Dining With Lil : What’s Your Fall Comforting Soup?

By Lil Nickelson

By the first Saturday in October fall had come upon us here in the Northeast. As I closed my windows down to a small crack, and now I’m ready to start fixing some soups. I like to start my fall days with a cup of warm soup and water for breakfast.

Last week I made two vegetarian soups and the one I want to share with you this month is for Roasted Vegetable Bisque that was created by Chef Brian MacKenzie at The Inn in New London, NH. The enticing aromas that will permeate your house as the vegetables are roasting in the oven will make you eager to sample once the soup is done. You strain the vegetable solids out of the soup, but there is a cup of heavy cream in it (that’s what makes it a bisque) that makes the finished product silky smooth to eat. If you prefer it less rich than decrease the cream and add water or vegetable stock.

Roasted Vegetable Bisque

Ingredients:

2 zucchini, sliced
2 large yellow squash, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into small chunks
4 large tomatoes, cut in half
2 medium onions, peeled and cut in half
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream, or more to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425º.

In a large bowl, combine all the vegetables.

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sugar, salt, and pepper to taste.

Divide among two cookie sheets or roasting pans.

Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice, or until the vegetables are tender and deep brown around the edges of the pans.Remove from the oven. Transfer the vegetables to a stockpot.

Add water to the level of the vegetables—about 4 to 5 cups. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Purée the mixture in a food processor or blender. Strain.

Add heavy cream.

Season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary, and the balsamic vinegar.

Another soup that I love to have any time of the day is good old chicken soup. Sometimes I combine it with fine or broad egg noodles or yellow rice or just have it plain. I have several different recipes, but here’s my favorite

Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
1 celery stalk, cut into thirds
1 whole chicken
3 quarts cold water
3 garlic cloves, mashed
3 fresh parsley sprigs
8 to 10 whole black peppercorns
3 whole cloves
1 to 2 bay leafs
½ teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium celery stalks, diced
3 fresh dill sprigs (optional)

Directions:

In the stock pot, scatter the quartered onions, carrots and celery cut in thirds.

Combine the chicken and water into the pot, and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered 1 hour, occasionally skimming foam and fat off surface.

Add the garlic, parsley, peppercorns, cloves, bay leafs and thyme. Simmer 2 hours more.

Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and spatula. When cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones and return to stockpot.

Shred meat and set aside. Simmer broth 1 hour; strain through a fine sieve or strainer; discard solids and skim off any fat.

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add diced carrots and celery and cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add to broth with shredded chicken. Makes 6 servings.

As always readers please post your responses to recipes that I have shared that you have tasted or tested. Also, include photos and recipes you’ve cooked in the comment section of the site.

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