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Simple soups: Warm up winter

Jan 3rd, 2016 | Category: Cooking

by Tina Hoban

Baby, it’s cold outside… so grab the soup pot and get cooking. After all, there is nothing like a hot bowl of soup to warm you up on these chilly nights. Looking for something new to try? Luckily for us, soups are made across the world in almost every culture, so there are endless variations to choose from. Some are brothy, some are hearty, and some are pureed, but they are all deeply nourishing and satisfying.

The recipes offer a great base to work with, including this variation of the squash soup. PHOTO BY TINA HOBAN

The recipes offer a great base to work with, including this variation of the squash soup. PHOTO BY TINA HOBAN

This time of the year I love the idea of having make-ahead options for dinner. Not only can you make soups a day or two ahead, but they actually taste better after the flavors have a chance to meld together. Soup recipes can also be doubled easily, freezing half for a later dinner. It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Most soups start by sautéing celery, carrots and onion, so I always try to have these three items on hand. If you are the creative type, you can add some broth, veggies and some odds and ends from the refrigerator and come up with your own signature soup, too.

The Hubbard Squash Soup with Siracha Sour Cream is a great way to use up winter squash from the garden, and is a great light dinner or served as an appetizer. You can substitute any sweet winter squash, or even canned pumpkin.

The Chicken and Dumplins evoke fond childhood memories.  I always loved it when my mom would make this soup with its pillowy, biscuit-like dumplings.  This soup can be made with gluten free flour, but the dumplings will be heavier.

The crockpot Bean and Ham soup may be the easiest of them all. Throw this together in the morning, and you’ll have a hearty meal waiting for you when you get home.


Crockpot Bean and Ham Soup



1 pound dried white northern beans

1 large ham hock, or 2 cups diced ham

1 medium onion, diced

3 carrots, peeled and diced

4 stalks celery, diced

6 cups water or low-sodium chicken broth

2 sprigs fresh thyme

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional, but good)

salt and pepper, to taste



Rinse the beans and soak them overnight in water.

In the morning, drain the beans and add them to the crockpot. Add the ham hock, onion, carrots, and celery.  Pour the water or stock over and add the thyme tomato paste and smoked paprika.

Cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours, stirring once during cooking.

Remove the ham hock, chop the meat and add it back to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.


Hubbard Squash Soup with Siracha Sour Cream



1 tablespoon canola oil

1 cup diced celery

2 cups diced onion

1 quart chicken broth

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves

1 large orange

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups cooked, pureed Hubbard squash*

1 cup soup cream

1 – 2 tablespoons siracha sauce



Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the celery and onion and sautee until they begin to soften. Add the chicken broth and the rosemary. Zest and juice the orange and add both to the pot. Add the salt. Simmer until the veggies are soft. Add the pureed squash. Remove the pot from the stove and cool slightly. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Don’t overfill the blender and keep a hand on the lid to prevent accidents.

In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and 1 tablespoon of the siracha sauce. Add another tablespoon or so if you like things spicy. Serve a dallop of the sour cream in the warm soup.

*  To make the squash puree, halve and scrape the seeds from your squash. Place face down on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 deegrees F for about 45 minutes. Scrape out the cooked squash and puree.


Chicken Soup with Dumplins

I grew up eating this soup and still love it today.  The dumpling dough is a moist biscuit dough, which is plunged into the simmering soup to cook.



1 4-pound chicken

1 bay leaf

4 carrots, peeled and sliced

4 stalks celery, sliced

1 medium onion peeled and diced

1 quart chicken broth

6 cups water

2 teaspoons salt

black pepper, to taste


Dumpling Dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour (or gluten free all-purpose blend)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 taplespoons butter

1 cup milk


1 cup frozen peas



Place the chicken in a large soup pot, along with the bay leaf, carrots, celery and onion. Pour the broth and over the chicken. Add the salt and pepper and cover the pot. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour, or until the chicken is tender. Use tongs to remove the chicken from the soup. Set aside to cool while you make the dumplings.

Stir the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Cut the butter into pieces and add to the flour. Rub the butter in with your hands until it is the size of peas. Stir in enough of the milk to make a soft dough. Set aside.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone and chop into bite sized pieces.  Add the chopped chicken and the frozen peas to the soup. Season with salt and pepper, as needed. Bring the soup back to a simmer and use a spoon to add golf ball sized pieces of dough to the soup. Cover and cook the dumplings for 20-30 minutes, or until the center of the dumplings are no longer doughy.


Published in the January 2016 issue of Grow Northwest


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