Who doesn’t love a warm bowl of soup, especially in cold weather? It warms not only our bodies, but also our hearts. I have chosen three of my favorite soup recipes to share with you, and I would also like to add some of my soup tips which I have learned over many years.
Having an immersion blender is really key to making soups and making your lives easier. I have one for Pareve, Meat, and Dairy. And I also have a set for Pesach. You can pick them up quite inexpensively and they are quite worth it for the jobs they do.
Secondly, I have learned that freezing soup in large containers is not as smart as freezing soup in one-quart containers. If you freeze soup in one-quart containers, each one yields enough for about 2½ -3 servings. So if you are only feeding a small group, you can easily gauge how much you would need to defrost.
Another tip I love is that chopping vegetables is the worst part of kitchen prep. I have purchased a William Sonoma food chopper (http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/professional-multi- chopper/) which chops vegetables in a snap, saving me hours of prep work. Again, I have one for Pesach as well. Another great chopper is the QVC chopper (Genius Salad Chopper 19 Cup 6-pc Food Prep System). I use these choppers for my daily salads, and it takes half the time.
The following soup is a family favorite. I make it year round, including Pesach.
2 tablespoons of oil
½ onion diced (Spanish preferred)
¾ celery stalk diced
1-2 garlic cloves minced
6 medium parsnips peeled and diced
2 potatoes peeled and diced
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook about 5 minutes or until clear in color. Add the garlic and the celery. Cook 2 more minutes. Add the parsnips, potatoes, and stock. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and cook about 35 more minutes or until everything is tender. Cool. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with chives if desired.
I also make this soup year round (Pesach included, substituting the flour appropriately). I serve it for yom tov lunches and they always ask for seconds!!! I usually triple or quadruple this basic amount.
Golden Cauliflower Soup
2 packages 10 oz each of frozen cauliflower
Or 1 head of cauliflower separated into small pieces
2 cups water
½ cup chopped onion
1/3 cup margarine (you can use oil)
1/3 to ½ cup flour
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons chicken flavored bouillon
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
parsley or scallions for garnish (optional)
Cook cauliflower in 1 cup water in pan until soft. Reserve 1 cup cooked flowerets. Blend remaining cauliflower and liquid in a blender (I use an immersion blender). Set aside.
Cook onion in margarine or oil until tender. Add flour. Gradually add remaining water, milk, bouillon. Cook and stir until well blended and thickened.
Add cheese, pureed cauliflower, reserved flowerets, and nutmeg. Cook and stir until cheese melts and mixture is hot (do not boil). Garnish as desired.
Sweet Potato Soup (also can be made year round)
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 leeks, washed and sliced thin
2 cloves garlic
3 carrots peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
3 tab oil
2 lbs sweet potatoes peeled and sliced thin
1 white potato, peeled and sliced thin
5 cups chicken broth
¾ cup dry white wine
1½ cups water
Salt pepper to taste
Pecans for garnish if desired
In a deep soup pot, sauté the chopped onions, leek, garlic, carrots, and baby leaf in the oil for about 7 minutes until soft. Add all the potatoes and mix well with the other vegetables.
Sauté for another 2 minutes over low flame mixing all well. Add the broth and the wine and simmer about 20 minutes until everything is soft. Puree the soup and pour it back in the pot. Add enough water to thin it to desired consistency, mix well and add salt and pepper. For garnish you can fry the pecans, salt them, and remove to drain on paper towels. Enjoy.
By Gail Hochman