By Megan McCluskey


As temperatures start slipping in the Triangle, thoughts turn to hearty bowls of steaming goodness.


With these comfort soups and chilies, you'll want nothing more than to come in from the cold and heat up a quick and easy bowl. Enjoy!



Everyone Brings Something to the Table: Time-Honored Recipes That Celebrate Family, Friends and Cooking From the Heart

Published by DeGroff Publishing





French Onion Soup
4 large yellow onions
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
6 cups beef broth
Salt and pepper to taste
6 slices French bread
3/4 cup Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup Romano cheese, grated


Peel onions and slice thinly. Separate slices into rings. Sauté onion rings in hot butter in a skillet until softened and lightly stir in flour. Add onions to hot broth. Cover saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes. Taste soup and add salt and pepper, if needed.


Ladle soup into individual oven-proof bowls. Place a round of bread in each bowl. Sprinkle bread with combined cheeses. Place bowls on a cookie sheet and brown the cheese under preheated broiler until brown and bubbling. Serve immediately.


Makes 6 servings



Pumpkin Soup
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
Two 14-1/2-ounce cans chicken broth (homemade is even better)
One 15-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup heavy whipping cream


In a large saucepan, sauté onion in butter until tender. Remove from heat and stir until smooth. Gradually stir in broth, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, pepper and nutmeg; bring to a boil.


Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add cream; cook for 2 minutes or until heated through.




The Mom 100 Cookbook

Published by Workman Publishing








Halfway Homemade Chicken Noodle Matzo Ball Soup
4 to 6 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (preferred), breast or a combination of the two
1 onion, coarsely chopped
4 large carrots, 2 peeled and coarsely chopped and 2 peeled and thinly sliced
10 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 envelope matzo ball mix, including the other ingredients called for on the box (usually oil and eggs)
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried dill
Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound dried egg noodles, your choice of width, cooked according to package directions until just tender


Place the chicken in a large soup pot or Dutch oven, add the onion and the chopped carrots, and pour the chicken broth and 2 cups of water over all. Place the pot over high heat and let the liquid come to a full simmer.


Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer, partially covered, until the chicken is fully cooked, about 1 hour. If the level of liquid seems like it's reducing too quickly, you can add 1 or 2 more cups of water.


Meanwhile, make the matzo balls according to the package directions. I form mine into 1-1/2-inch balls before poaching them for the soup.


Carefully strain the soup into a large bowl and set aside the chicken to cool slightly (you can toss out the cooked carrots and onion). Return the soup to the pot. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the meat into bite-size pieces, discarding the skin, bones and any gristle.


Bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat and add the sliced carrots and the dill. Let simmer until the carrots are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.


Return the chicken to the pot (adding as much as you like and setting the rest aside for another use). Add the cooked noodles and the matzo balls. Let the soup simmer until everything has heated through, then ladle the soup into bowls and serve.


Serves 4 to 6 servings.


Tip:You can make this soup up to four days ahead of time. If you're planning in advance, you may want to make the soup and cook the noodles and the matzoh balls, but keep them in separate containers.


When you are ready to serve, add the noodles and matzoh balls to the soup and simmer until everything is heated through. This prevents you from having soggy noodles and overcooked matzo balls.



Corn Chowder
4 slices bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped onion or 1/2 cup chopped shallots
1/2 cup chopped peeled carrots
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper (about 1/2-inch pieces)
3/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups diced potatoes (about 1/2-inch dice), preferably Yukon Gold
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
3 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 5 ears) or 3 cups frozen corn kernels
2 cups milk (1 percent, 2 percent or whole)
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions, both white and light green parts, or minced fresh chives (optional), for serving
Extra cooked crumbled bacon (optional), for serving


Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and set it aside on paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 teaspoons of fat from the pot.


Add the butter to the pot and melt over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until it starts to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Add the onion or shallots and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes.


Add the bell pepper and thyme, season with salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until everything is well combined, about 1 minute. Add the potatoes, broth, bay leaf and the reserved bacon.


Reduce the heat to medium-low, let come to a simmer and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.


Add the corn and let simmer until the corn is tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Using a potato masher or a wooden spoon, press against the side of the pot to smush up some of the potatoes and veggies so that they break up a bit and thicken the chowder.


Add the milk and heavy cream; increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until tiny bubbles form along the edge of the pot, about 7 minutes. Don't let the soup come to a boil or it might separate.


Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and/or pepper as necessary. Fish out the bay leaf, then ladle the soup into bowls and top with bacon and chives (if using).


Makes about 6 servings.


Tip:Yukon Gold potatoes are the potatoes of choice here for their buttery flavor and their great texture. They're firm enough to hold their shape and have some bite to them when cooked, but they're also able to be crushed up a bit, adding to the texture and body of the soup. The crushing-up step really turns the soup from a broth with things floating in it to a chowder.


Variation: If you want a vegetarian soup, skip the bacon and add a couple of teaspoons of olive oil when you melt the butter.




