‘Tis the Season For Soup

Most of the US has been cold for the last week or so, with the exception of Florida. My friend Jan pointed that out in a Facebook post. If you happen to be reading this from the back deck of your house in Florida and you’re enjoying a sunny day, you are still welcome here – we love you anyway – but this particular post is intended for those of us who are freezing our assets off lately.

When it’s cold outside, the last thing in the world I feel like eating is a salad. Salads are good, salads can be really healthy, but this is the time of year for something hot. Soup warms a body from the belly out. A former co-worker of mine used to make soup in the microwave of our breakroom with leftovers she’d brought from home. It always smelled delicious, and I never quite figured out how she did it. A little hot water, soy sauce, leftover chunks of meat, rice, vegetables, and a big dose of magic, I think.

Around our house, the big guy makes the soup.  I asked him for the recipe so I could share it with you.  He said, just put it all in the pot. It really is about that simple! You can easily customize it to your taste, and to use what you already have in the house.

Here’s the basic recipe.  The vegetables can be cut up to whatever size you like in your soup, they don’t need to be in teeny little pieces unless that is your family’s preference:

1 leek, chopped – or you can use a medium mild onion, or a couple of shallots
about 3 ribs of celery, chopped
a handful of baby carrots, chopped – or one full-size carrot
2 or 3 potatoes, chopped – we use the little red potatoes
1 can (15-ounce size) beans, drained and rinsed – white beans, Great Northerns, black beans, whatever you like
1 cup or more of diced ham or Canadian bacon – this is optional

Put all the goodies into a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add chicken broth and water, roughly half and half, to cover the vegetables, plus a little. Salt and pepper to your taste. Bring it to a boil, then turn down the heat and let it simmer until the potatoes are tender.

I love that this soup can be customized so every bowl you serve is different. Chunk up some leftover chicken or turkey and add it to one bowlful of soup for a little extra protein. We also like to add slices of leftover sausage, like Aidells chicken sausages. Sprinkle on some shredded cheese – we’ve used Cheddar, jack, and Parmesan and they are all good.

So, that’s it – put it all in the pot and within an hour you have a hot, filling, nourishing, and belly-warming soup. Bon appétit!

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