Sunday, November 18, 2018

Soup For Cold Weather and Colds

Soup - what a wonderful thing it is! I've always loved soup. As a child my favorite was chicken with rice from the Campbell's Soup can. I was pretty fond of Campbell's Cream of Chicken, too. By the time I was a teen I loved having their Bean with Bacon canned soup or Split Pea for breakfast. It seemed like a fine alternative to cold cereal or gloppy oatmeal. Of course I thought tuna salad sandwich was a fine alternative, too, so my family probably despaired of my taste buds at the time!

The best soup was my Mom's split pea soup and her turkey soup. I suspect that her bean with bacon would have been the best, too, but we stuck with the stuff in the cans for that soup. Later she made a white bean with ham hock, tomatoes and cabbage that might be my all-time favorite soup (recipe below).

The split pea soup takes a while to make since you not only need to cook the dried split peas to tender, but then cook the whole soup long enough for it to thicken some. I like mine pretty thich and served with croutons made from stale bread. For me and essential ingredient is carrots. There is something about the bright orange flecks in the pea green soup that is very charming. Of course sometimes they cook down so much while the soup thickens that you can't really see them. More carrots?

The turkey soup is usually a multiple-day affair. We usually had a pretty large turkey on Thanksgiving because there were so many of us. There was always a battle about who would get to snap the wishbone, too. It took a day or two of grilled turkey sandwiches and other delights (remember, turkey is probably my favorite food after chocolate) to get down to the carcass.

You start with the carcass from the roast turkey when you have finished with Thanksgiving feast, day-after sandwiches, day-after that turkey a la king or turkey tetrazzini, turkey pot pie, or similar main dish with cooked, cubed turkey, and so on until all you have left are the bones. Make sure there is not stuffing hiding in the crevices of the carcass. The carcass goes into a large stock pot with plenty of water, a whole onion, whole peppercorns. carrots and celery, and salt. After a good long simmer the pot then gets chilled overnight. I like to removed the spent carcass and all the other goodies before chilling, but I can remember times in Mom's kitchen where I was pulling bones out of the chilled, jellied broth...messy!

Once you have the broth you can make any kind of turkey soup you like, but my favorite is still with rice and veggies, probably because that's how Mom made it.

The Country Bean and Cabbage soup is a wonderful, fragrant, warming, stick-to-your-ribs kind of soup that is perfect on a chilly day. Mom discovered this recipe after I had left home, but it was shared around the family and is well worth your time to make. (See second recipe)

There are lots of places were chicken soup is regarded as a kind of medicine for those with a cold or the flu. Don't really believe that it is a cure, but it does seem to help the sick person feel a bit better. Not sure if that is because of the warmth of the soup, the healing properties of a good chicken broth, or because homemade soup is a creation of love. I've made this soup for Sweetie many times and also for my children. Once when Katherine was in college I made some and took it to her, a drive of over three hours each way. She claims that it made the difference and she got better fast, but that may have been just to get me to make more. I also recently visited her in LA and made some when I found out that she had a cold...and that way I got to eat some, too.

Get Well Chicken Soup - photo at top of post
Serves 4 - 6

1 small to medium onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced (use more if you like)
1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
1 cup thinly sliced celery
2 cans chicken broth or 2 cups home made broth
1.5 - 2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (leave unpeeled if you wish)
1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped or 1 can already cut tomatoes
2 chicken breasts, cut into bit sized dice
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup frozen peas

In large soup pot, heat grape seed or canola oil until hot (olive oil is not great to use where the temperature will be hot enough to saute') add the onion and garlic and saute' a few minutes until the onion is translucent. Watch to make sure the garlic doesn't burn.

Add the celery and stir to coat with oil, then lower heat to medium and cook 2 minutes.

Add the broth, potatoes, tomatoes, chicken pieces, rosemary, thyme, and pepper. Stir well, cover, and bring to a simmer. Simmer about a half hour, until the potatoes are fork tender.

Remove from heat and stir in the peas. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. Uncover and serve after tasting for seasoning and making corrections if necessary.

Country Bean and Cabbage Soup

2 1/3 cup dry pea beans (Great Northern, white beans)
1 3-lb. cooked picnic ham (smoked pork shoulder), bone in
1 celery stalk, sliced
2 carrots, quartered and sliced
5 sprigs parsley + 2 bay leaves tied together
2 medium onion, sliced, plus 1 onion stuck with
3 whole cloves
4 garlic cloves, mashed
½ teaspoon EACH dried thyme & ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 can tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 small head cabbage, sliced in ¼ inch slices

Cover beans with cold water and let stand overnight. Drain, cover with fresh water and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and soak for 1 hour. 

Drain and rinse, and return beans to the pot. Add ham. Add enough water to cover the beans. Bring to a low simmer and simmer 15 minutes. Add the vegetables, herbs, onions and seasonings to pot. Cover and simmer 1½  hours. 

Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, and simmer ½  hour. If tomatoes stay whole, chop them up with a spoon. 

Add the cabbage and simmer ½ hour. 

Make a roux of 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons flour, cooked in a small pan until light brown. Add it to soup. Remove herb bouquet and whole onion. Simmer 15 minutes. 

Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Serves 8 - 10.

Turkey Soup

1 roast turkey carcass
2 quarts water
2 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 celery stalks, diced
1 carrot, chunked
1 medium onion, sliced
1 bay leaf
few sprigs parsley

Scrape any stuffing from the turkey and rinse carcass well. Put carcass in a soup kettle with the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 2 hours. 

Strain, chill and remove fat from surface. Pick meat from bones and add to soup along with ¼ cup raw rice or leftover cooked rice. 

Add vegetables as desired. Cook 15 minutes or until rice is tender. 

Serve hot. Makes 1½ quarts soup.


  1. Marian9:12 PM

    So many delicious memories! We have soup for dinner three or four times a week, and I just finished the last of the turkey soup. I'll have to try the country bean and cabbage next. I'd forgotten about that one. Thanks!

  2. I love soup, too, although Sweetie likes something more substantial for dinner. I'm buying some split peas tomorrow to make the split pea soup. We have been having glorious rain and lots of it. The soil was so dry that even with heavy downpours there is little standing all soaks in. Thunder and lightening this morning! Soup is the perfect rainy day weather meal. Sending you cross-country love Marian.