Being a winter baby and lover of all things cosy and snug, I absolutely love soup. And who wouldn’t? They are so easy to make, can be prepared in advance and with the various flavor combinations, the sky’s the limit.
Soups are also ideal for lunches and is easy to freeze and warm up for dinner. Oh and the best part? Having it with some delicious warm bread of course!
Because the cold and rainy weather that we have been having in Johannesburg lately is ideal soup weather, I thought I would share my top five favorite soups (and recipes) with you.
- Tomato Basil Soup
I love to have this as a light lunch and is absolutely delicious when you have it with a grilled cheese sandwich. I prefer Mozzarella cheese on Rye bread as a healthy option.
•1 medium onion, chopped
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•2 tablespoons butter
•4 cloves garlic, minced
•2 cans whole peeled tomatoes (all juices included)
•¾ cup chicken stock
•2 tablespoons tomato paste
•1 tablespoon brown sugar
•½ teaspoon baking soda
•½ teaspoon salt
•¼ teaspoon black pepper
•¼ teaspoon dried oregano
•1 bay leaf
•⅓ cup heavy cream
•8 large fresh basil leaves
- In a large pot, heat oil and butter over medium heat and sauté onions until translucent (about 4-5 minutes). Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds.
- Stir in the whole tomatoes (break apart tomatoes with hands or the back of wooden spoon), chicken broth, tomato paste, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, pepper, oregano, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over medium to medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes until thickened and then remove from the heat.
- Add the cream and basil leaves and puree in batches in a blender or with a hand blender until smooth. Serve garnished with fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese.
- Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
Trust me when I tell you that when you are feeling sick or just a bot down, this is a sure pick me up.
•2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 700 grams)
•1 yellow onion, diced
•3 carrots, diced
•2 ribs celery, diced
•4 garlic cloves, minced
•2 bay leaves
•½ teaspoon dried thyme
•½ teaspoon dried rosemary
•salt and pepper to taste
•1 Litre chicken stock
•⅓ cup flour
•1 cup heavy whipping cream
•1½ cups milk
•500 grams Egg Noodles
•2 tablespoons fresh parsley
- Place chicken in the bottom of a slow cooker along with the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper. Pour in the chicken stock and cover. Cook on LOW for 4 hours.
- Remove the chicken and shred. Add back to the slow cooker.
- Whisk the flour and cream together and then add it to the slow cooker along with the milk and Egg Noodles. Stir until combined and all the noodles are submerged. Turn slow cooker to HIGH and cook until noodles are cooked.
- Mix in the parsley and serve.
- Potato Soup
For a healthier option, the cream has been substituted with milk. Also, this recipe can be used as a base and various ingredients can be added for new and exiting flavor combinations.
- 5 slices bacon, diced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups milk, warmed
- 700 grams potatoes, peeled (if desired) and diced (I recommend Yukon gold potatoes)
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- optional toppings: thinly-sliced green onions or chives, extra shredded cheese, extra bacon, sour cream
- Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add diced bacon and cook until crispy, stirring occasionally. Transfer the bacon to a separate plate. (Discard any extra grease, or you can substitute butter in place the 3 tablespoons of bacon grease. Also, if you are short on time, you can dice the potatoes and onion while the bacon cooks to save time.)
- Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Sprinkle the flour on top of the onion, and stir until combined. Sauté for an additional minute to cook the flour, stirring occasionally. Then stir in the chicken stock until combined. Stir in the milk and potatoes until combined. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer, but is not boiling.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally every few minutes so that the bottom does not burn. (The smaller you dice your potatoes, the faster they will cook.)
- When the potatoes are soft, stir in the cheddar cheese and Greek yogurt (or sour cream), salt, pepper and cooked bacon bits. Taste and see if it needs more salt or pepper or cheese.
- Serve warm, garnished with desired toppings.
- Minestrone Soup
This is an absolute Italian favorite of mine and just like the Potato soup, many ingredients can be added for new combinations.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 600 grams green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 cm pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup macaroni
- 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the celery and carrot and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the green beans, dried oregano and basil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; cook 3 more minutes.
- Add the diced and crushed tomatoes and the chicken stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 10 minutes.
- Stir in the kidney beans and pasta and cook until the pasta and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Ladle into bowls and top with the parmesan and chopped basil.
- Butternut Squash Soup
I saved the easiest for last.
- One 1 – 1.5kg butternut squash, peeled and seeded
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 6 cups chicken stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cut squash into chunks. In large pot melt butter. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add squash and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove squash chunks with slotted spoon and place in a blender and puree. Return blended squash to pot. Stir and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Serve.
Thanks for reading and Bon Appetite!
Recipes and pictures courtesy of: