Three Soups for a Chilly Weekend

IMG_3123It’s finally cooled off here in LA, with chilly evenings dipping into the 40s. I know to those of you in Chicago, Canada, New England, you scoff at these temperatures. But trust me, to our lizard-like, sun-on-a-rock constitutions, it’s puffer coat weather.

Which as a native East Coaster, I love. I like cozy, I like pulling into the dark time, lighting candles, wearing my hairy house sweater, and making super easy, super delicious comfort foods. Which lately have been soups.

As we head into another cool pre-winter weekend, here are three super easy, ready in a jiffy, crazy delicious soups:

  • Lentil Soup with Andouille and Croutons
  • Cumin Scented Carrot Soup
  • Ovgolemono

All are ready in about an hour, using ingredients you likely have on hand. If not, all can be assembled from a quick run to Trader Joe’s (or your local market).

As to broth: I use chicken broth as specified in the recipes, but I’ve also made each using a vegetable broth. The lentil and carrot soups are great either way. The Ovgolemono needs some doctoring to bring up the flavor profile – herbs, extra lemon, garlic. I leave the prescription to you if you’d like to make it vegetarian.

10959623_10153756242427375_6940046747736783804_nLentil Soup with Andouille and Croutons

Adapted from Florence Fabricant in The New York Times

Ingredients

5 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided into 3 Tbs and 2 Tbs

1 c finely diced onion

⅔ c finely diced carrot (I use bagged julienned carrots and do a quick chop)

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3/4 tsp dried thyme

Freshly ground black pepper

2½ c small green lentils (I buy French lentils at a specialty store; they’re also available at Whole Foods. Trader Joes has green lentils. They all work just fine.)

10 c chicken broth – divided: 8 c for soup, 2 c if resulting soup is too thick

2 slices whole wheat bread, diced (I use a gluten free whole grain I always have on hand)

4-5 Andouille sausages (about 5″ long) (I use the Trader Joe’s chicken Andouille, cut into ¼ inch slices)

Salt to taste

½ cup dry sherry (optional)

Preparation

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven. Add onion, carrot and garlic, and cook over low heat until soft. Stir in thyme and a generous grinding of pepper. Add lentils and 8 cups broth. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender, about 45 minutes.

While lentils cook, heat remaining oil in a skillet. Add bread and sauté over medium heat until lightly browned and crispy. Remove to a bowl. Add kielbasa to pan and sauté until lightly browned. Place in bowl with croutons. Set aside.

When ready, purée lentils in a food processor in several batches, but do not allow to become perfectly smooth. Return to pot and reheat. If soup is too thick, add 1 cup or more of reserved broth. Season to taste with salt and stir in sherry if using. Serve, topping each portion with kielbasa and crouton mixture.

This is so delicious. Even if you don’t care for lentil soup, I’m betting you’ll like this.

FullSizeRender (2)Carrot Soup

My mom made carrot soup often. I’ve made so many variations over the years (Jane Brody’s is a particular fave) that this recipe is likely the result of many cooks.

Ingredients

2 Tbs butter

1 c chopped white onion

1 pound carrots, cut into smallish pieces (I use bagged baby carrots, cutting each in half)

1 medium apple, peeled, cored, cut into ½ inch chunks

2 ½ c chicken broth

¾ tsp ground cumin

1 Tbs white or brown sugar

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Pinch of ground allspice

Preparation

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté until soft. Add carrots and apples. Stir together for 1 minute.

Add broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.

Drain soup in colander over a bowl to catch liquids. Return liquids to saucepan. Puree the solids in batches in food processor until smooth. Return to saucepan. Bring to a mild simmer over medium heat. Stir in the sugar, lemon juice, and spices. Season with salt and pepper. If the soup seems thin, let it simmer for up to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to cook off some of the liquid.

You can serve with a dollop of room temperature crème fraiche and snipped parsley. I enjoy it plain with a cheesy/harissa toast on the side.

332978_10150363587677375_1017777789_oOvgolemono a la Leslie Lewis

I lived for two super fun years just outside Stamford, CT, with a roommate whose love of food exceeds my own. We tinkered with starting a catering business using the slogan,  “Food that stimulates your glands.” As you can imagine, we didn’t get far out in the world, but we ate like kings in our apartment. This recipe is her recipe. It’s the ultimate chicken soup in my opinion. Comforting and easy. I have it at least once a week all year round. (This recipe can be easily halved.)

Ingredients

8 c chicken broth

½ c Orzo pasta

¼ c fresh lemon juice

1 large egg, room temperature

Snipped chives

Preparation

In a medium saucepan, combine broth and orzo. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes.

Combine egg and lemon juice in a medium bowl.

When the broth is ready, ladle about a cup of hot soup into the lemon-egg mixture, whisking vigorously. Return the warmed egg mixture to the saucepan and stir gently over medium heat. You want to thicken the soup without bringing it to a boil. (A boil will curdle the eggs.)

Taste for salt, adding as needed. Serve with snipped chives. I like this with a frisee salad dressed in a mustardy vinaigrette (lunch), or with a couple of open-face grilled gruyere baguette toasts (dinner).

Enjoy!

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