Soups shake the autumn chills

Published 3:40 pm Saturday, October 21, 2017

This week I am giving two recipes for soup that you will enjoy. I got excited when I read my new issue of ‘Southern Living’ and their take on seven soup recipes that looked really delicious. I have tried two of them and think they are worth giving to you to try. There is nothing better that seeing a pot of soup on the stove or in a slow cooker to take away the autumn chill. It always seems better the next day also!

From ‘Southern Living’ October 2017.

White Bean, Fennel, and Italian Sausage Soup with Parmesan Toasts

Serves 8

1 lb. mild Italian sausage, casings removed

2 cups thinly sliced yellow onion (from 1 medium)

1 cup thinly sliced celery (from about 3 stalks)

1 cup thinly sliced fennel (from 1 small fennel bulb)

3 garlic cloves, chopped (about 1 Tbsp.)

½ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. crushed red pepper

1 tsp. black pepper, divided

¼ cup dry white wine

6 cups chicken stock

2 (15-oz.) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained

16 (1/4-inch) French baguette slices (from 1 large baguette)

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about ¼ cup)

Chopped fresh rosemary

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add sausage, and cook, stirring to crumble, until no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain, leaving 1 tablespoon of drippings with sausage in Dutch oven. Add onion, celery, fennel, garlic, salt, red pepper, and ½ teaspoon of the black pepper. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables have softened about 5 minutes. Add white wine, and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven. Stir in chicken stock, beans, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes.

Preheat broiler with oven rack 6 inches from heat. Place baguette slices on a rimmed baking sheet, and brush 1 side of each piece with olive oil. Sprinkle evenly with cheese and remaining ½ teaspoon pepper. Broil until cheese is melted and beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from oven.

Ladle 1 ½ cups soup into each of 8 bowls; sprinkle with chopped rosemary, and serve with toasts.


Prepare in the slow cooker:

Creamy Potato and Ham Hock Slow Cooker Soup

Serves 8

4 ½ lb. russet potatoes, chopped (about 10 cups)

2 lb. smoked ham hocks (about 3 ham hocks)

2 cups chopped yellow onion (from 1 medium onion)

1 cup chopped celery (from 3 stalks)

2 Tbsp. minced garlic cloves (about 4 garlic cloves)

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme

2 ½ tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. black pepper

5 cups chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

Chopped fresh chives

Hot sauce (We prefer Tabasco.)

Place potatoes, ham hocks, onion, celery, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a 7-quart slow cooker; add broth, and stir to combine. Cover and cook on HIGH until potatoes are tender; 4 hours. Remove ham hocks, and place on a plate to cool 15 minutes.

Puree soup in slow cooker with an immersion blender (can do in a regular blender) until it is creamy but whole pieces of potato are still visible. Add cream, and stir. Once ham hocks are cool enough to handle, remove all meat and chop; discard fat and bone. Add meat to soup, and stir to combine.

Ladle soup in bowls, top with chopped chives and a sash of hot sauce. I think the Tabasco really topped this soup off superbly. It would not have been the same without it!

Heard the weather man this morning predicting near freezing in a couple weeks; so use these two soups to heat up the now cool/cold weather.