Tag Archives: soup

A Letter to Taylor: No Fail Soup Recipes

My dearest, darling Taylor,

You are so very good at so many things. I know this because we went to college together and were in the same sorority (yes, y’all, Kappa Deltas are ballin’). You write a touching, yet hilarious, blog about motherhood and witty articles in actual publications. And, oh yeah, you’re mom to an adorable little nugget.
Taylor and Wee Connor

Come on. Is there anything cuter?

Look at his delight at the pho. This boy loves soup!

Look at his delight at the pho. This boy loves soup!

Wee Connor loves vegetables and hates bananas. I love Wee Connor.

Wee Connor loves vegetables and hates bananas. I love Wee Connor.

But apparently, dear Taylor, you are not the best at making soup.
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I haven’t tasted your soup. I fear you may be hard on yourself. Cause surely if you can make a human, you can make a soup, right? To be fair, I don’t exactly know how you make humans. It’s in a stock pot, right?
Winter is coming and without soup, you may die in Chicago. So, I’ve got three recipes for easy soup handpicked for you. I could say they’re foolproof, but you ain’t no fool. Friendproof? Eh, I’m still working on that one.
AOT,
Bethany
PS. If anyone else is eavesdropping with their eyeballs, aka eyvesdropping, these recipes will probably not work for you. These will literally only work for Taylor.
This is my Gramma’s recipe for her vegetable beef soup. No Grammas were harmed in the making of this soup. The most time consuming thing is the vegetable choppery. This is soup from an Indiana woman, so you know it’s going to keep you guys warm in the wintertimes. Plus, bonus: it’s delicious.
Say what you will about Rachael Ray (I hate when she calls it EVOO. There I said it.) But some of her recipes are really great. This is one of my favorites. It’s a simple, quick, stick-to-your ribs kind of soup. Plus, it’s easy to double and freezes well for up to 2 weeks.
Don’t be daunted by stock makery. I made the stock, but I had time to make some stock. I think there are places where you can easily take shortcuts. Buy a rotisserie chicken and use that. Buy boxed/canned stock instead of making your own. Would it be better to make your own at home? Eh, maybe. But ain’t nobody got time for that.
For the soup:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts chicken stock, recipe follows
  • 8 ounces dried wide egg noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

For the Chicken Stock:
  • 1 whole free-range chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), rinsed, giblets discarded
  • 2 carrots, cut in large chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
  • 2 large white onions, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, halved
  • 1 turnip, halved
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.

Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.

Yield: 2 quarts

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ZOMG, FINALLY, a soup for ME!

ZOMG, finally, there’s a soup out there for young people on the go: Campbell’s Go! http://www.campbellsgo.com

You know it’s hip because it’s talking to you from a tumblr-esque page. Yeah. Tumblr is HIP.  

It’s got kittens on it. Yeah. Kittens are HIP. 

Check out its watered down personality! 

Moroccan Style Chicken with Chickpeas Animated Soup Gif. YEAH. Gifs are HIP.  

Do: Light an inspirational fire within a person. 

Don’t: Light an inspirational person on fire. 

Campbell’s Go. You are IRREVERENT!

Or the CRPAOTD (Creamy Red Pepper’s Abbreviation Of The Day), which is below.  

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OH, SOUP. YOU GET ME. 

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Creamy Butternut Squash Soup; Do YOU need all 10 fingers?

Let’s have some real talk, folks.

Do we really NEED 10 fingers? Doesn’t 10 seem like a lot? Are we being a little bit greedy?

You definitely need the thumbs. And the middle fingers for driving and flicking off the phone after you’ve gotten off an annoying call. Pinky? Decorative, but ultimately unnecessary. As I’m still single, I’m opting to keep left hand ring finger in case I do meet THE ONE. (You’ve heard of THE ONE, right? He’s from the movies. Goofy, funny, secretly hot. Probably already my best friend but I didn’t notice him because he wears glasses and I’m head over heels for that guy who doesn’t call and rides a motorcycle and runs a bar and hates commitment and stuff.)

Anyways. No pinkies. No right hand ring finger. And you could probably lose at least one pointer.

