Tuesday, November 12, 2019

5 Comforting Soups

       When the weather takes a cooler turn, nothing provides warmth and comfort quite like a good soup. I figured that I’d share some of my favorite Fall and Winter time soups with you today.

1. This soup is a hearty, healthy, veggie filled comfort soup that’s perfect for Fall and Winter. If you want to make this with dairy instead of the dairy alternatives, simply use butter instead of coconut oil and milk instead of cashew milk. You can also use chicken or bone broth instead of vegetable broth if you prefer. It also helps to keep an extra cup or two of broth handy just in case the rice gets a bit over cooked and soaks up all the broth. With this in mind, Wild Rice takes longer to cook, if you want to use white or brown rice, or want to use a mixture, shorten your cooking time for the rice.

Mushroom and Wild Rice

6 cups Vegetable Broth
1 cup uncooked Wild Rice
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
8 ounces Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 medium Carrots, peeled and diced
2 ribs of celery, diced
1 small Red Onion, diced
1 small Yellow Onion, diced
3 tablespoons Coconut Oil
3 sprigs Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 tablespoons fresh Parsley, chopped
¼ cup All Purpose, Gluten Free Flour
1 ½ cups Cashew Milk
3 cups Baby Spinach, roughly chopped

     In a large stock pot, over Medium-High heat, heat 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil. Add Yellow Onion and sauté until translucent (about 5 minutes). Stir in the garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Add in the broth, wild rice, mushrooms, carrots, celery, red onions, thyme and bay leaves. Give it a good stir and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer. Once it reaches that point, cover it and allow it to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
     During the final 10 minutes of your broth mixture, it’s time to work on that cream sauce in a separate sauce pan. Melt the coconut oil on Medium-High heat. Whisk in the flour, until combined (there should be no lumps). Add in the cashew milk and cook for about 1 minute, constantly stirring. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the mixture almost comes to a simmer, it should be quite thick at this point.
     Add the creamy mixture and the spinach to the broth mixture and stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.

2. This traditional, Native American, soup is inspired by three of the most important crops that they grew, and they grew them together. These plants helped to support one another and keep each other healthy as they were growing. They also work well together in this comforting soup. It’s easy to add some chicken, turkey, or beef to this if you want to make it a bit more hearty.

Three Sisters Soup

2 lbs Winter Squash, the ones I use most often is Butternut or Acorn
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 sprig Thyme
4-6 cloves Garlic, minced
6 cups Vegetable Stock
1 can (15oz) Cannelloni Beans, drained and rinsed
½ lb Corn Kernels, or about 1 ½ medium ears of Corn
1 bunch fresh Parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

     Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice squash in half and remove seeds, then roast for 40 minutes. Allow squash to cool, then remove the flesh and save the liquid in the squash for later. Cut the squash into about ½ inch squares. In a large pot, sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat until brown. Add thyme and garlic and stir until the garlic turns brown. Slowly add vegetable stock and squash. Allow mixture to simmer for a few minutes before adding beans and corn. Simmer for about 20 minutes, add in the parsley, salt, and pepper. Simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes. Serve hot.

3. To me, the best comfort food is a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. This recipe takes that concept from basic and kicks it up a notch. I like to serve this with a Pepper Jack Grilled Cheese sandwich, or a Cheese Quesadilla.

Southwest Tomato Soup

1 tablespoon Olive Oil
½ medium Red Onion, diced
½ medium Yellow Onion, diced
1 Poblano Pepper, diced
2 teaspoons Cumin
2 teaspoons Paprika
2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Coriander
1 can (15oz) Black Beans, drained and rinsed
30 oz Tomato Sauce, low sodium or no salt added
2 cups Vegetable Broth
¼ cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
Top with Sour Cream *optional

     Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and pepper and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in spices and blend, either with an immersion blender or a food processor. Add beans, sauce, broth to the blended veggies and mix together. Bring up to a boil. Reduce heat back to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste and top with cilantro right before serving. Serve hot, and top each bowl with a dollop of sour cream (optional).

4. Chowders are wonderfully chunky, hearty, and comforting soups. They’re great for cooler weather. But this chowder has a twist, instead of using potatoes, it uses roasted cauliflower.

Roasted Cauliflower Coconut Chowder

1 head Cauliflower
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Yellow Onion, diced
2 medium Carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks Celery, diced
¼ cup All Purpose, Gluten Free, Flour
4 cups Vegetable Broth
1 cup Coconut Milk
1 Bay Leaf
2 tablespoons Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

     Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F. Chop the cauliflower and its stem into bite-sized pieces. Place the cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil, toss to combine, and spread into an even layer. Roast until just golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
     On medium-high heat, in a large sauce pot, drizzle the olive oil  and add garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in vegetable broth and coconut milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the roasted cauliflower and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower are tender, about 12-15 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. If the chowder is too thick, add more coconut milk as needed until desired consistency is reached. Top the chowder with parsley right before serving. Serve hot.

5. Lentils and Rice is a classic dish, but so is Lemon Orzo soup. This hearty soup combines the best of both dishes. This classic flavor will bring comfort and warmth this fall/winter season.

Lemon Lentil Soup with Orzo

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
2 medium Carrots, peeled and diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 cups (12 ounces) Lentils, picked and rinsed
8 cups Vegetable Broth
2 cups Kale, shredded
juice of 1 to 2 Lemons
1 cup uncooked Orzo pasta
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 handful fresh Dill, chopped

     Heat the oil in a large stock pot, over medium heat. Add the onions and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally until they are softened and starting to smell sweet, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds more.
     Stir in the lentils and broth. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil. Taste then adjust with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the lentils are tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Add in the Orzo and Kale and cook, uncovered, another 10 minutes, or until the orzo is tender.
     Take the soup off of the heat, and then stir in the juice of 1 lemon and the fresh herbs. Taste the soup, and then season with additional salt and/or lemon juice. Serve hot.

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