Very few things in life are more warming, or more comforting than a big hot bowl of Soup!
The idea has been ‘stewing’ for a few months now to share some of my favorite soup recipes and creative serving ideas. But when I found out that January is National Soup Month, I knew now was the time.
So get out your favorite recipe, or try one of mine and cook up a big pot of soup for your family and friends. Or better yet, have your very own Soup Exchange, it would be a ‘Souper’ Party!
Invite a few friends or family over for a Soup Exchange … tell them to bring their favorite soup (preferably in a slow cooker) and to bring copies of the recipe to share. You could simply prepare some yummy breads, maybe a salad, and maybe some traditional soup garnishes on the side and you have a ‘Souper’ easy Party perfect for these cold months, great for all sorts of get togethers.
So first, what to serve your favorite soup in? If you are serving a crowd, the easiest way to keep your soup warm is in a good Old Fashioned Crock Pot, but that’s only the beginning…
One great traditional way to serve Soup is in a beautiful Soup tureen, they don’t have to be expensive, and can be a very elegant way to serve a crowd, or a first course for a more formal dinner.
Sometimes, the occasion calls for a little more Whimsy. When I hosted a “Witches Night Out” this year for Halloween, I thought a Witches ‘cauldron’ would serve my favorite Tomato Soup just wickedly. But my Cast Iron Dutch Oven could be a rustic way to serve up soups for other occasions as well. Summer backyard cookout perhaps? Also, simple garnishes can really spice up the presentation, since this was for a Halloween party, I made a simple Spider Web on top with some Heavy Cream drizzled in a circle, then ran a toothpick out from the center to create my ‘web.’ Everyone loved it so much, they were afraid to mess it up and served themselves from the opposite side of the pot, which made me giggle a little.
For a Pumpkin themed party, I served a Pumpkin Soup in a hollowed out Pumpkin, I thought this “Web” turned out even better using a thicker Creme Fraiche. Use the ingredients in your soups for inspiration of serving opportunities, many vegetables can be hollowed out as serving vessels, in either larger shapes like pumpkins, or for smaller more individual servings, like Acorn Squash or Apples.
For a cute individual serving of my Roasted Butternut Squash soup, I hollowed out this Granny Smith apple, and garnished with a swirl of Crema Mexicana. The fruit and vegetable serving possibilities are many!
There are technical specific etiquette for which type of bowl shape and even spoon shape are for different kinds of soups, like using a shallow wide rim bowl (top right) for Cream Soups, etc. but I say use what you love! I love to have a heaping serving of a spicy, meaty Texas Chili in an oversized mug (top left). And I love the beautiful details on this brown bowl, or the unusual shape of the square bowl. Also, it’s fun to serve soup in the very untraditional … when we were having a finger food buffet with lot’s of food choices, we served Shot glasses with Tomato Soup, with strips of grilled Cheese Sandwiches as the perfect accompaniment. Another fun vessel for a smaller serving would be a teacup and saucer.
One of my favorite serving pieces for Soups and Stews are in an individual lidded Crock, it makes it feel special for some reason.
Another fun, and yummy way to serve Soups are in Bread Bowls, Sourdough? Even better! You can make your own, or find them at your favorite Bakery.
My favorite soup is Chicken Tortilla Soup … if you’ve never tried it, now’s the time, and you’re welcome!
This is definitely not a traditional way to serve Beef Stew but it was way too cute not to share. Patty served Beef Stew in this clean Dog Bowl as part of her Puppy Love ideas. This shows that the only thing limiting your serving options is your imagination.
So, warm up your body and soul in these cold Winter months with a steaming bowl of Soup and it’s even better when you share a bowl with some friends or family too!
Here are a few of my favorite soup recipes, soon to be some of your favorites as well!
Potato Cheese Soup
It’s the best, Really!! And serves a lot…
Cook together until vegetables are soft (about 20 minutes)
6 cup diced potatoes
3 cans Chicken Broth
2 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 1/2 T. garlic powder)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
(Optional, sometimes I add in 1 head of broccoli and/or Cauliflower, chopped)
Mix together, and then add to soup:
3 cups whole milk
3/4 c. flour
Cook, stirring until thick and bubbly.
Add by the handful, and stir until melted through:
2 cups grated Monterey Jack Cheese
2 cups grated Sharp Cheddar
Great served in a Bread Bowl, or with toasty Garlic Bread, or even just French bread for dipping.
Sharry’s Tomato Soup
Warning: This is a true cooks recipe, I learned by watching, and measurements are mostly “throw in this and that.” Play with ingredients to your own taste.
Saute one onion (diced), 3 cloves garlic (minced), and four strips of bacon in half stick of butter until bacon is cooked and onions are translucent. Then pulse in food processor until smooth and return to pot.
Process #10 can of diced tomatoes in batches in food processor or blender until smooth with basil pesto (or fresh basil and oregano).
Season with Worcestershire sauce, Maggi’s seasoning (found in ethnic aisle), red wine or balsamic vinegar, and chicken broth or boulllion. Salt and pepper to taste.
Add heavy whipping cream. Simmer on low until flavors come together.
Serve with cream drizzled on top and fresh bread and butter.
Heidi’s Tortilla Soup
First, fry 4 corn tortillas cut into strips in 2 T. canola oil until crispy, remove into food processor. Then saute 2 cloves garlic (minced) and 1 medium onion (chopped) and 1 jalapeno pepper (chopped) in oil until soft and remove to food processor. Pulse until smooth and return to pot. Add one 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, 1 T. ground cumin, and 3 cans of Chicken broth (or even better fresh Chicken Stock). Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
Serve with garnishes and let guests build their own soup.
Thin crispy tortilla strips. (Fry, or bake in 350 oven for 10-15 minutes)
1 avocado, diced
1 cooked Chicken Breast, diced
1 cup grated Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 tomato, diced
(Optional, for a more hearty family style soup, I put the Chicken in the soup instead of as a garnish and add one 14 oz. can each of Black Beans and Corn to the soup while simmering)
Great served with Southwest style side Salad, or a simple Salad dressed with a Lime Vinaigrette.
Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
3 cans Chicken broth
2 cubes Chicken boullion
2 c. chopped Carrots
2 cups diced Celery
3/4 c. chopped onion
Mix together (add when veggies are tender):
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup Whole Milk
1/2 cup Sour Cream
Add and heat through:
2 cups diced, cooked Chicken
4 cups cooked, Wide Egg Noodles
Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with crusty bread.
Try one this weekend, your family will thank you for it!