Labor Day has come and gone, officially closing the summer season. Don’t be sad. Fall is a great time of the year. With the temperature cooling off about 15 to 20 degrees recently, I can tell it’s just around the corner. Time to break out your sweaters, warm house slippers and the soup pot.
Soups are one of my favorite things about the fall. There are still plenty of summer vegetables to be had and some of fall crops - I’ve sported pumpkins for example, in our local produce stands. Nothing warms me up better than a delicious cup of soup on a cold day.
Flavor for pennies
Soups have been cooking in kitchens since mankind was able to make a pot. Ingredients for this age-old dish can be just about anything yielding endless variety in flavor and texture. Soup is a truly multipurpose dish and can be a snack, a starter or a meal.
Soup is an economical dish if you are watching your food dollars and who isn’t these days. Roast a chicken today and have chicken soup tomorrow. Steam broccoli for dinner tonight and some of it may find its way into a pot of cream of broccoli soup a few days later. The ultimate way to use up leftover veggies is by making a big pot of vegetable soup, with or without meat.
What’s your favorite soup?
People are always asking me what my favorite food or my signature dish is. I honestly can’t say as I love food. I suppose it depends on my mood at the time and what my taste buds are craving. I really enjoy creamy soups like potato, pumpkin, mushroom, or butternut and parsnip soup. Most of these take time to prepare due to the nature of the ingredients. What’s your favorite soup?
One soup I truly love is beer cheese. It’s heavy, full of fat and tastes so good I could eat an entire pot at one sitting. I don’t make it often for these very reasons, but it does make a great lunch served with a smoked turkey sandwich on wheat bread.
Today I’m sharing two soup recipes with you. Butternut Squash and Parsnip soup has a wonderful texture and taste. I first had it in a small restaurant in northern California and got hooked. The second, if you couldn’t guess, is beer cheese. My first taste of it was a the 101st Airborne Restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee which sadly is no longer in business.
I hope you try these soups or make one of your favorites this fall. Live, Laugh, Love and Eat some Soup!
Butternut Squash and Parsnip Soup with Thyme
- 3 TBSP butter
- One 2-pound butternut squash, unpeeled and halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into eight pieces
- 1 pound of Parsnips, peeled and cut crosswise into 2 inch pieces with the thick ends cut in half
- ¼ cup water
- 1 onion halved and thinly sliced
- 2 tsp minced fresh thyme or ¾ tsp dried
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup half and half cream
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter a large roasting pan with 1 TBSP of butter. Arrange squash pieces, skin side up, in the prepared pan. Add the parsnips and the water to the pan. Cover with foil and bake in the oven about 50 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Allow them to cool.
As the vegetables are cooling, melt the remaining 2 TBSP of butter in a large skillet or stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion and thyme and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. If you don’t have an immersion mixer, scrap the roasted squash off the peel and add it, the parsnips and onion mixture to a food processor or blender. Puree it until smooth and place it back into a stock pot. Add the stock and cream and mix until smooth with a whisk.
If you have an immersion mixer, you can add the roasted squash (without the peel) and the other ingredients directly into the pot you used to sauté the onions as well as about 2 cups of the chicken broth. Blend until smooth then add the remaining broth and cream and blend again.
Season with salt and pepper and serve hot. This soup will keep a few days in the refrigerator in a closed container. I would pair it with a savory sandwich or possibly a green salad for a light and delicious lunch.
Beer Cheese Soup
Courtesy of Joe at the Cookeville Country Club circa 1988
- 3 cups whole milk
- One 12oz can or bottle of beer (I prefer Guinness or Beck’s Dark)
- 20oz Velveeta cheese spread (regular cheese gets really oily and can separate)
- 6oz chicken broth
- ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ½ dashes hot sauce like McIlhenny’s
- 1/8 cup and 1 TBSP cornstarch
Combine the milk and 1 ¼ cup beer in a large pot. Cook over low heat until heated thoroughly stirring constantly. Add cheese spread, chicken broth, hot and Worcestershire sauces. Simmer over low heat. Combine the cornstarch with the remaining beer and mix well. Add cornstarch mixture to the pot, stirring constantly and simmer until thickened. Do not boil. Makes about 2 quarts of soup. Double boils should be used to avoid burning the soup.
You can download the recipes of the week HERE!