The reason I bring this up is because I made creamy butternut squash soup last week (yeah, it’s a FAKE blog, guys…I might be late on posts sometimes). It’s a recipe adaptation from Food 52 that I found on YumSugar. And it was EASY. And it was GOOD.

Except for the whole cutting-the-butternut-squash-oh-holy-crap-I’m-pretty-sure-I’m-going-to-cut-all-of-my-fingers-off thing.

But other than that, REAL easy. Great flavor. Comforting. Comes together fast. That is, if you managed to keep your wits about you and keep your fingers connected to your palms.

There is one thing I had to go out and invest in before I did this recipe, though. And that is a Y peeler. I went to William Sonoma at the mall, expecting to shell out tons of bucks. And I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it only cost me 4 American Dollars. That made the whole squash peeling situation so much easier.

I made this soup for myself and my friend Em. Our only complaint was that it made us really tired. We both had the soup and then promptly went into a food coma. Like, lethargically flipping through a magazine and barely speaking to one another food coma. Does butternut squash have some sort of naturally occurring roofie in it?

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup, from Food 52 as found on YumSugar

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large leek, thinly sliced and cleaned (about 1 cup)
  • 1 3- to 4-pound butternut squash, peeled and roughly cubed
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg | I bought some of the actual nutmeg….nuts? Alton Brown said they last for years vs. the store bought, pre-grated stuff which loses its flavor within weeks. He wears glasses. I trust him.
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry, plus more to finish
  • 2 to 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock | I used 3 cups of chicken stock.
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more for garnish
  • Sherry vinegar, to finish

To clean the leeks, trim off dark green part and spiky, white Guy Fieri-hair at the bottom. You want to use the white and light green parts only here. Leeks live in the dirt, so they’re really, really gritty. I typically split them down the middle like a hot dog/longitudinally (that was for you, Ben), and then cut them into thin half moons. Then, let them soak in a bowl of water for 10 minutes or so, changing the water out a couple times and moving the leeks around to get all the dirt and grit out. The dirt should settle on the bottom of the bowl, so when you’re done, transfer your leeks to a paper towel to dry. Boom. Clean leeks.

To peel and cube the butternut squash, here is a lovely step by step demo that I borrowed from YumSugar.

First, remove the ends. WATCH YOUR FINGERS.

Then, cut down the middle/longitudinally/like a hot dog.

Scoop out the butternut squash guts. Make sure you get all the little strings out because the blender won’t catch that and you’ll have little annoying guts in your soup at the end.

Lay flat and peel with your Y-peeler, available for 4 American Dollars.

Cut the butternut squash into fingers.

Then cube!

Melt the butter in a medium stockpot or dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and sweat, stirring occasionally, until softened but not yet browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the butternut squash, nutmeg, pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes.

Add the sherry to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until reduced slightly (something that I didn’t really notice happening), then add enough stock to just cover the vegetables. If 3 cups isn’t sufficient, make up the difference with water. I think I put an extra cup of water in.

Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to keep it at a bare simmer, a phrase I’d never heard of before. So in my mind, I determined that a “bare simmer” was barely a simmer. Context clues! And it worked out alright. (Again. Fake food blog. Are you seriously expecting more expertise than this?)

Simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender.

Add the milk and 2 tablespoons cream and blend until smooth, either using an immersion blender or by carefully transferring to a blender in batches. Be careful with that blender, y’all. Hot things in a blender means hot things in your eyeballs.

Thanks to Sarah and her dad for that phrase!

Season to taste with salt, pepper, sherry, and sherry vinegar. Literally, I just did a little glug of the sherry and the sherry vinegar. Maybe about 1-2 tablespoons each.

Ladle into bowls and drizzle with cream.

If you managed to make it to the end of this recipe with all of your limbs, bravo! You are now free to enjoy very creamy soup that is actually pretty healthy in addition to delicious.

If you did not manage to make it to the end of this recipe with all of your limbs, that’s ok too! Duct tape a spoon to your bleeding used-to-be-a-hand. This soup is too good to be missed. Someone will drive you to the hospital later.

