Enjoy a cup of soup while winter lingers

March 9, 2011 

It's the time of year when the flowers say spring is here, but the weather reminds us winter still has a grip on us. That means it's still a good time to enjoy a bowl of soup.

Soup warms the body and helps cure many ailments. Sometimes I just gather the leftover vegetables out of the refrigerator, and other times I shop for everything fresh. I am one who likes soup warm from the pot -- no microwaving for me.

Most soup recipes make a large quantity, and leftovers freeze well. Soups are under three general classifications: cream soups, which are made with a milk foundation; soups in which meat or vegetable stock is the basis; and fruit soups.

  • Cream soups: A generous serving of a cream soup is sufficient for the main course at lunch or supper. A smaller portion is a suitable first course when the rest of the meal is not too heavy.

  • Meat/vegetable soup: These soups gain nutritional value from the added meat, vegetables and grains blended with the herbs and spices. This kind of soup can be considered the main course of a meal.

  • Fruit soup: These soups are appetizing and refreshing. They can be served hot or cold.

    Gullah Yam and Peanut Soup

    1/4 cup unsalted butter

    1/2 cup chopped celery

    2 quarts poultry stock or low-sodium chicken broth

    1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

    6 cups yams, peeled and sliced

    1 1/4 cups smooth peanut butter

    Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

    Chopped roasted peanuts, for garnish

    In soup pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, celery and yams. Saute until onion and celery are soft, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add stock or broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until yams are very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Working in batches, transfer soup to food processor or blender. Add peanut butter and puree until smooth.

    Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to clean saucepan and heat over low heat; do not boil. Garnish with chopped peanuts and serve.

    Chicken Noodle Soup

    6-8 chicken thighs

    1 cup celery, sliced

    1 large onion, chopped

    1 cup carrots, sliced

    2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules (not cubes)

    1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

    2 quarts water

    1 cup thin dry noodles, precooked, according to package directions

    1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning

    2 tablespoons freshly snipped parsley

    1 teaspoon dried thyme

    Salt to taste

    Wash and drain chicken; place in large pot with onion, celery, carrots, bouillon and pepper. Add enough cold water to cover chicken. Simmer 1 hour or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken from broth; reserve meat and cut or shred. Return meat to broth; add parsley, lemon pepper, thyme, precooked noodles and salt to taste.

    Raspberry and Currant Soup

    1 cup red raspberries

    1 cup red currants

    1 quart cold water

    Juice and rind from half a lemon

    Sugar

    2 tablespoons cornstarch

    Pinch nutmeg

    Cover berries and currants with the water and bring slowly to a boil. Let boil a few minutes to extract juice and then strain. There should be a quart of liquid. Add juice and grated rind of lemon and sweeten with sugar to taste. Add cornstarch, moistened with a little cold water, and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add nutmeg.

    Serve hot or cold.

    Cabbage and Bean Soup

    1 package (16 ounces) dry navy beans

    5 quarts water

    1 smoked ham hock

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    3 ounces thick-sliced bacon, cut into small pieces

    2 large bulbs fennel, chopped (use only the white part of the fennel)

    2 large onions, chopped

    2 large carrots, chopped

    3 cloves garlic, chopped

    1 teaspoon salt

    1 bay leaf

    1 teaspoon ground cumin

    1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

    1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

    2 small white potatoes, diced

    1 head cabbage, shredded

    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

    Rinse and soak beans as directed on package. Bring beans, water and ham hock to boil in large soup pot. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until ham and beans are tender.

    Meanwhile, heat oil on large skillet on medium heat. Add bacon, fennel, onions, carrots, garlic and seasonings; cook and stir until vegetables are tender. Add cooked vegetables mixture, potatoes and cabbage to soup pot; simmer 30 minutes, adding additional water if necessary.

    Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

  • Port Royal resident Ervena Faulkner is a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. E-mail her at features@beaufortgazette.com.

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