Fabulous Fall Soups: “All but the Kitchen Sink”
Fall is here, with changing leaf colors and cooler days, and slowly creeping towards winter cold. The winter soup pot is starting its busy season to help us stay warm during the winter. I make soup regularly at our house all year long. However, the soups get more hearty during the colder days.
Actually, nothing tastes better than a bowl of warm, tasty homemade soup, any time of the year. Usually, I make soup once a week and freeze serving-size portions. If one or both of us are home at lunchtime… soup is on.
The recipes I offer can be a good guide for tasty soups, but feel free to add more veggies, beans, or spices to your specific tastes. Some like broth soups while others prefer thick soups. I have experimented with all kinds of veggies, and I know you’ll have a hard time messing these up. Have at it!
I make many different soup varieties – mostly experimenting with beans and adding different veggies. Also, I do have a favorite chicken brown rice soup which I will share with you below. Another one is lentil soup which I make often as it is rich in magnesium and other minerals and vitamins. And the good thing about lentils is, they cook up very fast.
My Special Soup Stock
Many of us cut up veggies for a variety of veggie dishes, stews and other recipes. And we also are guilty of throwing away the ends and peelings. I save all these extras, including onion skins (which are very healthy) and carrot ends, onion ends, cabbage cores etc.
I put these ends and peelings in plastic bags and freeze. When I have about two bags full I make my special soup stock. Many times we throw out the most vitamin and mineral rich parts of the vegetables and have a healthy garbage disposal.
Instructions for Stock
To get your healthy stock, start with a pot of boiling water, adding seasonings – except for salt. Turn the pot down to simmer after adding veggies and spices.
I like to use my favorite healthy herbs and spices – curry powder, turmeric, coriander, fennel, cinnamon, garlic powder and ginger. I also squeeze two lemons in the water. How much you add of each of these spices is up to your taste.
Cook the veggies until very tender, or about two hours. Remove the veggies, place them in a plastic bag and throw out.
You now have a tasty and healthy stock ready for soup. You may want to save a portion of the stock to freeze, adding extra water to substitute the missing stock.
Making the Soup
Once a month, I cook different beans and store them in the freezer in the amounts I will use for soups. If you decide to make soup and only have about an hour, having these cooked beans will solve the problem of time. You can use canned beans and drain them, but I do prefer the fresh ones, and they are so inexpensive.
I clean out the fridge of all left over veggies including carrots, cabbage, celery, green onions and any other veggies I can find.
Bring your stock to a boil. Add the precooked beans along with the veggies. Cook the soup until the veggies are tender but not over cooked. I generally add about a cup or two of each different vegetable depending on how much I have and how thick I want the soup to be.
Add salt and pepper to your taste when the soup is cooked. Get creative with herbs and spices. You can create a curry flavor, Italian flavor or even Mexican flavor by diversifying with different herbs and spices. Voila, you will have the healthiest soup on the planet.
My Favorite Chicken Rice Soup
I use chicken thighs for this particular soup for two reasons. One is that chicken dark meat does not dry out with lengthy cooking. And secondly, when cooking the chicken bones for a few hours you get your own healthy bone broth.
I love to create dishes that are easy to fix and don’t take a lot of time preparing.
4 chicken thighs
2 cups of uncooked brown rice
1 cup of chopped celery
2 cups of chopped sweet onions
1 cup of chopped fresh parsley
1 cup of finely chopped cabbage
1/2 cup of cider vinegar
1 gallon of water (or you can substitute any amount of water with chicken broth)
1 large soup pot
(you may notice I left carrots out of the recipe as they do not freeze well)
4 tablespoons each of oregano, basil, thyme, garlic powder, lemon pepper spice
Boil water and add rice and chicken thighs. Cook for about 45 minutes.
Add all veggies and spices, and cook for another 45 minutes.
Remove the chicken and cut into small pieces. Then add it back, along with the bones, into the soup. Cook until the veggies are tender.
Add salt and pepper to your taste.
Remove the bones.
Serve the soup or put into containers for freezing and future meals.
In my opinion, it is hard to make a bad pot of soup. These soups are very filling and great for when you want to take off a few pounds.
Do you have a favorite soup you enjoy making? What preparation techniques would you suggest? Which veggies do you never put in soup? Please share your favorite recipe or soup ingredient below!