Musical pairing – A Little Help From My Friends by Joe Cocker
Mmmmm Mmmmm Good, Mmmmm Mmmmm Good, That’s what Campbell’s tastes like, Mmmmm Mmmmm Good! So now that this little catch-phrase will be rolling around in your head for the next 24 hours, let’s talk soup shall we?
As you might have guessed, there was plenty of canned soup in the cupboards at the little house on Ankeny street: chicken noodle, tomato, cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, tomato rice, chicken and stars, cream of celery, bean with bacon (one of my dad’s favorites) and vegetable beef (one of my favorites). The cans were marked ‘condensed’ which meant that you opened the can, poured into a saucepan (although as a 10-year-old, I must admit that I really didn’t know what a ‘saucepan’ was) and filled the now empty can with equal parts water which was added to the soup . . . heat and eat with a toasted cheese sammie made with Roman Meal bread and individually wrapped cheese slices . . . pretty good lunch back in the day.
And canned soups weren’t just for making lunches; pull out a can of cream of chicken soup, mix with mayo or sour cream, spread on top of cut up chicken, layer with broccoli, breadcrumbs, cheese, into the oven and voila – an hour later you had Chicken Divan (at least that’s what we called it!) Toss a can of creamed soup into pork chops or pot roast and you had a pan sauce or gravy; add a can of tuna, some pimento or peas and you had creamed tuna on biscuits as well as a multitude of casseroles or other recipe you might find in a number of church cookbooks across America – home cooks loved canned soups!
I also remember my grandmother gathering all of her end-of-season vegetables from the garden and making vegetable soup that she canned in pint jars; not to waste anything she grew, those jars of broth and vegetables brought comfort during the cold winter months.
I’m not really sure when it dawned on me that I could actually make soup from scratch and I don’t even remember what soup I made; but now I make a pot of soup every week to tuck in the refrigerator. We usually have the first bowl for one of our weekly dinners and the rest is eaten for both our lunches. I’ve also found that on those days when I have the munchies, soup helps to take that edge off when all I’m thinking about is pie . . . which is often . . .
Most soup recipes start with a little olive oil or butter, onions and garlic, a splash of wine and/or broth . . . and then comes the magic . . . broccoli, tomato, minestrone, cabbage, split pea, bean, lentils . . . you get the picture . . . serve with a salad, a hunk of beautiful crusty bread or crackers and it’s nirvana . . . in my humble opinion, soup is food for the soul . . . put on some music, pour a glass of wine and dance in your underwear – I guarantee it’ll put a smile on your face.
What is your favorite soup?
ROASTED PUMPKIN-GINGER BISQUE W/BRIOCHE CROUTONS
HEAD NOTE: If you roast your pumpkin beforehand, this soup comes together in less than 30 minutes so plan accordingly. To roast, simply cut pumpkin in half, scrape out seeds (save those to roast separately if you’d like) and lay cut-side down; roast in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until flesh is soft. Scrape flesh from skin and proceed with recipe. You can also substitute butternut squash or carrots in place of the pumpkin.
FOR THE SOUP:
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- a pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 Tablespoons freshly grated ginger (don’t substitute ground)
- 3.5 cups chicken broth (I use Better Than Bouillon brand)
- 5 cups pumpkin, roasted, i.e., cooked (see head note above)
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup orange juice (I use a good quality Valencia orange juice)
FOR THE TOPPING:
- Brioche Croutons
- Sprinkle of Gruyere cheese
- sprinkle of chives
I make my brioche croutons by using day old brioche torn into chunks and sauteed on top of the stove in a bit of olive oil and some mince garlic; you can also toss bread chunks in some olive oil and bake for 3-5 minutes in a 400 degree oven – but watch carefully as this bread tends to burn easily!
- Melt butter and olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat
- Add onion, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a good pinch of salt; cook until softened – about 3 minutes or so
- Stir in ginger and cook about 1 minute
- Stir in broth and pumpkin; bring to simmer and cook about 5-7 minutes; off heat and cool for 10 minutes
- Puree soup in batches in a blender taking care to fill blender only half full as hot liquids expand; you can also blend with a stick blender but it will take quite a long time to get the creaminess you’re looking for here.
- Return pureed soup to pot and add milk and orange juice
- Return to simmer briefly – do not bring to a boil or you risk curdling the milk
- Adjust seasonings if needed
- Top with croutons, cheese and chives
You might also like:
Creamy Tomato Soup
Sweet Corn Soup from Running With Tweezers
Garlicky Tortellini Soup
Cream of Mushroom Soup from CreativCulinary
Vegetarian Coconut Thai Soup from Tastes Better With Friends
Garlic Comma Bread Soup with Rosemary and Egg from Sippity Sup