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Homemade soups sure to delight

By Staff | Sep 29, 2017

On a cold night, a bowl of hot and creamy Alida’s clam chowder may be just what the doctor ordered.


GRIT Magazine

What better way to spend a cold winter’s day than simmering a pot of homemade soup? The comforting aroma permeates the house, with an appetizing scent that evokes memories of Grandma or Mom and all that is good. Knowing that a hot bowl of soup will be ready at suppertime is soothing to the spirit.

Homemade soups burst with flavor and are full of love and life-giving energy. They are made with concern for family health and sustenance – they warm when you’re cold and offer a lift when you’re down. Toss some vegetables and herbs into the mix, and your winter potion will be positively packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber – a veritable health food extravaganza in every spoonful.

Don’t spare the garlic, as experts say it helps to detoxify the body and strengthen the immune system. Celery acts as an antioxidant and a sedative, and helps reduce high blood pressure. Parsley, an iron-rich herb, according to studies, aids digestion, and black pepper acts as an antibiotic to help ward off cold and flu symptoms. Studies have shown that onions help prevent blood clots and high blood pressure, and also are good for relieving congestion.

Serve Beef and Barley Soup tonight, and savor the wonderful blend of flavors and textures.

A little soup goes a long way to getting you through the cold months more easily. Keep a stockpot simmering on the stove, and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.

Alida’s clam chowder

A thick and creamy soup, this is my mother’s recipe, and she still makes it. Yields 3 quarts.

1 pound bacon, diced

3 large onions, chopped

What a way to serve leftover turkey! Try a pot of Evelyn’s turkey swoup, and surprise your family with a new favorite.

4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 cups water

3 small cans minced clams

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

Pinch thyme

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

4 cups milk

1 can evaporated milk

In skillet, fry bacon until crispy. Add onions and cook until browned.

Add potatoes and water, and cook until potatoes are tender. Stir in clams, pepper, sugar, and thyme, and let simmer.

In separate pan, over low heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour. Add milk a little at a time while continuing to whisk until white sauce starts to bubble around edges. Pour white sauce into clam mixture and let cool.

Just before serving, stir in evaporated milk. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, or until heated through. Do not boil, as it will ruin the texture of the soup.

Diane’s homemade chicken soup

I make this soup with leftover chicken from a roast chicken and use the stock in the roasting pan. You could use thighs or drumsticks and cook them for an hour in a stockpot for a larger pot of soup. Yields 4 to 6 servings.

Leftover chicken and reserved stock

2 to 3 stalks celery

6 to 8 carrots, sliced

2 tablespoons parsley

Black pepper to taste

2 cans chicken stock

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

Pick chicken off bone and place in 3-quart pot with stock. Add enough water to fill pot.

Place remaining ingredients in pot and let simmer until vegetables are tender, about 2 hours.

Polish chicken soup

This was my Polish grandmother’s chicken soup recipe, which I still make. The whole allspice adds a unique flavor that makes this soup delicious. I prepare it in a pressure cooker rather than cooking it all day. It has a lot of onion and celery, which also adds to its unique taste. If you have a cold, it will definitely help clear your head. Yields 4 servings

6 chicken thighs or drumsticks, cooked and meat pulled from bone

3 large onions, chopped

2 to 3 stalks celery, chopped

3 to 4 whole allspice

1 pound wide egg noodles

Black pepper to taste

Place chicken, onions, celery, and whole allspice in 3- or 4-quart pressure cooker. Add enough water to fill pressure cooker three-quarters full. After pressure cooker starts to jiggle, cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain in colander.

Place a serving of noodles in individual soup bowls and ladle broth over top. Sprinkle with black pepper to taste.

NOTE: If you don’t have a pressure cooker, soup can be heated in a slow cooker or simmered in a stockpot for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Evelyn’s turkey soup

This is my mother-in-law’s recipe, and at age 81, she still makes it on snowy days. Yields 6 to 8 servings.

2 turkey wings or drumsticks

2 to 3 large onions, chopped

1 bunch celery, sliced or chunked

1 pound carrots, sliced or chunked

1 large can crushed tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

2 to 3 tablespoons parsley

2 tablespoons poultry seasoning

1 to 2 teaspoons black pepper

1/2 cup uncooked instant rice

1 can green beans, optional

Place turkey in large stockpot and cover with water. Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until meat falls off bone. Remove skin and bone from pot.

Add onions, celery, carrots, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, poultry seasoning, black pepper, and rice. Let simmer for an additional 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until vegetables are tender. Add green beans and heat through.

Ed’s French onion soup

My dad liked to make onion soup on Sundays and when we were having company. Use homemade chicken stock if possible, although canned works fine. Add two or three whole allspice to the chicken stock and let simmer for a little while to give this soup a unique flavor. Yields 4 to 6 servings.

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive or canola oil

4 large onions, sliced

4 to 6 cups chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Dash cayenne pepper

Dash Worcestershire sauce

Parmesan cheese to taste

French bread, stale

Gruyre or American cheese

Melt butter and oil in large frying pan. Add onion slices and cook over low heat until translucent.

In ovenproof saucepan, combine chicken stock, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in onion slices. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to taste.

Place in 200-degree oven for 1 to 2 hours to allow flavors to blend.

Place slice of French bread in bottom of individual soup bowls, ladle soup over bread, and top with cheese.

NOTE: If preferred, soup can be made in a slow cooker, cooked on Low for 1 to 2 hours.

Audria’s hamburger vegetable soup

We got this recipe from a neighbor when I was a child. I think of her every time I make it. Yields 4 to 6 servings.

1 pound hamburger

1 large onion, chopped

2 pounds canned tomatoes (4 cups)

2 potatoes, diced

3 to 4 carrots, sliced

2 stalks celery, sliced

1 cup shredded cabbage

1/4 cup uncooked instant rice

1/4 teaspoon basil

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1 bay leaf

1 clove garlic

1 teaspoon black pepper

Brown hamburger and onion in stockpot.

Stir in remaining ingredients. Add enough water to cover, and stir to combine.

Simmer until vegetables and rice are tender.

Beef and barley soup

I like to make this soup when we have leftover steak. Yields 4 to 6 servings

1 pound steak, cubed

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 cloves garlic

2 bay leaves

1 pound carrots, sliced

1 can (16 ounces) crushed tomatoes

1 to 1 1/2 cups barley

Place steak in stockpot and cover with water. Simmer until meat is tender. Do not drain; liquid will serve as beef stock.

Add thyme, black pepper, garlic, bay leaves, and carrots. Simmer for 1 hour, or until carrots are tender.

Add tomatoes and barley, and simmer for 1 additional hour, or until barley is tender. Add additional water as needed while soup is simmering.

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