice, mixing until well combined with the vegetables. Add the stock (or water) and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 30 minutes, until the vegetables and rice are tender. Puree the soup in a blender until smooth.

I am going to try another red lentil soup soon . . . but I am posting this one because I can vouch for it!
posted by nnk at 1:45 PM on October 25, 2006 [8 favorites]

Cream and blended soups are where it's at for the winter. My mum was all about the classic 3-2-1 cream soup (that's 3 parts stock, 2 parts vegetables, 1 part dairy), but I tend to make them with about 2-3-1.

For any soup, cream or otherwise, try to make your own stock. Most butchers where I am (London) are happy to give you bones for next to nothing. Throw the bones in the largest pot you've got with whatever vegetable scraps you've got around (and maybe a few bay leaves), cover them with water, then let them simmer for a few hours. If you're making a cream soup, use the fullest fat option you've got. I use sour cream or something they have over here called double cream that's about 35% fat.

My standard soups are:

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato:

Garlic, Peeled and Chopped
Dried Basil
Olive Oil
1 Cup Full Fat Sour Cream
~2 Cups Fresh Tomatoes, Chopped
4 Fist-sized Red Peppers (I've got fairly large hands...adjust as necessary)
~2 Cups Chicken or Pork Stock

Roast the peppers whole under your broiler, turning them as the skin on top blackens until you got them black all over. Once they've cooled off a bit, peel the skin off with your fingers and
scrape the seeds out. Chop them roughly, as you'll just be blending them later.
Soften the garlic in a tablespoon or so of oil. I use anything from half a head to a whole head.
Add the tomatoes and simmer until they start to break down a bit.
Add the peppers, basil, and oregano. I use a bit of oregano and loads of basil.
Add your stock, blend the crap out of it, then let it simmer for about half an hour or so.
Let it cool off a bit, whisk in the sour cream, then season it to taste.

Cream of Potato and Various Other Things:

1 Cup Full Fat Sour Cream
Two Cups Potatoes, Chopped and Unpeeled
One Cup [Celery|Onions|Celeriac], Chopped
~2 Cups Chicken, Pork or Lamb Stock

Saute the potatoes in the butter. When they're about half-way to tender, add the other vegetables and keep sauteing until it's all nicely soft. If you're using garlic, throw it in with the 'other vegetables'.
Add your stock, blend the crap out of it, add the dill if you're using it, then let it simmer for about half an hour or so.
Let it cool off a bit, whisk in the sour cream, then season it to taste.

Carrot and Pumpkin:

Coriander, Ground
Black Pepper, Ground
1/2 Cups Onion, Chopped
1 1/2 Cups Pumpkin, in 2cm by 2cm Cubes
1 1/2 Cups Carrots, Prepped As Above
~2 Cups Chicken or Pork Stock

Roast the pumpkin and carrots in the oven at about 350 until they're soft.
Saute the onions in the butter until they're soft.
Add the pumpkin, carrots, coriander, and pepper. I tend to use about three times as much coriander as pepper.
Saute it a little, add your stock, blend the crap out of it, then let it simmer for about half an hour.
Season it to taste.

Man, that ran on a bit...I'll cut it off here.
posted by Kreiger at 1:47 PM on October 25, 2006 [3 favorites]

Easy Split Pea Soap:

1 bag of split peas.
Two quarts or so of broth or water. (I use an organic veggie broth, because it adds an extraordinary amount of flavor.)
1 pound or so of lean ham, cubed.
Carrots (I use a lot of them)
Celery (I use two stalks_
Garlic (I use about two cloves)
Salt and pepper.
Bay leaf or two

Wash beans. No need to soak them. Combine beans, broth, chopped veggies and ham in pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low simmer. Cover. Ignore. Stir once an hour or so. Soup will be done in 3-4 hours, but the longer you cook it, the thicker it gets.

Some people like to use a stick blender, or a blender to puree the whole thing, I prefer mine unpureed, but I'll sometimes add a dollop of real cream to the soup when I serve.

Chicken and Dumplings:

1 3-5 pound chicken, disjointed, but still boned.
2 quarts or so of chicken broth
Carrots, celery and any other veggie you think would taste good.
Salt, pepper, bay leaf, tarragon, savory, oregano, basil, rosemary to taste.

1.5 cups flour, 1 tbsp baking powder, about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of milk, salt and tarragon (if desired).

Put everything in the first list into the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken falls off bone.

Remove bones and icky bits from soup. Return soup to pot and raise temp to a low boil.

Meanwhile, mix your flour ingredients to form dough similar in texture to biscuit dough.