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Gramma Soup

Yeah… That’s kind of a misleading title for this post. 
 
Makes the soup sound like it’s made out of Grammas. 
 
Yes. I know that it’s not ACTUALLY spelled Gramma. To be honest, I don’t remember when I started calling my grandma ‘Gramma.’ But I just liked it better. Everyone else calls their grandmothers Mee Maw or Gammy. A woman named Myrtle shouldn’t be called Gammy. It’s ridiculous. Let’s just call her Gramma and be done with it. 
 
My Gramma makes the most delicious, simple vegetable beef soup. When I was in college she would actually make it, freeze it, and send it to me from northern Indiana to North Carolina. It was the perfect comfort food before play rehearsal or cramming for a test or if that cute guy didn’t call when he said he would.*
 
*I’m joking, of course. He ALWAYS called when he said he would. That’s why I’m almost 30 and have a fake food blog and not a real boyfriend. (Please tip your waitresses!)
 
So, for my first real food post on My Fake Food Blog, I thought I’d go for a classic: Gramma’s Vegetable Beef Soup. 
 
The best thing about this soup is that you can totally tailor it to your tastes. Want to make a half batch? Easy. Hate carrots? Cool. Want to add some seasonal parsnips? Alright, calm down.
 
Here’s what you need: 
 
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Ingredients: 
1 to 2 lbs stew beef (1 lb if you want to go heavy on the vegetables/light on the beef, 2 lbs if you want more beef in there)
2 cups celery, chopped
2 cups onions, chopped
2 cups green pepper, chopped
2 cups potato, chopped
2 cups turnip, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped 
2 32 oz. containers of beef stock 
2 32 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
2 15 oz. cans of tomato sauce
1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
2 cups of frozen peas
2 cups of frozen sweet corn 
2 cups of frozen green beans 
Salt & Pepper 
 
You also need: a cutting board, a knife, a giant pot and some sort of wooden spoon. 
 
1. Cut your stew beef into small, bite size chunks. 
 
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When it’s chunked (gross), put it in your pot and add water to cover. Season with salt and pepper and turn to medium heat. In 15-20, minutes, meat should be just cooked through and you’ll have a nice meaty flavor base for your soup. 
 
2. While your meats a-heating, peel and chop your vegetables. 
 
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3. Add your liquids (crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste) and vegetables to the pot. Season with more salt and pepper. Taste. And then, what the hell, do some more salt and pepper because if you’re like me, you did not put enough in. 
 
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4. Bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer, uncovered, until your vegetables are tender but still toothsome. 
 
Again, if you are like me, you will forget to reduce your soup to a simmer, so you will have accidentally left your pot on a full rolling boil for a solid 25 minutes. Which was kind of awesome because all the vegetables were perfectly done. 
 
5. Add frozen vegetables. Stir and heat through, 5-7 minutes. 
 
6. Taste one last time for salt and pepper. Is it seasoned enough? IS IT? 
 
Serve with crusty French bread or a lovely salad.
 
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Makes: A TON. Seriously. If I did the math right, you can get 16 very healthy servings out of this soup. Like most soups, this is going to be so much better the next day, after the flavors meld together. And it freezes splendidly.
 
A couple notes. 
 
-My Gramma always puts cabbage in her vegetable beef soup. I didn’t have any on hand and didn’t feel like buying it. But if you’re a fan, go for it. Green cabbage or savoy, not red. 
 
-If you have cans of vegetables at home and want to throw those in, you can. Just make sure you follow this basic principle: hard vegetables that will take a long time to cook go in first and longest. Frozen and/or canned vegetables that just need to be heated through go in at the end. 
 
-Gramma also always puts turnips in the soup, but I’d never done it before. So, I bought my very first turnip and put it in the soup, y’all. I bought an EM-EFFING TURNIP. It was a lot less intimidating than I thought. I wanted to impress you guys. Are you impressed? Probably not. Haha.  
 
So that’s Gramma Soup. 100% human free. Made BY Grandmothers, Not OF Grandmothers. 
 
PS. This is Myrtle on her 90th birthday. You know how you’re still a badass at 90? By eating soup. 
 
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