There is a chill in the air and I’ve seriously overindulged on Halloween candy. It’s officially Soup Season. It is time to stay home, cuddle up, and EAT SOUP! Ok, the chill in the air is a 72 degree high and everyone is pretty much wearing scarves and boots for looks right now. However, it will soon be legitimately cold, and if you don’t just mark a calendar day and say “It is winter now” then the Soup Season here is just too short. You probably don’t find that many people are as excited about soup as I am, but they should be. What’s not to love about soup?
Soup is super easy to make. It doesn’t matter if you are the best vegetable chopper, once the ingredients are in the soup you can’t tell if all the pieces are exact quarter inch dices. Some soups even call for throwing everything in the blender. Take that, all you sticklers for precisely chopped produce. Soup is a dish for novices and masters alike.
Soup is never boring. The possibilities are endless. Think Bubba in “Forest Gump”. There’s corn chowder, tomato bisque, chicken noodle, butternut squash, winter vegetable, Italian Wedding, minestrone, egg drop, chicken tortilla, broccoli cheddar, baked potato, gumbo…. I can do this all day.
Soup is a convenience food. It takes no more effort to cook a small pot than a large pot. You can feed a hoard as easily as feeding one, or you can cook like you are feeding a hoard and eat it yourself over several days. Once you’ve made the soup, you are just a bowl and a microwave away from a hot meal.
Soup is a budget stretcher. In fact, it is pretty difficult to make an expensive pot of soup. Usually, recipes call for small amounts of expensive ingredients like meat and dairy, and the vegetables that make up the base for most soups are some of the most inexpensive items in the produce section.
Soup helps you use everything in your fridge. It’s amazing what you might get when you throw root vegetables and some broken spaghetti in the pot. Forget food waste, last night’s chicken is today’s chicken noodle.
Soup can be really healthy. A good bouillabaisse has tons of vegetables and lean protein. It can be low calorie, and the broth keeps hold of all of the nutrients that you lose in other cooking methods.
Soup can be devilishly rich. Cream based soups have to be part of some evil plot by the fitness industry to make sure we have pounds to lose. How can anyone resist anything that ends in Chowder.
Soup makes you feel warm when it is really cold. Can’t you just see yourself sitting in your pj’s, wrapped up in a blanket, in the middle of winter with that hot steamy bowl sitting in front of you. There is that great feeling when you place your cold hands around the hot bowl and take a deep breath just to take in the warmth and the wonderful smell.
I think its fair to say that I love soup more than most. If you too love soup, you will probably enjoy my blog over the never few months. If you haven’t had much reason to be excited about it in the past, then my recipe for Spicy Sausage Gumbo should really get you in the mood.
Get in the kitchen this winter and tell your family “Soup’s On”.
Spicy Sausage Gumbo
4 links Spicy Italian Sausage (Sliced)
1 C. Rice (long grained white rice or your favorite long grain rice)
1 Medium White Onion (Chopped)
2 Celery Stalks (Diced)
1 Green Bell Pepper (Diced)
2 Carrots (Peeled & Chopped)
2 Cloves Garlic (Chopped)
1 Jalapeno (Seeded, Chopped)
1 can Diced Tomatoes
1 can Kidney Beans (drained)
2 tbsp Olive oil
12 C. Chicken Stock
2 tbsp Cajun Seasoning
1 Bay Leaf
- Chop all of your vegetables and set aside. You can give your vegetables a rough chop or if you like a more refined appearance dice each item into small even pieces.
- Heat your large soup pot, and add olive oil. Add all of your vegetables to the pot and saute until the onions begin to turn translucent.
- Slice the sausage, and add the sausage to the vegetables. Brown the sausage until it is nearly fully cooked.
- Add your stock, canned tomatoes, canned kidney beans, seasoning and bay leaf, and bring your soup to a boil. Let cook for approx. 10 min.
- 20 minutes before you are ready to serve, add your rice and maintain a low boil for the full 20 minutes.
- Check your soup to make sure the rice is fully cooked and that it is seasoned to your taste.
- Serve with good bread.
Notes: You can add chicken and shrimp to this soup. Chicken can be added in the same way the sausage is, or you can add already cooked and shredded chicken. Shrimp should be added about 3-5 minutes before you are ready to serve.
Your cooking liquid can also vary. You can use store bought stock as I did. You can make your own stock. You can also use canned broth or bullion and water. Use the method that fits your taste.
Cajun seasoning is a spicy season salt that is commonly used in Southern recipes. There are a many different brands, and they are really easy and inexpensive. If you don’t have it you use some of your ordinary spice cabinet ingredients to get the same result.
Cajun Seasoning: If I am going to make my own spice mixture, I will usually mix up a small jar full and then put it away for later use.
4 tbsp Salt
2 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Paprika
1 tbsp Granulated Garlic
1 tbsp Granulated Onion
“A first-rate soup is more creative than a second-rate painting.”