It’s soup season. There’s a chill in the air and soon the sniffles will follow. There is nothing better to offer comfort and sustenance on a wintry night than a big pot of soup. Science has not yet unraveled the mystery of why soup is so thoroughly satisfying, but there is nothing that fills a cold and hungry brood quite like a steaming pot of soup. I like to think that the comforting effect of soup comes from some inherited memory from ancestors who gathered around the fire on ancient winter nights. Soup is a simple, unpretentious food that makes the most of what we have. It nourishes, filling more than our bellies. Soup fills some basic human need for the warmth and protection of hearth and home.
Fast-forward to winter 2019 and, let’s face it, soup is also a healthy and economical meal to bring a family around the table for dinner on a chilly night, especially when served with a side of cornbread. Here are a few hearty soups that will comfort your family, body and soul – and, it’s a great way to sneak in some extra servings of veggies.
Hearty Steak & Vegetable Soup
1 pound beef top sirloin steak, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) beef broth
1 (14-1/2 ounce) can of diced tomatoes or small can of tomato sauce
2 cups peeled potatoes, cubed
1-1/4 cups water
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup frozen or canned whole kernel corn
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
2 – 3 tablespoons flour
• Coat steak with flour and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon pepper. In a large stockpot, brown steak in batches in oil over medium heat. Add the broth, potatoes, water, carrots, onion, basil, tarragon and remaining pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender and soup has thickened.
Chicken & Bean Enchilada Soup
4 cans (15-1/2 ounces each) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups of cubed, cooked chicken breast (I use rotisserie chicken for convenience sake.)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
• In a large stockpot, combine chicken broth, condensed soup, garlic, onion, ½ of the chopped jalapeno and corn. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring often, until vegetables are soft. Add beans, chicken and seasonings and continue to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
• Garnish with remaining chopped jalapeno, green onions, sour cream, cheese and tortilla chips. If desired, add cilantro leaves.
Cheesy Broccoli, Ham & Potato Soup
2-1/4 cups cubed potatoes
1-1/2 cups water
1-1/2 cups cubed fully cooked lean ham
1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 – 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups fat-free milk
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) finely shredded
reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1 cup frozen broccoli florets, thawed and finely chopped
• In a saucepan, bring potatoes and water to a boil. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. In a blender or food processor, process reserved liquid and 1/4 cup cooked potatoes until smooth; set aside. Set remaining potatoes aside.
• In a large saucepan or stockpot, saute ham and onion in oil until onion is tender. In a bowl, combine flour, pepper, milk and processed potato mixture and whisk until smooth. Stir into ham and onion. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
• Reduce heat to low. Add the cheese, broccoli and reserved potatoes; cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted and heated through. Serve immediately. Garnish with bacon bits and cheese.