A Hospitality Portfolio: Soups
I love soup. I really love soup when it is chilly outside. When we lived in Dallas we started a Christmas Eve tradition of making the Feliz Navidad Tortilla Soup and a Christmas Salad with easy field greens, mandarin oranges and pomegranate seeds. Our daughter Mackenzie makes her special dressing olive oil, balsamic vinegar a dab of honey with a splash of red wine vinegar. It is fantastic with Tortilla Soup!
Soup is the perfect choice for casual hospitality—just add bread and dessert for a wonderful, warming meal. Soups that can be made ahead and frozen or just reheated area a bonus. Here are four of my very favorites.
Feliz Navidad Tortilla Soup
Autumn Squash Soup
Warm Baked Potato Soup
Wild Rice Soup (even low fat!)
Feliz Navidad Tortilla Soup
Tammy Maltby and Anne Christian Buchanan, The Christmas Kitchen: The Gathering Place for Making Memories (Nashville: Howard, 2009).
4 cups chicken broth
3 whole skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total)
½ cup chopped onion
1 cup corn
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. cooking oil
1 14½-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 4-ounce can diced green chiles (double this amount if you like)
½ cup snipped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp. snipped fresh oregano or 2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
6 5½-inch corn tortillas
1½ cup (approximately 6 oz.) shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese
1 8-ounce container of lowfat sour cream
1 avocado, cubed
Place broth and chicken in large saucepan or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Remove chicken from broth (reserve broth). Let stand until cool enough to handle. Finely shred chicken and set aside.
In same saucepan, cook onion, cumin, and garlic in 1 Tbsp. hot oil until onion is tender but not brown. Stir in broth, undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn, peppers, cilantro, and oregano. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in chicken; heat through.
Cut tortillas in half, then cut them crosswise into ½-inch strips. In a heavy medium skillet, heat 1/4 inch oil. Fry strips in hot oil, half at a time, about 1 minute or until crisp and light brown. I like to add a little garlic salt and pap pepper. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Divide tortilla strips among 6 bowls. Ladle soup over tortilla strips. Sprinkle each serving with pepper jack cheese, a spoonful of sour cream, and cubes of fresh avocado. Serve immediately. Makes 6 hearty servings—but I like to double the recipe and freeze in 2-3 cups servings.
Autumn Squash Soup
This rich soup tastes like autumn to me. I love its warm, velvety taste and texture. For a dynamite presentation, serve it in miniature pumpkin shells with a dollop of sour cream or thick yogurt, some butter croutons, and a little crumbled-up bacon—or hollow out a big pumpkin to serve as a soup tureen.
3 acorn squash
3 carrots, scraped and sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 cup chopped tart green apple (such as Granny Smith)
3-1/2 cups canned chicken broth, divided
1/3 cup apple cider
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ cup cooking sherry or ½ cup additional cider with 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp.s peeled and grated fresh ginger root
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. paprika
1 pinch ground allspice
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup half-and-half (I use fat free)
Fresh thyme for garnish
Preheat oven to 350º F. Cut squashes in half and remove seeds. Place on shallow pan, add about ½” of water to keep it from drying out, and bake for about 55 minutes, until soft. Allow to cool, then scoop out the pulp.
Place carrot, onion, and apple in ½ cup water in a saucepan. Bring to boil, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, until softened. Drain and mix with squash pulp, 1 cup of the chicken broth, and the apple cider. Puree mixture in a blender or food processor, processing in batches if necessary. Place puree in a slow cooker or large saucepan.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add flour and stir till smooth. Cook over medium heat about a minute, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbly. Add pureed squash and carrots, along with remaining 2½ cups chicken broth, cooking sherry (or cider and vanilla), ginger, salt, pepper, paprika, allspice, and nutmeg. Heat the soup for a few minutes. Stir in half-and-half just before serving.
To serve in pumpkin shells: Cut off tops of miniature pumpkins (1 per serving) and scoop out pulp and seeds. Place on a cookie sheet and warm in the oven (200º F) for about 10 minutes. Ladle in soup and top with sour cream, chives, croutons, and bacon.
Warm Baked Potato Soup
What you will love about this recipe is the ease of it…and if you can add more or fewer veggies depending on what you have. You can delete the cayenne if you don’t do spicy—but it’s really good.
8 slices bacon (I use turkey bacon)
1/2 cup butter (I generally use only 1/3 cup)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups milk (lowfat is fine) or evaporated milk
2 cups chicken broth (or 1 cup broth and 1 cup white wine)
5 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 green onions, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (I love using jalapeno jack cheese!)
1 cup sour cream (light is good)
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
As much cayenne you can handle (I love the spice!)
Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium heat until browned. Drain, crumble, and set aside. In a stockpot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in milk, chicken broth and wine, whisking constantly until thickened. Stir in potatoes and veggies. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Stir a few times while cooking. Mix in most of the bacon and cheese (saving a little for garnish), sour cream, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted. Top with additional bacon and cheese.
My Brother Dean’s Fabulous Wild Rice Soup
You’d never guess this creamy, comforting soup is lowfat, but it is. It’s also absolutely delicious.
1 cup uncooked wild rice
3 cups water
½ tsp. salt
Optional: 2 Tbsp. wild rice seasoning (available from specialty stores or online)
½ cup finely chopped onion
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
Two 10¾ ounce cans cream of mushroom soup, undiluted (I use reduced fat, reduced sodium variety)
4 cups skim milk
1 can nonfat evaporated milk (not condensed!)
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
¼ cup water
3/4 finely grated carrots
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
½ cup slivered almonds
2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
5 chicken bouillon cubes
Optional: 2 potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
Minced parsley to garnish
Combine wild rice, water, salt, and wild rice seasoning (if using). Bring to boil, lower heat, and cook 45 to 50 minutes, until water is gone. While rice is cooking, saute onion in butter. Add soup, skim milk, and evaporated milk. Combine flour, cornstarch, and water, then whisk into milk mixture. Add carrots, celery, mushrooms, pepper, almonds (if using), chicken, rice, bouillon cubes, and potatoes (if using). Heat to boiling, reduce heat, and simmer 20-30 minutes. Sprinkle with minced parsley.
Feliz Navidad Torilla Soup Featured in The Christmas Kitchen by Tammy Maltby with Anne Christian Buchanan. All rights reserved.