Soups, Stews, Chilis and Chowders: Part One, The Puréed.

I find that when I’m very busy, what comes to mind most readily to cook and have on hand for quick weeknight dinners is a good bowl of soup or a stew, some chili or a chowder. Not only are these bowls truly the epitome of comfort food year round, but they’re the meal that keeps on giving by virtue of leftovers. And since most soups and their kind tend to taste even better the day after you make them, they’re a great dish to prepare ahead for company or freeze portions for later use.

Though I haven’t had time to develop any new soups, stews, chilis or chowders in these last few months, I have made several of my previously posted favorites quite recently and I’m looking forward to revisiting even more of them. All are tried and true recipes that I basically know by heart, and I think you’ll find with this and the next two posts that there’s something here for everyone, starting with puréed soups.

My complete line up features puréed, chunky and hearty varieties of in the bowl goodness. A few of these are cooled or creamed by way of dairy or coconut milk, some feature a clear broth and are mild, while others are highly spiced or curried. Several are vegetarian, some are vegan and others are strictly for the carnivores.

I hope you’ll try some of the recipes featured throughout this 3-part recap series and that one or more will be added to your list of favorites, too. Click on the link in the text below each photo to find the recipe or post for the following puréed soups. Many of these are best served hot, but several are equally good cold, where noted. Pair any one with a simple green salad and you’ll have a delightful meal.

soup3Curry, coconut milk, apple and Asian spices bring some delightful flavor to butternut squash in this elegant and Easy Curried Butternut Squash Soup.

Soup1This light, delicate and interestingly flavored soup happens to be vegan and is perfect as is, but Tomato, Orange and Tarragon Soup can be embellished with a touch of dairy or made with chicken stock instead of vegetable stock, if you so desire.

There's just something about a bowl of soup and some good bread that says

There’s just something about a bowl of soup and some good bread that says “come hither” to me.

Easy Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Soup just might be my most favorite vegetable soup. The roasting of the veggies caramelizes and intensifies the flavors…making this heavenly soup become so much more than its individual parts. Definitely on my “next to make again” list.

soup4Creamy Avocado Cucumber Soup is super easy to make and just the ticket for a hot summer day. It’s creamy and cooling, but has a slight kick to it as well. Just throw everything into a blender, give it a good whirr and it’s ready to slurp.

soup3BThe flavors of my favorite gratin were the inspiration for this Potato, Leek and Fennel Soup. I made this again last week and we never get tired of it…whether served hot with a parmesan crouton or served cold right out of a mug. Great stuff!

soup2Until I tried this recipe, I never would have thought I’d enjoy the pairing of sweet potatoes, red bell pepper and peanut butter so much. This slightly adapted version of Ellie Krieger’s African-inspired Spicy Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup is a real winner.

The beautiful green color of this soup just makes me happy.

The beautiful green color of this soup just makes me happy.

Lean, Mean and Green Broccoli Spinach Soup is exactly what it looks like…very healthy. But it’s also very delicious and in fact, this one is at the top of my list to make again soon.

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Creamy Avocado Cucumber Soup, and…

Elegant and easy, this cold soup has been a staple in our house all summer long. Such a staple that I whirr it up in the blender at least every other week. We gobble it up in no time flat, and then want more and more. In fact, it’s been relegated to the status of something so simple and quick to make that it’s almost like making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…almost.

But it really deserves a bit more attention than it’s gotten thus far. I posted the base of this soup when I first started this blog, but since that time I’ve made it so often that I could make it in my sleep! And I think I’ve perfected it now. Continue reading

Cool as a Cucumber

A cup of coolness, cucumber soup.

Mmmmm. This past weekend brought us some much needed rain, a few breezes and a very slight breather in the heat wave we’ve experienced this summer. But it’s still in the 90’s, and anything that has the word “chilled” as part of its name, gets my attention. We had some very pretty little cucumbers in this week’s CSA box of summer goodness, and I’ve made a quick, easy and delicious Chilled Cucumber Soup. And since my mission is to come up with delicious ways to use up all of that goodness, I made another tomato pie Saturday night—a variation on my last one that I’ll call Tomato Pie II—using a pound of red and yellow heirloom tomatoes and some beautiful organic red onions, along with some fresh basil and thyme, a little wine and some gooey-good soft goat cheese—and we had some leftover pie along with the soup, since tomatoes and cucumbers go together so wonderfully well. Continue reading