Welcome Back to Soup

[ 5 ] September 18, 2012 |

Welcome back

Joy to the world, soup season is back! Served with bread, fruit, and cheese, soups are my favorite dinners–both for cooking and eating. Bonus: most (i.e. my) children like soup. And this: you might get a few good lunches out of the leftovers. Also: the price is right. Also: you can make soup well in advance, and come home from the cross-country meet/soccer game/football practice to dive into dinner and feel cozy, even if your legs are still muddy. Also: these dinners make your house smell fantastic.

I realize I’m kind of advanced in my motherhood journey to be excited about my kids eating vegetables–they’re 11 and 9. Shouldn’t they be eating everything by now, without the glib commentary? Yet I still feel hugely relieved when I see vegetation going into their bodies. That’s why I am evangelical about these soups. These are the two soups I’ll be making all season long.

For our family, these recipes serve a mixed-age group of 4 for dinner and 2 for lunch the next day.

GOCWJ Tomato Soup

GARDEN (OR CANNED WITHOUT JUDGMENT) TOMATO SOUP

Chop very finely three shallots, a handful each of parsley and basil leaves, and three fat cloves of garlic. In a heavy soup pot or dutch oven, warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the finely chopped vegetables in the oil with 1-2 tsp. oregano and rosemary (use a larger amount if your oregano and rosemary are fresh). Add salt and pepper—start with 1 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper. You can add more later.

Once the shallots are soft and translucent (that’ll be after about 5 minutes), add 1/4c tomato paste and stir until blended and lump-free. Add 1/3 c vermouth, a 28 ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes OR 2 pounds of hacked up tomatoes from your garden, and 3 1/2 cups of vegetable stock (or water with Rapunzel bouillon, Better than Bouillon Un-Chicken, or whatever quick stock substitute you like.) Bring this to a moderate simmer.

Pop on the pot’s lid and turn the heat way down. Cook for about 20 minutes or transfer to a slow cooker and cook for a few hours or all day on the low setting. At some point before eating, purée the soup with an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Decorate with parsley. Pretty!

Note: do not bother making this soup without vermouth.

ROASTED BROCCOLI SOUP FOR CHILDREN WHO HATE VEGETABLES

In a 450-degree oven, roast the bejeebers out of two sheet pans of olive-oil drizzled chopped broccoli and shallots (leeks or onions work too). The vegetables will become dark brown in spots. The broccoli florets might get crispy. That’s good.

Transfer the roasted mess to a big soup pot. Add water to cover and Better than Bouillon Un-Chicken, approximately one glob. (Or use some other bouillon, or use vegetable stock instead.) Simmer until soft and purée with an immersion blender. A few remaining broccoli lumps are kind of nice. After the soup is the consistency you like, throw in 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese. It will melt. Stir, but don’t purée or things could get gloopy. Add salt to taste.

Note: this soup is not pretty. Light a candle.

This is not trick photography! The apple is almost as big as the loaf of bread.

ADD-ONS

In terms of bread, with either of these soups, something crusty is best. I pretty much always make the Jim Lahey bread. This couldn’t be simpler, but does require some advance planning. And while your house won’t smell as fantastic if you buy a loaf of bread, even a cruddy old baguette from an unfashionable grocery store will do. If you live near a good bakery, well, lucky you.

For the fruit, I recommend a Mutsu apple–they’re often as big as a baby doll’s head, so one will suffice—sliced to order at the table for that warm, communal feeling humans get from carving up some single thing to share.

For the cheese, I like a glob of chevre in the tomato soup or a wedge of sharp cheddar on the side. The broccoli soup is already way cheesy, but it’s nice to have some grated cheddar to plop on top.

Category: food + recipes


Katy Killilea

about the author ()

Katy Killilea lives in Barrington with her husband, their sons (2001 + 2003), and a dog named Grover. Katy loves reading, cooking, loud pants, the Beehive in Bristol, and learning everything she can about Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. She says more about that at Bigfoot Child Have Diabetes.

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  1. amy says:

    I love that you write about cooking the way I cook, with plops of cheese and so on. I just made tomato soup for lunch the other day, using canned plum tomatoes, with gluten free grilled cheese on the side. Oh, the fabulousness. 🙂 It will definitely be a dinner on some upcoming karate night.

  2. Anna Sawin says:

    Really, about the vermouth? I believe you, I’m just trying to imagine the alchemy it performs. What do I need to know about buying vermouth? Will I like it enough to buy a big bottle, or should I slink out of the liquor store with a fifth in a brown bag?

  3. calendar calendar says:

    I’m dead serious about the vermouth. I have a 375ml bottle from last year and will need another by…November. I have no idea what drink to make with it–I’ll have to refer back to your post on cocktails.

  4. Jen says:

    Thanks for sharing these recipes. I made the tomato one today and it came out delicious!

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