One of the best things about fall and the cooler temperatures is the return of soup to the kitchen table. A hearty bowl of golden, fragrant butternut soup (see recipes below) or rich Caribbean sweet potato soup is satisfying and delicious. Pair it with your favorite sandwich and you have a real winner.
Then there’s French onion—a gooey, cheesy, caramelized onion delight—so well loved, in fact, there are even special soup crocks just for serving it.
If you’re in the mood for something heartier than a broth soup, try broccoli, cauliflower, potato, or winter squash. While you can puree these soups in a blender, I prefer a hand-held stick blender, which is fast and easier to clean-up. In addition, you rarely are splashed by piping hot soup, as always seems to happen when you transfer soup to a blender.
Soups are a terrific way to get your vegetable and protein all in one bowl. You can make an endless array of soups with beans, grains, and texturized vegetable protein. Remember, if you’re in a hurry, lentils cook fast. If you choose chickpeas or navy beans, soak them in a big bowl overnight and they’ll cook quickly the next day. Or, speed the soaking process by bringing the dry beans to a bowl in a kettle and then letting them soak for an hour before turning the heat back on and adding the remaining ingredients.
Jambalaya, chili, and stew are all great meat-based options. These usually require extra cooking time, so they’re a great choice for a weekend meal. Or, for shorter cooking time, use a pressure cooker.
Now, for the sandwiches to round out your soup supper. Grilled cheese is a natural companion, of course. Get creative and try a variety of cheeses and breads like maybe Muenster, provolone, and mozzarella on marbled pumpernickel rye or sourdough. You can use a sandwich maker for lightning fast and perfectly melted sandwiches.
For heartier appetites, there’s always the BLT, grilled turkey and dressing (for post-Thanksgiving fun), chicken, or tuna melt. A counter top griddle can do all or part of the cooking for you—or pop your creation on a baking sheet and into the oven.
When the cold wind blows the last of the leaves off the trees and gray skies creep in, put a pot of bubbling soup on the stove and build a platter of delicious sandwiches. To brighten the table, use colorful bowls and plates to serve your soup and sandwich—and don’t forget the oyster crackers!
Hearty, warm soup perfect with a crusty bread!
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium (about 6 ounces) carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium (about 8 ounces) yellow onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2" cubes
One 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
One 15-ounce can cannellini beans
8 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 small head (about 8 cups) Savoy cabbage, core removed and leaves thinly shredded
1 bunch (about 6 cups) Swiss chard, stems discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
One 2" piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind plus grated cheese for serving
freshly ground black pepper
10 thin slices baguette or a country loaf, such as batard
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
extra virgin olive oil for serving
Set an electric pressure cooker to brown according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Warm the olive oil in the pressure cooker, add the carrots, celery and onions and salt the vegetables lightly. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly softened and the onion is translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the butternut squash, tomatoes, cannellini beans, broth, cabbage, chard, bay leaf, and Parmigiano rind. Stir to combine the ingredients.
Place the lid on the pressure cooker and cook on high for 10 minutes according to the manufacturer’s instructions, or until the vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, make the Parmesan crisps. Lightly brush the bread slices with olive oil on both sides. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Top each bread slice with grated Parmigiano. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown and crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool.
Release the pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions and carefully remove the lid. Using a stick blender, purée the soup to desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Serves 8.
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 boneless chicken breast halves
1 pound chorizo sausage
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes in juice
1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans, drained
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Peel and dice sweet potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Cut chicken and sausage into 1-inch pieces.
In a crock pot, combine sweet potatoes, chicken, sausage, onion, garlic, tomatoes, beans, paprika, salt, thyme, pepper, allspice, cumin, and tomato paste.
Cover and simmer on low heat until sweet potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through, about 4 hours.
Savory soup topped with a slice of baguette and broiled cheese.
4 large yellow or Vidalia onions, sliced
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 quarts beef broth
1/2 cup brandy (optional)
1 French baguette, sliced and toasted
Gruyere and Emmenthaler cheese as desired
Slice 4 large yellow onions, using a tight thin slice. In a large Dutch add enough olive oil to coat the pan and then add the onions. Cook over medium heat for 12 minutes, until they’re tender and golden. Stir often.
Add the brandy if desired and let the alcohol burn off.
Add sugar and beef broth, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 12 minutes.
To serve, ladle soup into a bowl. Place a slice of baguette on top. Cover with shredded Gruyere and place slices of Emmenthaler over that.
Place the bowls on a baking pan and broil until the cheese is melted.
1 medium head fresh cauliflower, cut into florets
4-1/2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup flour
2 cups cream
1-1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Cheese and crisp bacon pieces for toppings
Cook cauliflower florets in large saucepan of salted water for 5-6 minutes until tender but firm. Remove from water and drain. Using an immersion blender, blender, or food processor, puree cauliflower with stock at low speed in small batches until very smooth.
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the butter. Add the onions and sauté until soft and golden brown. Whisk in flour and salt. Whisk in chicken stock and cauliflower puree until smooth. Bring to boil, continuously stirring until mixture begins to thicken. Reduce heat to medium, and stir in cream and mustard.
Continue to stir and add shredded cheese in small batches and melt each batch before adding more. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese and bacon pieces.
Tip: Use the sharpest cheese available. The flavor of a mild cheddar will be over-powered by the cauliflower.
8 slices (1/2-inch thick) artisan-style French or Italian bread
8 teaspoons black olive spread or tapenade of kalamata olives
1-1/2 cup provolone cheese, grated
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 cup roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1/4 cup peperoncini, drained and minced
16 slices Italian salami or ham, thinly sliced
Preheat large heavy skillet on medium-high heat (about 5 to 7 minutes). Reduce heat to medium.
In bowl, mix provolone and mozzarella cheeses until well blended. In a separate bowl, mix roasted red peppers and pepperoncini until well blended.
Take 4 slices of bread. Spread butter on one side. Place on cutting board, butter side down. Spread 1/4 cup of cheese mixture on top of each slice. Place 2 slices of salami or ham on top of cheese. Top salami with one-fourth of the pepper mixture. Top pepper mixture with 2 more slices of salami or ham.
Spread 2 teaspoons of olive spread on each remaining slice of bread. Place on top of sandwiches, olive spread-side down. Spread top of bread with softened butter.
Place sandwiches in preheated skillet. Press down lightly. Cook until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Flip sandwiches and press down lightly again. Cook for additional 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer sandwiches from skillet to plate. Serve immediately. Makes 4 sandwiches.
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
8 thick slices Ciabatta bread, or dense bread of choice
6 ounces cheese of choice, grated
10 ounces roast turkey breast, sliced
3/4 cup stuffing
8 tablespoons cranberry sauce, optional
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
On a clean work surface, spread bread out in pairs. On one slice of each pair, spread about 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise.
Divide the turkey among the four sandwiches and place on the side spread with mayonnaise. Top the turkey with about 3 tablespoons of stuffing. If desired, top the stuffing with cranberry sauce.
Sprinkle cheese over the sandwich fillings, and top with second slice of bread. Press the sandwich tightly together. Brush both sides of the sandwich with melted butter.
Heat Griddler or grill pan over medium heat. Brush plates or pan with melted butter. Place 2 of the sandwiches in the hot pan or Griddler. Close the Griddler or press with grill press and grill 5 to 8 minutes per side or until golden brown and cheese is melted. Repeat process with remaining sandwiches.
Serve hot. Makes 4 sandwiches.
Categories: Food & Recipes