Soups offer warmth and comfort for cold winter days

Winter and hot soups just seem to be a natural union. Hearty soups loaded with fresh ingredients and flavourful seasoning give a comforting warmth on cold winter days.

Mexican tortilla chicken soup

This is an intensely flavoured soup; adjust the peppers and seasoning to your personal taste.

  • 2 tbsp. canola oil 30 mL
  • 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt, divided 7 mL
  • 4 c. chicken broth or water 1 L
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes 796 mL
  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2-1 head garlic cloves smashed
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (optional)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin 15 mL
  • 1/4 c. fine yellow cornmeal 60 mL
  • 1 bag corn tortilla chips
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 c. sour cream 125 mL
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • pickled jalapeño pepper
  • cilantro leaves

Heat oil in large pot over medium high heat. Season chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, cook chicken in hot oil until browned all over and crispy, about five minutes. Add chicken broth and mix to dissolve chicken bits.

In a food processor or blender or in a bowl with an immersion blender, puree tomatoes, onions, garlic, chipotle, jalapeño, oregano, chili powder, cumin and the remaining one teaspoon salt. Add to the soup pot and bring the mixture to a slow and steady simmer.

Stir continuously with a whisk while slowly pouring cornmeal into simmering soup, making sure there are no lumps. Simmer until cornmeal softens and thickens soup and southwestern flavours emerge, about 15 minutes.

To serve, lightly crush a handful of tortilla chips into each serving bowl. Ladle in soup and top with avocado, sour cream, a lime wedge, pickled jalapeño pepper and cilantro. Finish with more chips for a crunchy topping. Serves six to eight. Adapted from Michael Smith’s Real Food, Real Good.

From scratch tomato soup with dill pickle grilled cheese sandwiches

I have memories of childhood lunches of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches served with dill pickles. This flavourful, from scratch, tomato soup is paired with cheese sandwiches grilled with dill pickles.

Soup

Serves 6-8

  • 2 tbsp. butter 30 mL
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1-5.5 oz. tomato paste 156 mL
  • 1/2 c. white wine or apple juice 125 mL
  • 2-28 oz. cans diced tomatoes 1592 mL
  • 2 c. tomato juice, chicken broth or water 500 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. Sriracha sauce or other hot sauce 2 mL
  • 1 c. whipping cream or sour cream 250 mL

In large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Stir in onions, carrots, garlic and salt. Sauté until vegetables are softened and onions are translucent, about five minutes.

Add tomato paste and stir constantly until vegetables are coated and paste deepens in colour and flavour.

Add white wine or apple juice, stirring to combine well.

Stir in tomatoes, tomato juice or chicken broth and hot sauce. Bring to a furious boil, reduce heat to slow, steady simmer. Cover and gently bubble for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and purée with immersion blender or purée in batches in a blender or food processor. Reheat soup over low heat until steaming, dish up, then swirl in cream or sour cream and serve with sandwiches.

Sandwiches

  • whole grain bread, sliced
  • softened butter
  • thick slices of aged cheddar cheese
  • dill pickle slices

Preheat sandwich press, griddle or large heavy skillet over medium heat. Spread soft butter on one side of each bread slice. Layer cheese and pickles between non-buttered sides of two bread slices. Lightly toast sandwiches until cheese melts and bread is golden brown and crispy, turn as needed. Toast about five minutes. Cut sandwiches in half and serve with steaming tomato soup. Adapted from Michael Smith’s Real Food, Real Good.

Specialty soup

This delicious curry vegetable soup is a family favourite from Ernie Bayer of Surrey, B.C. It is chunky and flavourful, wonderful on a cold winter day.

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 3 medium potatoes, diced
  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced, remove seeds
  • or 28 oz. diced tomatoes 796 mL
  • 1/4 c. barley 60 mL
  • 6-8 c. vegetable broth 1.5-2 L
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 5 mL
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric 7 mL
  • 1 tbsp. ginger root, minced 15 mL
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper .5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder 2 mL
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 19 oz. can chickpeas 540 mL
  • 1 c. frozen peas 250 mL
  • or 1 c. frozen shelled edamame beans 250 mL
  • 4 strands saffron
  • 1 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • parsley

Pour two cups of vegetable broth into a large saucepan. Add onions and simmer for a few minutes. Mix cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper and curry, add two tablespoons of vegetable broth and mix well.

Add to the onion broth mixture, add remaining broth and bay leaf, heat to boiling, cover and simmer five minutes.

Add carrots, celery, potatoes, tomatoes and barley cover and simmer 20-30 minutes or until carrots, potatoes and barley are tender.

Add chickpeas, peas, or edamame beans, saffron, lemon juice and black pepper, heat thoroughly, remove bay leaf and serve. Garnish with parsley.

Note: Edamame beans are immature green soybeans that are removed from the unedible pod. Adapted from recipe submitted by Ernie Bayer of Surrey, B.C.

Lemon chicken orzo soup

This is an easy chicken soup made with a light and refreshing lemon broth, orzo pasta, and vegetables. Serves eight.

  • 1 tbsp. canola oil 15 mL
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 8 c. chicken broth 2 L
  • zest of two lemons
  • juice of two lemons (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 c. orzo pasta 375 mL
  • 1 c. snow peas, cut in thirds 250 mL
  • 2 c. chicken, cooked and shredded 500 mL
  • 1/4 c. fresh parsley leaves, chopped 60 mL
  • salt and pepper

In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery until tender, about five minutes.

Add chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice and bay leaf, bring to a boil. Add the orzo and cook, stirring occasionally, for six to eight minutes, or until orzo is tender. Add snow peas and chicken, heat for about five minutes.

Remove pot from heat, discard bay leaf and stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into bowls and serve hot.

Note: You could use shredded rotisserie chicken. Adapted from www.twopeasand-theirpod.com

Betty Ann Deobald is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.

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