Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Soups with Soul

When the weather is cold and the days are short, there are few meals that can be as satisfying and comforting to both body and spirit as a full flavored bowl of hot home made soup for lunch or dinner. For the family's cook, making soup is a wonderful way to create full healthy meals with a minimum of fuss since everything ends up going in just one big pot. Best of all, the aromas wafting through the house from a simmering soup kettle full of good things makes meals that the whole family will look forward to sharing together.

Tasty soups come to us from the heritage of every ethnic group, and soups can be simple or complex, incorporating a wide range of ingredients. Many are surprisingly easy to assemble and don't take long to cook up. Here are a few of my favorites, developed to whet your appetite for good tasting new recipes that get high marks for flavor, ease of preparation and healthy eating. These recipes are from my brand new Renee’s Garden Cookbook (hot off the press and available on our website!).

Italian Escarole Soup with Tiny Meatballs
is our version of an age old favorite in Holland and Germany where the long winters of dreary weather beg for lots of richly flavored warm dishes. You'll find this soup a delicious way to enjoy these savory winter greens along with vegetables, rice and delicious little meatballs for a complete meal in itself. We've lightened the soup a bit by using turkey sausage and low fat milk, but it makes up into a memorable dish with complex flavor you'll really look forward to sharing with family and friends.

Pam's Fresh Pea Soup has a delicate subtle flavor combining pureed tender sweet tiny peas, leafy spinach, chicken stock and glazed onions and garlic. Thicken with a little whole grain rice, stir in milk and season with a cool kiss of mint for a perfect marriage of flavors. Serve it as a unique and beautiful first course at dinner or for a satisfying lunch with crusty bread and cheese.

Most of us have tried classic French Onion Soup, but for a quicker, lighter, more piquant option make our Mexican Onion Soup. This special recipe combines the full sweet flavors of roasted mild chiles with slowly caramelized onions, beer, stock and classic Mexican spices and herbs, with a spritz of fresh lime juice. This soup makes a really zesty meal that will wake up the taste buds and stimulate lots of great conversation!
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