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Nourishing, filling comfort food in a bowl, soup satisfies on every level. In winter, soup warms the body and soothes the soul. 

You can feed one or many, load it up with leftovers or make a big batch from scratch and figure out ways to use it as the week unwinds -- as a topping for baked or mashed potatoes, rice or veggies. Add cooked pasta to leftover soup in a casserole dish, sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake it in a 350 F oven until bubbly. Or dollop it over buttermilk biscuits or cornbread.

Chicken Chili with Black Beans and Corn 

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes 
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 ounces) great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained 
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen corn 

Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken, bell pepper and onion; cook and stir 6 to 8 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned. Add paprika, cumin, garlic powder and red pepper; mix well. 

Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 20 minutes. Serves 8.

From McCormick & Company.

Spiced Vegetable Soup

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 large onions, diced, plus 1 large onion cut in half and thinly sliced into half-moons, separated
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 leeks, trimmed, cleaned and finely chopped
  • 3 boiling potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 5 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 3 teaspoons hot pepper paste, such as harissa
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (14- to 15- 1/2-ounce) cans chickpeas (reserve liquid plus a couple of handfuls of chickpeas to garnish)
  • 1 large zucchini, finely diced
  • 3 1/2 ounces feta cheese
  • Herb oil

To make herb oil: Place 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, good handful each of parsley, dill, cilantro and shelled pistachios, squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste in bowl and blitz with a hand blender until mixture is finely chopped and the consistency of pesto. If you need to loosen mixture, add a bit more oil.

Heat large saucepan over medium heat; add enough olive oil to coat pan. Add butternut squash, diced onions, garlic, leeks and potatoes; cook, without browning, until vegetables soften slightly, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add tomatoes, cumin, cinnamon, paprika and hot pepper paste; stir to evenly coat vegetables. Cover vegetables completely with water, add at least 4 teaspoons salt and black pepper. Stir and cook at gentle boil until squash is tender when poked with a knife, about 30 minutes.

Puree mixture in a food processor or blender until even and smooth. Once smooth, add chickpeas and liquid; stir well. Adjust consistency of soup with additional water if desired; adjust seasoning if needed. Cook an additional 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add zucchini; cook 20 more minutes.

Meanwhile, drizzle olive oil into frying pan set over high heat; fry sliced onion until browned and crispy. Add reserved chickpeas; brown. Remove with slotted spoon; set aside. 

Pour soup into bowls; crumble feta on top, then drizzle with herb oil. Top with crispy fried onions and chickpeas. Serves 10 to 12.

Adapted from Sabrina Ghayour’s “Persiana.”

Black Bean Soup with Chorizo Meatballs and Poblanos

  • 1 pound Mexican chorizo sausages, casings removed (or 1 pound bulk Mexican chorizo sausage)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, about
  • 1 or 2 medium poblano peppers, chopped in small dice
  • 4 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
  • 1 can (14 ounces) black beans, drained, rinsed
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, cubed

Form chorizo into small meatballs, using about 1 teaspoon sausage for each. Place on foil-lined baking sheet; bake at 350 F until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven; blot meatballs with paper towels to remove excess fat.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large saucepan. Add onion and garlic; season with generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion softens, 5 minutes. Stir in poblanos; cook until beginning to soften, 3-5 minutes.

Stir in broth, black beans and meatballs; heat to simmer. Taste for seasoning, adding salt if needed. Serve, garnished with cilantro and avocado. Makes 4 servings.

Hearty Beef Stew with Roasted Winter Vegetables

  • 4 cups cubed carrots, butternut squash, parsnips or sweet potatoes (cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine or apple juice
  • 3 cups prepared mashed potatoes

Preheat oven to 425 F. Toss vegetables and onion with 1 tablespoon olive oil on large baking sheet. Roast 20 minutes or until vegetables are golden.

Meanwhile, cook and stir beef in remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in large skillet on medium-high heat 5 minutes or until beef is browned. Add roasted vegetables, chicken broth, bay leaves, thyme, pepper, salt and wine. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened. Remove bay leaves from stew before serving. Serve stew over mashed potatoes, if desired.

From McCormick & Company.


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