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Sep 28, 2008 09:32 AM

Hearty soups for the cooler weather

As it starts to get colder out I’m putting a soup in my cooking routine. I love to make, and eat, almost types of soups, but what I’m looking for here are the heartier kinds of soups that can be stand alone meals with only a small accompaniment (like bread), if they need anything. I can do all of these:

Matzah ball
Clam chowder

For stand alone soups I tend to enjoy a clear or lighter broth such as the soups above. Even NE clam chowder I prefer a thinner, lighter broth. The list above is what I familiar with but I’m sure I’m forgetting, or I’m not in the know, of great hearty type soups. I’d love to hear peoples top five or so. Thanks.

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  1. My favorite hearty soups:

    Minestrone (from chow:
    4-bean vegetarian chili
    Russian-style cabbage soup

    All of these work as meals (the minestrone goes great with a grilled cheese), or a filling first course.

    4 Replies
    1. re: corileigh

      Yep, see I can't hit them all! Minestrone. Good call, I love it. What is the Russian-style cabbage soup? I love cabbage, especially in soup. I'll google to check it out. If you can post a your recipe that would be great. Thanks!

      1. re: Rocky Road

        I'd definitely add pumpkin soup. The Russian style cabbage soup I favor is a homemade beef broth into which shaved cabbage is put just before serving, long enough to wilt it, and then it was topped with sourcream optionally flavored with ground caraway seeds. Corileigh, was yours similar? A great favorite is pasta in brodo, especially a stuffed pasta--a few tortellini or agnelotti or ravioli in broth are wonderful. And the fillings can be so varied. And most any kind of egg drop soup--Chinese or Italian--is a winner. And when eating out Chinese, don't miss a good sizzling rice soup. And, what? No French onion made properly? That one is hard to beat. But the secret in so many of these is the broth you start with.

        1. re: Father Kitchen

          Your Russian-style soup sounds a little similar to a filipino-style beef soup that I'm used to, except the sour cream. I didn't put it on my list because I don't even know the name- but I agree a good beef stock soup of probably any origin is going to be good. Also, agree it all depends on the broth. I make my own, sometime it comes out awesome, sometimes I miss, but it always seems to be better than any can or box I remember. Not to say I don't use those for other things from time to time, but when I make soup I try to make the broth as best I can.

        2. re: Rocky Road

          I usually start with pre-cut stew beef and a couple quarts of salted water. Skim the foam, and let it cook while you chop the vegetables. I saute carrots and onions in butter for extra flavor (this is what my Russian host-mom taught me). Once the meat has been simmering, throw in 4 or 5 potatoes, 1/2-inch dice or so, and the cabbage (a whole head, cored and sliced about 1/4-inch thick). Season with bouquet garni, or just some whole peppercorns, and fresh parsley and dill. The final touch is a small can of tomato paste. Garnish with fresh dill and sour cream. Surprisingly flavorful, especially the next day.

      2. Green bean, ham, and potato

        If you add tortellini to the minestrone instead of just small pasta, and small mealballs, it really makes it a one-dish meal.

        2 Replies
        1. re: nemo

          Agreed on the tortellini.

          Now, I have pretty bad memories of a ham & bean soup from my childhood. However, I do love ham & potatoes and I do like beans. What is the broth like in yours? Care to post your recipe?

          1. re: Rocky Road

            No recipe really. Sautee chopped onions. I use yellow potatoes, maybe about 4 cups cubed, and 1 cup or so of spoon size ham pieces. Cover with water and cook until the potatoes are almost done, then add green beans. Salt and pepper, and I put in saffron. I love the taste and it makes it very golden. In the dead of winter I have no problem with frozen haricot vert, snapped in half. If you want it thicker, scoop out some of the potatoes, puree them in a mini processor or a food mill or even just through a sieve. Do NOT freeze. Learned the hard way that potatoes frozen in soup or stew come out like soggy cotton balls!

            The broth is very mild. If I have ham broth, I use it, but I find that water is fine.

            Sorry you're steering clear of bean soups. They're so cheap and versatile. Do you like black beans or chick peas? Maybe someone has a black bean and corn soup recipe with Mexican seasonings, or just cook some cauliflower in chicken broth, add some chic peas and spinach, season with curry and extra cumin.

            Thanks for starting this thread. I love soup and it's definitely time to find a new recipe to try.

        2. Someone very nice posted an Asian Sweet Potato soup on this board in '06 or '07 ... wish I could find the exact recipe...all I have are notes...I made it and LOVED has jalapenos, fish sauce, ginger, etc. Have been trying to find it...will try again...I really don't like the search function on this site.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Val

            I was intrigued by that soup so I Googled it. Most look like a bisque or something. Except for this one. It may be different from the one you saw, but this one sounds great. I'd never heard of it. Thanks.


          2. We just kicked off the soup season with African peanut soup-- at least the version that I've come up with. It looks to be a staple in several African countries, and I'm sure I can't come close to what they do, so I wing it.

            It looked something like this-- saute a small diced yellow onion and a couple cloves of garlic. Add a few cups of fresh tomato sauce (no seasoning other than salt). Cook the mix down till it's nearly a paste. Add a tablespoon or two of tomato paste. Add a generous teaspoon of harissa. Cook a smidge more, add a generous cup of natural peanut butter. When it's mixed in, add a quart of chicken broth. While that simmers, brown some small chunks of chicken thigh (flour, salt, pepper). Add those to the soup. Taste for seasoning, adding more harissa and sriracha for heat and acid. Maybe more tomato paste. When you've got it where you want it, add some fresh spinach to wilt in the soup, and plate immediately. Serve over brown rice. Roasted sweet potato would also be good.

            It's really quite good, and very filling. I think the spinach is fantastic in it. Chard would be good too.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Vetter

              Wow, another new one for me. What a list of great ingredients. However, I'm having a little problem with the peanut butter addition. I can't envision the fit. Is it a strong peanut butter taste or does the tomato sauce dominate? Which is the stronger taste. I'm almost certain the soup is good, and exactly what I'm looking for in broth types and ingredients, I'm just so unfamiliar with this one. Will put in on the list to try.

              1. re: Rocky Road

                The peanut flavor does define the dish. I think the acidity of the tomatoes and heat keep it from being cloying. If you like thai peanut sauce on spinach, you'll like this. If you don't, it would be an acquired taste. But it's really very good and a cinch to put together.

                The next time I make it, I'm going to try grating in just a smidge of fresh ginger.

                1. re: Vetter

                  I didn't see this response until now. You know actually I really don't like the Thai peanut sauce. Maybe, I'm just not with it. I'm really sort of one dimensional with peanut/peanut butter. I love peanuts at the ballpark, and I like an occasional PB&J. You soup does have some great other flavors though. It'll be down on my list, but I will try it. Thanks for coming back to answer the question.

            2. French Onion Soup
              Hazan's Tomato/Chickpea/Rosemary soup with rice or pasta - one of my all time favorites.

              2 Replies
              1. re: MMRuth

                Yep, French Onion is on the list. Hazan's looks good, especially I think with rice added. Thanks!

                1. re: MMRuth

                  MMRuth, have you tried Hazan's minestra tricolore in Essentials of Italian Cooking? I've been toying with making it for the past week,and was wondering if anyone else had tried it and enjoyed it.