Tuesday, October 03, 2006

good days for soup

as the colder weather sets in, soup is always welcomed and seems appropriate. i have never been a great fan of soup however there are a few that i do like & appreciate. one of the soups i remember fondly actually came out of a can and was a standard when we came home from school for lunch. i used to love those cream of tomato soup days, especially when it came with a grilled cheese sandwich. so very north american but so very good. i imagine many other people remember this at-home school lunch too. i am sure many mothers appreciated these quick fixes especially when the clock was ticking. it was always best diluted with whole milk and doctored with creamy butter melted into it.

image: print - andy warhol, 1962

while some soups are very involved and time consuming, the following are quite fast. here are 2 that i like:

quick black bean soup
adapted from anne lindsay's new light cooking.

i love this soup. it is one of the quickest recipes and the results are always extremely good. recipe is from our newspaper. note that the chilli powder here is not the hot indian kind but the mild one sold in grocery stores. but if you like things hot, then by all means .....

2 tsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 tsp mild chilli powder, or to taste
pinch hot red pepper flakes
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
2 c. chicken [or vegetable] stock
1 19 oz can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 1/2 c corn, canned, frozen or fresh
3 tbsp packed, coarsely chopped coriander


in a large pot, heat oil over med. heat and cook onions chilli powder and red pepper flakes for 5 to 8 minutes.

add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil and lower heat to med-low and cook, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes.

you can puree 2 cups and return it to soup if you want a thicker soup.

stir in the coriander & serve.

serves approx. 6

chicken-rice "white" soup
patricia solley — from an exaltation of soups.

more of a comfort-type soup for those days when you need it. a splash of japanese soy sauce may be added to finish it.

2 c chicken stock
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp finely grated ginger
3 tbsp SWEET rice [sticky kind], well washed and dried
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil [i add more]
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 green onion, minced


combine stock, garlic & ginger in a sauce pan. bring to a boil and add the rice. reduce the heat to low & cover the pan.

simmer 30 minutes until the rice is very tender.

thin with water as needed to get the consistency that you like.

season with the oil, hot pepper sauce and green onion.

2 to 3 servings.

patricia solley also has an interesting website, filled with history, lore, customs, jokes & recipes strictly about soup. you can read all about it at www.soupsong.com.

* * * * *

here is an extra recipe i forgot to include for a really easy & lowerfat version of cream of mushroom soup that tastes exceptional [considering there is no cream involved].

cook's tip: use an egg slicer to cut the mushrooms. it is much faster than slicing each one and each slice is approx. the same thickness.

easy cream of mushroom soup

2 - 3 small containers of white button or café mushrooms, sliced
1/2 small onion, diced
3 -4 vegetable bouillon cubes [or equivalent in powder ~ 2 1/2 T]
2 c water
2 tbsp butter or oil

1/4 c butter or margarine
3 tbsp flour
1 -2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

3 c whole milk


in a pan, heat 1 tbsp oil or butter & fry the onions over med-low heat until coloured [lightly browned] and remove to a plate to cool. the onions should not crisp as they fry .... they will be pureed therefore turn down the heat if they fry too quickly.

while onions are frying, slice the mushrooms. add these to a large soup pot with 1 tbsp oil or butter and saute until they soften, approx. 5 min on medium heat. add the water and the bouillon cubes or powder and stir to dissolve. break up the cubes first to speed things up. cover the pot and simmer 20 to 25 minutes over low heat.

once this is done, set it aside and take another pot. and melt the 1/4 c of butter or margarine on low heat. add the flour and make a roux. keeping the heat low, stir it constantly so it does not burn. it should be bubbling. cook about 3 to 4 minutes and then add the milk and whisk quickly so that lumps do not form [or any that have formed will be dissoved]. turn up the heat med-high and keep whisking until it is thickened, approx. 5 to 10 minutes.

add this milk mixture with the salt and pepper to the mushroom mixture and stir well to blend.

in a blender, add the onions you fried and about 1/2 of the mushroom mixture or a little less and carefully purée this. be careful as it is hot. return this to the soup pot and stir. add more butter, salt & pepper if desired. i also add a tsp of sugar.


Emily DeVoto, Ph.D., said...

Geez, how is it possible that no one has ever left a comment on this post? I just made your mushroom soup for the second time... yum... Never noticed the black bean soup before; must try that! with some sliced avo's, bits of tortilla chips, and shredded jack cheese... Mix up taco ingredients any which way, and I'll eat it!

burekaboy — said...

hi emily - i guess you'll just have to be the one and only, then!! :)) this was one of my first posts - 2006, wow, long time ago.

happy to read you like the mushroom soup. i actually did a reposting on it so check the sidebar - same recipe only it has pictures to go with it. it's my fave soup.

you MUST make the black bean soup. so easy, so good!! for real. try it and lemme know :)) just remember it's the generic store bought kind of chili powder, not the wicked hot indian kind.

thanks for the feedback. now, i want mushroom soup!