Tuesday, October 14, 2014

comfort in a bowl ~ soup recipes for those chilly autumn nights


Day two of gloomy, gray skies and rain. Blech. I'm one of those people who's affected
by the weather both physically and mentally. Give me a sunshiny day and I'm cheerful and
motivated and full of energy. Gloomy days? Something usually hurts more than usual on
this middle-aged body and I feel lazy and blah. 

I find myself craving soup in this kind of weather. I love the process of making it, too.
There's something cathartic about mindfully chopping vegetables. Then there's the
fragrance filling the kitchen as the onions, garlic, and celery saute on the stovetop. And
finally, the whole house fills with the aroma of simmering soup. Ever walk into a house
where soup is simmering on the stove? It smells like comfort. It smells like home.

The first recipe I'm sharing with you is one of my family's favorite, tried-and-true classic
soups: Pasta E Fagioli. It's hearty and delicious, makes great leftovers, and is easy
to make. Recipe below.


PASTA E FAGIOLI
  (Recipe from cookbook, Full Of Beans)

2 T. olive oil
2 oz. pancetta or bacon, minced (sub vegetarian Canadian 
bacon or omit entirely, if vegetarian)
1-1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 T. crumbled dried leaf sage or 2 tsp. chopped fresh sage
1/4 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
5 c. chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 16-oz. can Italian-style chopped tomatoes with juice
(or use plain canned chopped tomatoes & add your own Italian seasonings)
3 c. drained cooked white beans such as cannellini or Great Northern
3/4 c. small dried pasta such as ditalini or tubetti
Salt
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large, heavy soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the pancetta
(or bacon) and cook until the fat is rendered but not browned, about 8 minutes.
Add the onion and celery and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the
vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, sage, and red pepper flakes
and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth, tomatoes, and beans. Bring to a boil over high
heat, add the pasta, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook uncovered until the pasta
is al dente, about 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt, if necessary. (Leftovers
can be kept for a couple of days in the refrigerator and reheated, but if making the
soup ahead, don't cook the pasta until shortly before serving. It tends to absorb liquid
and become soggy as it stands.) Ladle into bowls and top with freshly grated cheese.

 ******************************

Another great thing about making soup is that it's so adaptable. I make up a lot of my
own recipes. Basically, if you have basic staples on-hand such as broth, vegetables
(fresh, canned, frozen), tomatoes (fresh or canned), any kind of pasta or grain, and if
you wish - some kind of protein such as beans or leftover chicken - you can make soup.

My yoga teacher mentioned last week that she made up a recipe for Mexican Chicken
Soup. I told her to tell me the basics of what she put in it - and here's what I came up
with. I love to make up my own recipes and with soup, it's easy to do so.

MEXICAN CHICKEN SOUP

2 T. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 poblano peppers, coarsely chopped
1 cubanelle pepper, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
1-2 tsp cumin (start out with 1 tsp, taste - add more to your liking)
1 T. chili powder
1 tsp. oregano
5 c. chicken broth
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
1 c. frozen corn
Juice of 2 limes
Fresh cilantro

In a large, heavy soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion,
celery, poblano peppers, cubanelle pepper, and carrots. Cook over medium
heat for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Add the garlic, cumin, chili
powder, and oregano and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth, chicken, and frozen
corn and simmer, covered, for at least 30 minutes or until all the flavors come together.
Right before serving, add the juice of two limes into the pot of soup and stir. Ladle into
bowls. Garnish with fresh cilantro.


 Nom nom ~ enjoy!

Sharing with Cozy Little House - Tweak it Tuesday.


16 comments:

  1. I'm like you, Melanie. Gray days really affect my mood and productivity, but a pot of soup simmering on the stove makes for a cozy house when it's too unpleasant to be outdoors. Both of your soups look delish!

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  2. Soup is comfort food and one of my favs! Since it's been a bit cooler we've just about have soup every day for lunch! So many possibilities and a great way to clear out the fridge! Both look good...I love Mexican Chicken soup

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    Replies
    1. I know you're good at making different soups too, Cathy!

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  3. I love soup too! I make versions of both of these myself. It's so nice to throw a bunch of things together and get a hearty, warming meal. Thanks for sharing your recipes.

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    1. You're welcome, Jennifer. I'll be making a vegetable tortellini soup on Sunday.

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  4. Yum! Leaf sage is a new one to me, I've always used sage that is pretty much powdery. I will have to look for the leaf kind, it sounds better.

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    Replies
    1. It is better, though sometimes it can be hard to find. I hope you can do so!

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  5. I do love soup in the fall and winter. All this rain and gray lately has made me want to hunker down and stay home. Good day for soup!

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    Replies
    1. The sun finally came out here today for the first time all week!

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  6. We love soup here, too! Your recipes look delicious, and both would freeze well.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, they would. Another positive thing about making soup! I freeze some for Tim so that when we see him, he gets some homemade soup, too.

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  7. Soup is definitely the right kind of food for this time of year isn't it!! xx

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  8. These both look great! I could eat soup every night of the week!

    I hope your wrist gets better. Could it be the dampness? I was knocked out for the surgery but he gave me a local as well so that I'd have more relief afterward. And believe me, I felt it after the local wore off! I'm okay now...just some pinching sort of feelings where the nerves are healing.

    Jane xx

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    Replies
    1. No, it's not the dampness - though I'm sure that makes it worse. It's dry today and still hurts. I've been having this problem for years though (with my wrist and fingers). Whew, so glad to hear you were knocked out for the surgery!

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I read and appreciate every comment!