The Rest of the Best and More

Published by Robert Rose








Roasted Squash Soup With Apple and Brie
1 large butternut squash
1 carrot
1 medium onion
1 leek, white portion only
2 tablespoons butter
8 cups chicken broth
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 ounces Brie cheese
Snipped chives


Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place cut-side down on pan and bake at 350 degrees until tender, about 45 minutes (or microwave cut-side down in a small amount of water, covered, about 10 minutes).


Chop carrot, onion and leek into 1-inch pieces and place in a large pot. Gently sauté in butter. Do not brown. Add cooked squash to vegetables. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add apple, bay leaf and sugar. Simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes.


Remove bay leaf and puree soup in batches. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Slice off rind of Brie and cut Brie into 1/2-inch pieces. Place cheese in bottom of soup bowls and fill with hot soup. Garnish with chives.


Makes 6-8 servings.




Zuppa Du Jour
6 slices bacon, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1/2 tablespoon rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
5 cups chicken broth
One 28-ounce can Italian tomatoes, chopped
2/3 cup baby shell pasta
One 14-ounce can artichoke hearts (12 to 14 count), drained and cut into wedges
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese to sprinkle


In a large heavy pot, cook bacon, onions, celery, garlic, herbs and hot pepper flakes, until onions are softened. Stir in broth and tomatoes. Bring to boil.


Add pasta. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, or until pasta is just tender. Stir in artichokes and season to taste. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.


Makes 6 servings.




Recipes to Remember

Published by AuthorHouse







Minestrone con Polpette (Italian Wedding Soup)
For the broth:
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 cups water
Three (14-ounce) cans beef broth
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dry basil
1 teaspoon dry oregano
Two (15-1/2-ounce) cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed well and drained
Freshly ground black pepper


For the meatballs:
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
2 medium eggs
2 tablespoons dry parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Freshly ground black pepper


To make the broth:
In a 4-quart saucepan, sauté the garlic in olive oil until browned. Add water and beef broth. Stir in the onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves, basil and oregano.


Bring to a boil, then add the kidney beans. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and let simmer for 2 to 3 hours.


To make the meatballs:
In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, eggs, parsley, Parmesan and garlic powder. Add salt and pepper to taste. Form the mixture into small, 1/2-inch balls and place in a separate container, storing them in the refrigerator.


One hour before the soup is fully cooked, add the meatballs. Cook together for the remaining hour.


Makes 8 to 10 servings.


Tip: This soup can be frozen and the recipe can be doubled if you have a pot large enough.


Variation: You can replace the meatballs with tiny pasta such as patina or orzo.



Zuppa di Lenticchie e Spinaci (Lentil and Spinach Soup)
1 cup dry lentils
One (12-ounce) bag of fresh spinach or two (8-ounce) packages of frozen spinach
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Hot red pepper flakes
1 loaf fresh Italian bread



Go through the lentils and remove any dark ones. Add lentils to a 2-quart saucepan of salted boiling water. Let them cook for about 30 minutes or until soft.


While the lentils are cooking, wash the spinach and remove the stems. Remove excess water.


In a large frying pan, sauté the garlic in the oil until lightly browned. Add the spinach to the oil and garlic. Let it cook until soft.


When done, drain half the liquid form the lentils and combine remaining juice and lentils with the spinach. Stir and let it simmer for another few minutes.


Add a dash of hot red pepper if desired. Serve with a fresh loaf of Italian bread.


Makes 4 to 6 servings.


Tip: Spinach shrinks when cooked, so use enough for the number of people you are serving.


Vegetarian Cooking

Published by John Wiley & Sons







Bean and Barley Chili With Cilantro-Sour Cream
For the chili:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups water
2 tablespoons chili powder
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (15 ounces) dark red kidney beans, drained, rinsed
3/4 cup chunky-style salsa


For the cilantro-sour cream:
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro


In 5-quart Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender.


Stir in barley, tomatoes, water, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 30 minutes.
Serve chili topped with cilantro-sour cream.


Makes 6 servings of 1-1/3 cups each.


Tip: Do you like it spicy? If so, add 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne) along with the chili powder and cumin; you can also use hot salsa.



Chili Blanco
1 cup chopped onions (2 medium)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cans (15-1/2 ounces each) great northern beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (11 ounces) white shoepeg corn (an heirloom variety of light-colored sweet corn), undrained
1 can (4-1/2 ounces) chopped green chiles, undrained
1 extra-large vegetable bouillon cube
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2-1/2 cups water
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (2 ounces), if desired
1/2 cup broken tortilla chips, if desired


Spray 3-quart saucepan with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; cook and stir 1 minute.
Stir in beans, corn, green chiles, bouillon cube, cumin, salt, pepper and water. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors.


Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro. To serve, place 2 tablespoons cheese in each individual soup bowl. Spoon chili over cheese; top with tortilla chips.


Makes 4 servings.


Tip: If you crave a hot bite, use Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers! For fun, top with crushed colored tortilla chips.