Vegetable Soup Recipes: Seasonal Soups and Stews
These easy soups chase away the winter blues with robust seasonings.
At this time of year, as we hunker down for winter, thoughts turn to hearty soups, savory stews and flavorful meats turned fork tender by slow braising with liquids. The seasonings are what make these recipes from every corner of the world so delicious and different.
Though we are blessed in Texas with having most herbs fresh in our garden year round, we tend to use the heavier, more robust flavors during this season. This is simply because they hold up to the long cooking times of most winter dishes. Bay laurel, rosemary, sage and thyme are all old herbal friends that find their way into endless pots of soup. The strong flavors of these Mediterranean natives are varied by using the seasonings in different proportions and in combination with parsley and other herbs.
Hilltop Cream of Chicken Soup with Fines Herbes
Makes 2 quarts
This is an old favorite from the 1950s, updated with fresh herbs. The recipe has been adapted from our book Southern Herb Growing (Shearer Publishing, 1987; revised 1997).
1 chicken, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds, cut into serving pieces
4 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sweet marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage or 3/4 teaspoon dried
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 3/4 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
3 bay leaves, fresh or dried
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric
to 1 cup cooked white rice
Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
Additional chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
In large, heavy pan (not a tall, deep stock pot), place chicken pieces, water, vegetables, sweet marjoram, sage, thyme, parsley and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until chicken is tender, adding more water as needed to keep ingredients covered by about 2 inches. Remove chicken from pan. Cool until it can be handled; remove skin and bones and cut meat into bite-size pieces.
In large saucepan, melt butter and blend in flour. Cook until bubbling; gradually pour in milk, stirring constantly. Add cream, nutmeg and turmeric. Continue cooking over medium heat until thickened and smooth; stir constantly to keep mixture from sticking. Slowly add cream mixture to broth and vegetables, mixing well. Add cooked rice, salt, pepper and cut-up chicken meat. Cook over low heat to simmering, stirring often. Add more milk and/or cream if soup becomes too thick. Garnish with chopped parsley to serve.
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