Raise temp of soap to fast boil. Drop spoonfuls of dumpling into boiling soap. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Reduce heat, serve.
posted by dejah420 at 1:48 PM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

My favorite quick-ish soup is one I sort of cobbled together from a bunch of different recipes:

Improv Curried Lentil Soup

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion
1 inch fresh gingerroot, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 large carrot, grated
2 medium potatoes, unpeeled, chopped
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 cups veggie broth, or 2 cubes veggie bouillon dissolved in 2 cups water, or just 2 cups water (more or less as needed)
1 can (yellow) lentils (19 oz. can)
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. red pepper
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cardamom
juice of 1 lemon

*Saute onion, ginger, and garlic in olive oil on medium-high heat about 5 min. Add salt.
*Add one at a time, mix well after each: curry powder, bell pepper, celery, carrot, 1/2 cup of the veggie broth, potatoes, tomato paste.
*Add the rest of the veggie broth and the lentils along with the water from the can. Mix well, cook covered on medium for 20-25 min. until potatoes and celery are soft.
*Remove from heat. Take out half or more of the soup and puree it in the blender.
*Add it back to the pot and stir in cumin, coriander, red pepper, ginger, cardamom, and the juice of one lemon. Mix well and serve hot with snipped cilantro on top if desired. Makes 4 servings.

[I did a nutritional analysis of this recipe on - Based on this recipe making 4 servings: each serving contains 279 calories, 37 calories from fat; 4g total fat, 1g saturated fat; 0mg cholesterol; 186mg sodium; 50g total carb, 13g fiber, 6g sugars; 13g protein. RDA: 49% Vitamin A, 126% Vitamin C, 6% calcium, 30% iron. "This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Iron, Phosphorus, Potassium and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin C and Folate."]

This soup is very forgiving and does great with substitutions (fresh tomato, ketchup instead of tomato paste, red or green pepper works well in it). I've made it with chickpeas instead of lentils, too (I think I added in spinach, and used orange instead of lemon, with the chickpeas).
posted by Melinika at 2:04 PM on October 25, 2006 [3 favorites]

Maybe one more, as Asian soups don't seem to be getting much love.

Tom Kah Gai:

2 Stalks Lemongrass, Bruised
1/2 Head of Garlic, Crushed
~1/4 Cups Galangal, Sliced
Nam Pla (Fish Sauce)
2 Lime Leaves (if available)
Chillis, Seeded and Finely Sliced
Green Onions, Chopped
Fresh Basil
3 Cups Cooked [Chicken|Pork|Tofu], Sliced (or Cubed, for Tofu)
2 Cups Chicken or Pork Stock
2 Cans Coconut Milk

Simmer the lemongrass, garlic, galangal, and lime leaves in the stock and coconut milk for at least half an hour, preferably longer.
Heat up the meat or meat alternative with the chillis.
Strain everything out of the stock and coconut milk mixture and season it to taste with a mix of Nam Pla and salt, depending on your tolerance for stankin-ass fermented fish sauce. I like it, but it does put some people off.
Put a serving worth of the meat or meat alternative and chilli mixture in each bowl, ladle the broth over it to cover, and top it with whatever mix of cashews/green onions/basil that you like.
posted by Kreiger at 2:07 PM on October 25, 2006 [3 favorites]

Cheat for those who don't/can't/won't make homemade stock or broth: Better than Boullion. (Hereafter abbreviated as BTB.) The stuff is worlds better than any kind of boullion cubes and better than a lot of canned soups, too.

When I make chicken soup:
Night before, get a grocery rotisserie chicken and greedily eat the best parts for dinner.

Night of soup: Pick remaining best pieces of meat from carcass and set aside.
Make Chicken BTB.
Add whole carcass, including drippings and skin, and simmer.
Add reserved nicer meat back in, along with any bits of good meat that landed in the strainer and whatever veggies, herbs, whatever.
posted by desuetude at 2:25 PM on October 25, 2006

Easy Chili

2 large cans tomato sauce
1 large can diced tomato
1 can dark kidney beans
1 lb hamburger or ground turkey. (or get frisky & subsitute Grape Nuts cereal)
1 pepper (green pepper or one of the spicy ones)

also need: chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper & onion flakes

Brown hamburger with diced pepper & onion flakes, drain (or let cool a little and use some paper towels to sop off the grease. Combine the cans in a medium pot, toss in hamburger mixture. Add spices. Let simmer on low for 2-3 hours. Serve over rice or spaghetti.
If cooking in a crock pot, toss in rice or pasta about 30 minutes before eating.

Using grape nuts really does work. Use a little olive oil & toast it instead of browning. Can't really tell the difference & no need to wait for meat to thaw.

