Saturday, February 13, 2016

Baby It's Cold Outside - Is It Soup Yet?

The title is two statements that certainly go together.  The weather is changing and you can't have enough homemade soup for these below zero Winter days.  I have several favorite recipes for soup and the easiest is the all-time favorite Vegetable Soup.  This soup is a combination of everything, excuse the pun, including the kitchen sink.

My Mom started out her vegetable soup with a small cut of chuck roast with diced onions and celery for flavor.  Cooking this down always gave the stock the most flavor.  As I became the Mom I took over and I always saved my leftover vegetables from dinner in a container in the freezer until I had enough to make soup.  After the chuck was simmered down and cut up into small pieces, I would add the potato cubes and sliced carrots.  I preferred baby carrots because they were smaller and I'm not fond of cooked carrots.  Then I would add the defrosted vegetables to the pot and simmer for about 2 hours.  The simmering time isn't written in stone but don't boil away your broth.  Close to the end of the simmering time just before serving I would add some diced tomato and a can of butter beans.  I'm particularly fond of butter beans and never, I mean never, use Lima beans.

I now have a short cut that eliminates the Chuck Roast method.  I still use the leftovers from a chuck roast but I've started using beef stock as my starter and I make less since I can now make it in my slow cooker.  I've been using this method and adding my vegetables for the past year.  The new crock pot makes my soup every bit as good as the ones I used to toil over and let simmer all day long on top of the stove.  The best part is I can let it cool down and store the crock pot liner in my refrigerator until I'm ready to put up my soup for the freezer because I've eaten enough of that particular soup for the time being.

My very favorite soup is Tortellini Soup, but this takes extra time to make because I follow the recipe to the T and don't skip anything on this recipe.  The result is one of the best tortellini soups this side of the Mississippi.  It's kind of like the vegetable soup with a little bit of a seasoned bite and pasta in it.

There are so many other soups that can be made and put up in the freezer for the long cold winter but these are my two favorites.