Fall in Love with Soup

The days are getting shorter, the rain is getting heavier, and the cold weather is finally upon us. On these cold, rainy, Vancouver days, I always find myself craving a hot bowl of soup, which in my opinion, is the perfect cure for the winter chills.  For decades, soup has been referred to as the perfect remedy for almost anything. There’s the old saying that chicken soup can cure the common cold, and a hearty bowl of chili can cure the soul. But most importantly, soup can satisfy any craving because it’s delicious. From tomato soup with grilled cheese, to clam chowder with crackers, there is something special about a bowl of home cooked soup that makes you appreciate the ingredients that were used to make it.

Because we are now officially in soup season, and because of my love for soup, I have decided to share with you two of my favorite recipes that are sure to get you in the kitchen cooking a big pot. These recipes make about 6 servings so they are perfect for sharing with friends or family.

1. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This soup embraces the meaning of fall flavours. The roasted squash, the fresh sage, and the cinnamon apple all cooked together craft a simple, yet delicious, fall soup. This recipe is also vegetarian and can be made vegan by substituting coconut milk for cream. Enjoy!

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Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6-8 fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg or cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (or milk or 1 can of coconut milk)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425˚F. Using a large sharp knife, carefully remove the top and bottom of the squash and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds.
  2. Coat the cut-side of the squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the squash cut side up on a parchment-line baking sheet.
  3. Roast squash for 45 minutes or until fork tender. Set the squash aside and let it cool enough to handle.
  4. Using a large spoon (or ice cream scoop), scoop the squash out of the skin and set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven or saucepot, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat. Fry the sage for 1 minute or until the aroma fills your kitchen.
  6. Add the chopped onion and apple to the pot, and sauté for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds.
  7. Add the squash, broth, and nutmeg or cinnamon to the saucepan. The spices should release a fall aroma. Bring to a boil over medium-high stirring occasionally. Once at a boil, simmer over low heat for 20-30 minutes.
  8. Remove pan from the stove top and stir in the heavy cream. The soup should have a thick consistency but still be a bit chunky from the squash.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Purée the soup for a smooth consistency using an immersion blender or transfer to a traditional blender. If using a traditional blender, blend in batches, remembering not to fill the blender over 1/3 full. Remove the center insert to allow steam to escape and cover the hole with a kitchen towel to avoid splattering. Please use caution, as blending hot liquid is extremely dangerous!
  11. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Recipe inspiration from The Domestic Geek

2. Lasagna Soup

Who doesn’t love homemade lasagna? Better yet, make it in the form of the soup and you get both the cheesy pasta goodness of a baked lasagna, and the warmth and comfort of a soup. You can customize this recipe by using ground beef instead of sausage or chopped mushrooms to make it vegetarian. Enjoy!

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Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1lb Italian sausage, removed from its casing
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1lb farfalle pasta (or any short grain pasta)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup mozzarella
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large soup pot or a Dutch oven. Add onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes until soft and translucent, and try not to burn them!
  2. Add the Italian sausage, crumbling it with a spoon and cooking it until no longer pink.
  3. Add garlic, Italian seasoning and tomato paste. Cook for another minute stirring well.
  4. Add the tomato sauce, chicken broth and pasta. Bring mixture to a boil then cover, reducing heat to medium and cook for 12-15 minutes until pasta is al dente (meaning firm to the bite).
  5. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.
  6. Spoon soup into heat safe bowls. Top with freshly grated mozzarella and parmesan. Any cheese will work however, mozza and parm are the classic cheeses in any Italian lasagna.
  7. Optional: Preheat broiler. Place bowls of soup under the broiler for about 2 minutes or until cheese is melted, bubbly and golden brown.
  8. Top with ricotta cheese for a creamy texture and fresh basil for a spicy bite. Enjoy immediately.

Recipe inspiration from The Domestic Geek

If you have never made homemade soup before, now is the time to get in your kitchen and start cooking. If you live on campus and don’t have access to a kitchen, either bribe one of your friends to make a bowl of soup for you, or go out and taste Vancouver’s best soups. My personal favourite is Safeway’s Tuscan Tomato Bisque, which at only $2.99, fits well within a student’s budget.

Happy Soup Season!

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