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There’s nothing better than a good, hot bowl of soup on a chilly night. You can make a meal out of a bowl of soup or just start your meal with a cup of soup and add other courses. Either way, a good bowl of soup will warm your soul.

Company Onion Soup

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 large sweet or Walla Walla onions, sliced

1 tablespoon sugar

6 cups beef broth, divided

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

4 thick slices French bread

Additional unsalted butter

Garlic salt or 1 garlic clove, halved

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese

In a Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Sauté onions until tender. Sprinkle sugar over onions. Reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add 3 cups broth, simmer 15 minute. Add remaining broth, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Meanwhile, spread both sides of the bread with additional butter, sprinkle with garlic salt or rub with the cut side of the garlic clove. Broil bread until golden brown, then turn and brown other side. Ladle soup into individual ovenproof soup bowls. Float a slice of bread in each bowl and sprinkle with cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve immediately.

Classic Corn Chowder

6 potatoes, peeled and diced

Water

1 16-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained

4 cups whole milk

1 large onion, diced

4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Place potatoes in a Dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Drain. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until onion is soft.

Baked Potato Cheddar Soup

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups milk

2 large potatoes, baked, peeled and coarsely mashed (1 1/2 pounds)

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, divided

Crumbled cooked bacon

In a large saucepan, whisk flour and milk until smooth. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the potatoes, 1/3 cup cheese, salt and pepper; cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes until the cheese is melted. Remove from the heat. Stir in sour cream and 1/4 cup onions until blended. Cover, cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until soup is heated through (do not boil). Garnish with the remaining cheese, onion and bacon.

Lentil Tomato Soup

4 1/2 cups water

4 medium carrots, sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

2/3 cup dried lentils, rinsed

1 6-ounce can tomato paste

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dill weed

1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a large saucepan, combine the water, carrots, onion and lentils, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until vegetables and lentils be tender. Stir in the remaining ingredients, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

Split Pea Soup with Meatballs

1 pound dry green split peas

3 medium carrots cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3/4 cup diced celery

1 medium onion, diced

8 cups water

3 medium potatoes cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

*** Meatballs

3/4 cup finely chopped celery

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 tablespoons canola oil, divided

1 1/2 cups soft bread crumbs

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried sage, crushed

1 egg

1 pound ground pork

In a Dutch oven combine the peas, carrots, celery, onion and water, bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add potatoes, salt and pepper, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté celery and onion in 2 tablespoons oil until tender, transfer to a large bowl. Add bread crumbs, water, salt, sage and egg; crumble pork over mixture and mix well. Form into 3/4-inch balls. In the same skillet, brown meatballs in remaining oil until a thermometer reads 160°. Add to soup, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Beef Barley Soup with Roasted Vegetables

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 pound beef stew meat (3/4-inch cubes)

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 large portobello mushroom, stem removed, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

8 cups beef stock

2 cups water

2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash

1 large baking potato, peeled and cubed

2 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices

2/3 cup quick cooking barley

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

Dash ground nutmeg

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

In a small bowl, mix the flour, salt and pepper; sprinkle over beef and toss to coat. In a Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add beef, brown evenly. Remove from the pan. In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat. Add the mushroom and onion and cook and stir for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in garlic, cook 1 minute longer. Add stock and water, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan; return beef to pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer 40 to 60 minutes or until meat is tender. Meanwhile, place the squash, potato and carrots on a greased 15-by-10-inch baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining oil and toss to coat. Bake at 425° for 20 to 25 minutes or until vegetables are almost tender, stirring twice. Add barley, thyme, nutmeg and roasted veggies to soup, return to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until barley is tender. Sprinkle with parsley.

Cheese Soup

4 medium carrots, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 medium green pepper, chopped

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 quarts 2% milk

1 1/3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

1 8-ounce package processed cheese (Velveeta), cubed

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

In a Dutch oven, sauté the carrots, celery, onion and green pepper in butter until tender. Stir in flour and salt until blended, gradually add milk and broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat to low, stir in cheeses until melted.

Lentil Vegetable Soup

3 14 1/2-ounce cans vegetable broth

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 cup dried lentils, rinsed

1/2 cup uncooked long grain brown rice

1/2 cup tomato juice

1 5 1/2-ounce can spicy hot V8 juice

1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 medium potato, peeled and cubed

1 medium tomato, cubed

1 medium carrot, sliced

1 celery rib, sliced

In a large saucepan, combine the first eight ingredients; bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the potato, tomato, carrot and celery, cover and simmer, 30 minutes longer or until rice and vegetables are tender.

Serve soup with a few slices of your favorite bread, cornbread or muffins. Yum! If you have any recipes you would like to share with our other readers, you can send them to my email at judyd2313@frontier.com or to the BCR, P.O. Box 340, Princeton, IL 61356.

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