Soups On

For the last few years I have tried to add a soup or stew to our dinner menu at least once per week. Despite the chopping and blending there is something about soups that to me screams "easy dinner." I guess it's the fewer dishes that a full on meal and often frozen leftovers.

Just in case the "comfort factor" of a homemade soup is not enough, I have started to do a few things to make soups even easier.

1-Chop then freeze. Most of my soup (and some non-soup) recipes call for a veggie base of carrots, celery, onion or garlic (or all of the above). I keep onion and garlic on hand and don't mind a little dicing to start, but because we don't really snack on celery or carrots. I buy a fresh bag of each, roughly chop them up when I have an few extra minutes, the freeze the veggies. When you need one or both for soups the work is done.

2-Have the right tools, a hand held chopper and a hand blender are a must for soups. The chopper helps with cutting veggies (for soup or anything else, I must use mine 3 times per week). For pureed soups, the hand blender eliminates the process of cooling, batch blending and reheating soups. Everything stays in the pot and your soup can stay warm while blending it down, just watch for splatter.

3-Double the recipe and then be ready to freeze it. Once you have eaten dinner parcel leftovers into plastic or glass containers and freeze. I have had good luck with most (even cream based) soups in the freezer. After a few recipes and freezing left overs you will have a freezer stocked for future lunches and dinners for the winter, so canned soup no more.

While we are talking soup I will share a the best tomato bisque recipe I have found (we had it last night).

Tomato Bisque from the Food Network
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced bacon (about 1/2 ounce)
1 Spanish onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes (with liquid), roughly chopped
3 parsley sprigs
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 cup heavy cream
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until crisp and most of the fat has rendered, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Lower the heat to medium, add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes.

Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Pour in the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Tie the parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine and add to the pot. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool**.

When the soup base is cool, remove and discard the herb bundle. Working in batches, transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Using a sieve over a large bowl, strain the tomato puree. Return the puree to the pot and reheat over medium heat.
Whisk the heavy cream and salt into the soup and season with pepper to taste. Divide among warm soup bowls and serve immediately.

**If you use a hand blender, just remove the herb bundle and blend in the pot. I don't mind a little texture so I don't even strain the soup. Just add the cream, salt and pepper and serve.

No comments:

Post a Comment