2015-01-09 / Columns

Cooking on Purpose

Soup recipes that will bowl you over
By Connie Wendell
Special to the Post

January is National Soup Month and I have included several soups for you to try. I’m sure it’s not by accident that they picked January due to the cold temperature and the warming qualities of soup.

It is so comforting, on a cold blustery day in January to enjoy a cup of hot, steamy soup to warm you. Not only is soup comforting but most soups are very healthy and inexpensive to make. The prime goal of Cooking on Purpose.

Leek and lima bean soup with bacon

3 bacon slices;

2 cups chopped leek (about 2 leeks);

4 cups fresh lima beans (or frozen);

4 cups fat-free, lesssodium chicken broth;

1 cup water;

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice;

½ teaspoon salt;

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper;

½ cup thinly sliced scallions;

and ½ cup reduced-fat sour cream.

Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan. Crumble bacon; set aside. Add leek to drippings in pan and cook for 7 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in beans, broth and water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes or until beans are tender.

Place half of the bean mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender.

Place a clean dish towel over opening in blender (to prevent spills) and process until smooth. Pour pureed bean mixture into a large bowl.

Repeat procedure with remaining bean mixture. Stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper. Ladle about 1 cup soup into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon scallions, 1 tablespoon sour cream and about 1 tablespoon bacon.

Serves eight.

Tomato Florentine soup

1 tablespoon olive oil;

1 ¼ cups finely chopped onion;

2/3 cup chopped celery;

2 garlic cloves, minced;

1 cup water;

2 (14 ounce) cans fat-free, less sodium chicken broth;

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained;

1 (8 ounce) can no-salt added tomato sauce;

2/3 cup uncooked small seashell pasta;

2 cups bagged spinach; ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper;

1/8 teaspoon salt; and ¼ cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese.

Heat oil in a small Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook for 7 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute. Add water, broth, tomatoes and tomato sauce.

Bring to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in pasta and cook for 8 minutes. Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes or until spinach wilts and pasta is done. Stir in pepper and salt. Divide soup evenly between 4 bowls; top with cheese.

Serves four.

Chock-full chicken noodle soup

½ teaspoon olive oil;

1 cup chopped onion;

1 teaspoon dried oregano;

1 garlic clove, minced;

6 cups chicken stock divided;

2 cups diced, peeled baking potato;

1 cup chopped celery;

1 cup (1/4-inch thick) sliced carrot;

3 cups chopped, cooked chicken;

2 cups chopped spinach;

1 teaspoon salt;

3 ounces uncooked medium egg noodles (about 1 ½ cups);

2 tablespoon allpurpose flour; and ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Add oregano and garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add 5 ¾ cups chicken stock and potato.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potato is tender. Mash potato in stock mixture.

Add celery and carrot and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chicken, spinach and salt and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Add noodles, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.

Combine ¼ cup stock and flour in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. Stir flour mixture into soup and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in pepper.

Serves five (2-cup servings).

Now you are all set to welcome January’s cold weather. Until next time, keep Cooking on Purpose.

Connie Wendell can be reached at conniewendell27@gmail.com.

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