Simple, soul-satisfying soup suppers

01 Dec Simple, soul-satisfying soup suppers

  

 
in the Great Falls Tribune LIFE section
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
 

Finishing the last luscious bite of his pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, my dad set his dessert fork down, sighed and said, “Well, the season is upon us.”

And so it is.

Just as soon as the Thanksgiving leftovers are cleared from the table and tucked away in the refrigerator, thoughts jump to Christmas.

The hustle and bustle of lists to make, trees to put up and decorate, gifts to find and wrap, holiday baked goods to make, Christmas cards to write … honestly, it’s a lot to cram into one joy-filled month.

I don’t know about you, but when the holidays roll around, I find myself promising that this year will be different. I’ll simplify. I’ll slow down. I won’t do as much. I won’t succumb to the chaos that Christ­mas can become.

One surefire way to slow down during the hectic holiday season is to put a pot of soup on the stove to simmer, bake some homemade bread and call it supper.

Save time and provide a whole­some meal by planning a soup and bread supper on a busy day. Mini­mal ingredients and prep time yield­ing sumptuous soups and freshly-baked bread are sure to please you and your hungry holiday helpers.



THAI CURRY COCONUT SHRIMP SOUP WITH SWEET CORN MUFFINS

 14-ounce can coconut milk (Asian foods aisle)

 3 to 4 tsp. Thai red curry paste (Asian foods aisle)

 3 cups chicken stock

 30 EZ Peel large uncooked shrimp, (from the seafood case) thawed accord­ing to package instruc­tions

 ½ cup fresh basil, chopped

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together coconut milk, red curry paste and chicken stock until smooth. Add more curry paste at this point, if desired.

Bring to a simmer and add shrimp, cooking just until shrimp turn pink and opaque, just a few minutes. Do not overcook shrimp.

Ladle hot soup into individual bowls and garnish with chopped basil. Serves six. Serve with hot Sweet Corn Muffins.

You could add water chestnuts and baby corn for more variety, too.

 
SWEET CORN MUFFINS
 1¼ cups flour

 ½ cup sugar

 ¾ cup yellow cornmeal

 1 tbsp. baking powder

 ¼ tsp. salt

 1 egg, beaten

 1 cup half and half

 ¼ cup oil

 1 cup corn kernels

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray mini muffin tins with baking spray.

In a medium mixing bowl, com­bine dry ingredients. Add remain­ing ingredients and stir until com­bined. Fill prepared muffin tins about two-thirds full with batter.

Bake until golden brown, eight to 10 minutes. Serve with Thai Curry Coconut Shrimp Soup. Makes 24.


CREAM OF WILD MUSHROOM SOUP WITH CAYENNE PARMESAN STRAWS

 4 tbsp. olive oil

 ¼ cup shallots, minced

 2 cloves garlic, minced

 2 cups wild mushrooms, coarsely chopped

 1 quart chicken stock

 2 tbsp. freshly snipped thyme, leaves only

 1 cup cream

 ½ cup sherry

In a medium saucepan over medi­um heat, heat olive oil and saute shallots, garlic and mushrooms until softened.

Add chicken stock, thyme, cream and sherry and stir to combine.

Bring to a gentle simmer and sim­mer for 15 minutes.

Serve hot with Cayenne Parme­san Cheese Straws (recipe follows). Serves six.

 
CAYENNE PARMESAN STRAWS
 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

 ¾ cup flour

 ¼ tsp. cayenne

 Þ tsp. salt

 ¼ cup butter, cut in small cubes

 1 tsp. cold water

 1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400°.

In a medium mixing bowl, com­bine dry ingredients. Using pastry blender, cut in butter until incorpo­rated. Add egg and water and mix into soft dough, but not sticky. Add more water if necessary.

Roll dough out on lightly floured board to ¼ inch thickness.

Cut into 8-inch-by­

¼-inch strips. Carefully remove from floured board and twist into straws. Place on parchment­covered baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 min­utes until lightly browned. Makes 24 8-inch straws. Serve hot with Cream of Wild Mush­room Soup.

  

 

ROASTED SWEET POTATO SOUP

 3 medium sweet potatoes

 ½ cup half and half

 2 tbsp. molasses

 3 cups chicken stock (plus addi­tional, if desired)

 1 tbsp. vinegar

 1 tsp. ground coriander

 ½ cup mini marshmallows

Scrub sweet potatoes and pierce with paring knife or fork.

Microwave for about 14 min­utes, until sweet potatoes are baked through.

Let cool.

In a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat, whisk togeth­er remaining ingredients, except for the marshmallows.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out baked sweet potato flesh and add to soup ingredients, discarding skins.

Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree soup, adding additional chicken stock to thin, if desired. Or alternatively, puree in blender and return to saucepan.

When ready to serve, preheat oven to broil.

Ladle soup into individual bowls and sprinkle mini marsh­mallows on top. Set bowls on baking sheet and broil until marshmallows are golden brown. Serve hot with Cheddar Bacon Chive Biscuits.

CHEDDAR BACON CHIVE BISCUITS

 3½ cups flour

 ¼ cup sugar

 2 tbsp. baking powder

 ½ cup butter, cut into small cubes

 1 cup buttermilk

 1 tbsp. chives

 ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated

 6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking powder.

Using pastry blender, blend in butter until incorporated.

Add chives, cheese and bacon and mix. Pour in buttermilk, ¼ cup at a time, mixing after each addition until you have a soft dough. You may not use all of the buttermilk.

On a lightly floured board, roll dough ¾ inch thick. Cut with bis­cuit cutter and place ½ inch apart on parchment-covered baking sheets.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes until lightly browned. Makes 24 biscuits.

Serve hot with Roasted Sweet Potato Soup.

We filled leftover biscuits with cheesy scrambled eggs the next morning, making quick delicious breakfast sandwiches.

 
George is a writer specializing in recipe development, food writing and photography. Contact her at sydnegeorge@hotmail.com

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