Heathenish advice ahead . . . I love Onion soup but I'm not fond of the wet bread, stringy cheese combo nor do I usually want to bother with broiling. I buy some of that frozen Cheese toast (like the Pepperidge Farm brand), broil it in the oven & dip in in the soup. Same effect, less mess & fuss.
posted by jaimystery at 2:46 PM on October 25, 2006

Another easy chili:

1lb hamburger
a few cloves of garlic - pressed or chopped fine
1/2 onion - chopped
1/2 bell pepper - chopped
1 can chili beans in sauce (I like Bush's)
1 can black beans - rinse and drain
1 small can of tomato sauce
chili powder
red pepper to taste

Brown the meat. Add a few dashes of chili powder and cumin and toss in the garlic, onion, and bell pepper as soon as the meat is brown. Cook and stir until onion is clear. Add both cans of beans. Add tomato sauce. Add more chili powder and cumin (and red pepper, if desired). Let it simmer for a bit.

We serve with grated cheese on top and fritos scoops.

Takes less than a half hour to make and my kids stuff themselves with it.
posted by lilywing13 at 4:32 PM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

I also make what I call Chicken Noodle Stew. The ingredients vary somewhat, but it generally consists of homemade chicken stock, chicken meat, garlic, carrots, potatoes, and peas. I toss in spiral shaped noodles (the multicolored ones, just for fun) about a half hour before serving. Very hearty, especially as leftovers when the noodles swell up.

I love making homemade chicken stock on a chilly winter weekend afternoon. I tend to make a huge stockpot full and simmer it down to where it's pretty concentrated. We keep meal-sized (enough to make a pot of soup) portions in the freezer.

Looking forward to trying a lot of these recipes!
posted by lilywing13 at 4:44 PM on October 25, 2006

57 users marked this as a favorite

What a souper thread!

The great things about soup is that they are so easy; just throw things you like in a pot.

I want to try this; Lasagne Soup.
posted by oxford blue at 5:27 PM on October 25, 2006

I've been into (mostly) raw veggie foods lately. This is probably pretty off-the-wall, but I thought I'd throw it out there just in case you want to try something, you know, off the wall (& very healthy) . . .

6-8 roma tomatoes
4 sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
1 yellow, orange, or red bell pepper
1 avacado (optional, makes it creamier)
1 stick celery
1 bunch spinach (to taste, lots if you really like spinach, less if if you could take or leave it)
8 oz carrot juice
2 cloves garlic
1/2 to 1 inch ginger
1 small bunch of basil (to taste)
2 tbs flax seed oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
1 tbs miso (a soybean paste; use tamari or soy sauce to taste if unavailable)
2 tbs nutritional yeast flakes (not a showstopper if not available, but it does make it yummier)
1 dash of cumin (to taste)
1/2 dried red chile (remove seeds)

Chop up big stuff, puree everything in a blender until smooth. Heat very gently, not getting above 117 degrees (and definitely don't get near boiling -- defeats the purpose).
posted by treepour at 5:29 PM on October 25, 2006

I love this thread! I'm just going to add a note on easy stock-making....I keep a big ziplock in the freezer, and throw chicken bones, celery tops, leek tops, onion ends, all that sort of cooking detritus in there. After a while, when I'm ready to make some soup, I have a bag of potential stocky goodness that I can pull out of the freezer and simmer for a few hours. I don't know if it's culinarily "bad" somehow, but it's much less messy than making stock and then freezing it for future use. My favorite thrifty tip.
posted by paleography at 7:04 PM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

Mexican Chicken Soup with Cilantro-Chile Cream

(Yeah, I know, it's from the Ortega web site, but it's really good and super easy to make. Trust me, the cilantro-chile cream makes it.)
posted by Otis at 10:32 AM on October 26, 2006

I've posted this before. Here it is again:

Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup with Lime (serves 2 to 4)

3 cups of carrot juice (buy pre-juiced carrots at the grocery store or health food store)
1 small, ripe avocado
1/2 cup coconut meat (buy it in a can for about $1.25)
1/4 lime juice (about one reamed lime)
2 tbs of agave nectar (about $2.50 a bottle at health food store)
1/4 tbs minced ginger
1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt

1. Put everything in a blender and puree until completely smooth. Taste for seasoning.

2. Garnish with a few cilantro leaves (optional).

This soup is terrific. The recipe actually asks for 1 tbs of ginger but the times I made it it was too gingery so I cut that by 3/4s--perhaps ginger it to taste by adding last.

To be served at room temperature.
posted by dobbs at 4:26 PM on October 26, 2006 [1 favorite]

That should say 1/4 cup of lime juice.
posted by dobbs at 4:29 PM on October 26, 2006

Cross-linking for completeness: many stew recipes and other cold-weather favorites.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:00 PM on September 5, 2007

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