3 Comforting Soups for a Cold Winter’s Day

There’s something so comforting about soup. Whether it’s a bowl of chicken noodle soup when we have the sniffles, or just a hearty bowl of minestrone on a cold winter day, it’s simply the best! While canned soup will do in a pinch, let’s face it— nothing’s better than a big steaming bowl of homemade goodness. Soups are one of the easiest things to make, especially if you have a slow cooker.  Here are a few of my favorite creations straight from my kitchen:

Minestrone with Meatballs

Prep: 20 min
Yields 4-5 servings

½ pound ground beef, 15%
½ pound ground veal or pork
1 small onion, grated and drained
½ teaspoon minced garlic
¾ teaspoon fresh oregano
½ cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (if it gets too dry, add more)
1 tablespoon salt
½ tablespoon turmeric

1 large leek, thinly sliced
2 carrots, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 cup spinach or kale, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, thinly chopped
½ cup fresh green beans, trimmed
3 small chopped ripe tomatoes
1 (14 oz.) can cannellini beans
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups canned low sodium organic vegetable broth
3 ¼ cups water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
Sea salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese

  1. Meatballs: Mix all ingredients in a large bowl by hand, and roll meatballs to about the size of a golf ball. Heat olive oil in a skillet and brown the meatballs, drain and set aside.
  2. Soup: Saute leeks and garlic in olive oil until translucent.  Add carrots, celery, zucchini, and green beans, sweating the vegetables.  Add the stock, water, tomatoes, herbs, seasoning, and meatballs; bring to a boil, then replace the lid and simmer over low heat for 35 minutes. Rinse the canned beans; add them and the spinach or kale. Simmer for 10-15 minutes more.  Serve hot, sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Lentil Soup with Sweet Sausage and Kale

Prep: 15 min
Yields 6 servings

2 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage, casing removed
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium potato, diced
2 cups kale, finely chopped
1 ¼ cups brown lentil beans
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups canned vegetable or chicken broth
3 cups water
Sea salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste
Grated parmesan or pecorino cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large pot with a cover or a Dutch oven. Add onions and garlic, and cook until translucent.  Add the sausage and brown the meat while breaking it up into pieces. Add the carrots and potatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are soft. Stir in the tomato paste, the herbs, and ¼ cup water; cook for 1 minute. Add stock and remaining water and bring to a boil. Stir in the lentils and kale and cook at a low, bubbly simmer for 30-35 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Top with grated cheese.

Creamy Potato Leek Soup

Prep: 15-20 min.
Yields 4-6 servings

2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, diced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound leeks, both white and light green parts, washed, sliced ½ inch thick across the grain
1 ¼ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks
5 cups water
6 oz. creme fraiche
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Fresh oregano and/or chives for garnish

Heat the butter and olive oil in a heavy 4-quart soup pot over low heat until it starts foaming.  Sweat the leeks, shallots, garlic, and ¼ tsp. of salt until very tender.  Keep the heat low and the vegetables moving to ensure that they don’t brown. Add the potatoes, and garlic. Stir together and add the water; bring to a boil. Add the remaining salt, cover, and simmer over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes until the potatoes are falling apart.  Remove from the heat and using an immersion blender, mix the soup, but leave a few chunks. Stir in the creme fraiche, and warm.  Season with salt and pepper; then garnish with fresh chives and oregano.

What are some of your favorite cold weather soups? Share your recipes with us!

Tags : recipes   soups   winter   

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