Sausage, Bacon and Bean Soup

Sausage bacon soup


1 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
5 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
28 ounces canned diced tomatoes, undrained
4 cups vegetable broth
14 ounces canned kidney beans (or beans of your choice), rinsed and drained
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups peeled and coarsely chopped potato
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


Cook sausage in a Dutch oven or large soup pot until nicely browned.  Remove from pot and set aside.

Add bacon to pot and cook until crisp.  Remove bacon and set aside, reserving 1 tablespoon of drippings in pot.  Add onion, green pepper and garlic to pot and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add beans, undrained tomatoes, vegetable broth, tomato sauce, bay leaf, seasoned salt, thyme and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.  Add chopped potatoes, cover and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.

Add reserved sausage and bacon, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Remove bay leaf.  Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Veggie Cheese Soup

Veggie Cheese Soup


8 tablespoons butter
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, scraped and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup cauliflower, chopped
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup flour
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 1/2 cups milk
4 ounces shredded pepper jack cheese
4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salt to taste
sliced almonds, toasted


Melt butter in large Dutch oven or soup pot.  Add celery, carrots, onion, cauliflower, broccoli and garlic and cook over medium heat until vegetables are crisp-tender (4-5 minutes).  Add flour all at once, stirring until smooth.  Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Add vegetable broth and cook over medium heat until soup is thickened and bubbly.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add white pepper, milk and cheeses and stir to combine.  Check seasoning and add salt to taste.  Cook over low heat for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

Ladle into bowls and top with sliced almonds.

Winter Squash and Apple Soup

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup


1 large butternut squash, peeled and seeded
9 ounces carrots
1 medium onion
1 garlic clove
3 Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup butter
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground pepper


Cube the butternut squash.  Peel and slice the carrots.  Peel and chop the onion.  Peel and crush the garlic.  Peel, core and cut up the apples.

In a large pan, melt the butter and saute the onion to soften.  Stir in the garlic, squash and carrots and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the apples and stock.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Transfer soup to a blender and puree until smooth and golden.  Transfer back to pan and add salt and pepper to taste.  Briefly reheat.

Serve with fresh croutons and cracked black pepper.

* Note: To increase the richness of this soup (and calories), add 1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream during the final heating step.

Mushroom and Chestnut Soup

Mushroom and Chestnut Soup


1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 pound white button mushrooms, stems trimmed and chopped
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, stems trimmed and chopped
3 1/2 ounces roasted chestnuts (jar or vacuum-packed), finely chopped
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup half and half
chives, chopped
truffle oil (optional)


Soak the porcini mushrooms in 2 cups of boiling water for 15 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan and add the onion, salt and pepper.  Saute for 4 minutes and then add the garlic.  Saute for 2 minutes and add the fresh mushrooms and chestnuts.  Saute for an additional minute and add the vegetable stock.

Drain the porcini mushrooms, reserving the liquid.  Rinse and chop the porcini mushrooms and add them to the soup.  Strain the reserved liquid through cheesecloth (or paper towels) to catch any grit and then add the liquid to the soup.  Simmer for 20 minutes.

Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and puree.  Return the soup to the pan and add the cream.  Heat until warmed through.  Drizzle with truffle oil, if desired

Advance Preparation:  Soup may be refrigerated for up to 2 days and may be frozen for up to 4 weeks.

Meatball and Caramelized Onion Soup

Meatball and Kale Soup


1/2 pound kale, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 sweet onions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups chicken stock
24 small meatballs
Parmesan Reggiano cheese, shaved for garnish


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Add the kale and cook for 4 minutes.  Quickly drain and rinse in cold water.  Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and season with salt and pepper.  Saute for 12 to 15 minutes until the onions are golden brown and caramelized.

Add the stock, kale and meatballs to the onions and heat through.

Ladle the soup into small cups (8 servings) or bowls (4 servings) and garnish with shaved Parmesan Reggiano.

Advance Preparation:  The onions may be caramelized up to 2 days in advance.  The soup may be frozen for up to 4 weeks.

Corn Bisque with Red Bell Pepper

Corn ChowderIngredients

4 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
42 ounces frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust up or down to your liking)
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup half and half
1 red bell pepper, chopped


Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a heavy large pot over mediumm-high heat.  Add onions, carrot and celery and saute for 3 minutes.  Add 5 1/2 cups corn and cayenne and saute for 2 minutes.  Add stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until vegetables are tender and liquid is slightly reduced, about 30 minutes.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender.  Return the soup to the pot.  Mix in the half and half and remaining 2 cups of corn.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the bell pepper and saute until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.  Stir the bell pepper into the soup.

Bring the soup to a simmer.  Ladle into bowls and serve.

Asparagus Vichyssoise with Chive Oil


2 pounds asparagus, tips reserved, cut into 1″ pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium leeks, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 large thyme sprig
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly gound white pepper

Chive Oil:

1 large bunch chives, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


In a saucepan of boiling salted water, blanch the asparagus tips until crisp-tender, about 1 minute.  Drain the asparagus tips in a colander and refresh under cold water.  Pat dry, halve the tips lengthwise and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan.  Add the leeks and cook over moderate heat, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the asparagus stalks, potatoes, stock, water and thyme and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Discard the thyme sprig.   Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender, then transfer to a large bowl.  Stir in the milk, salt and white pepper.  Let the soup cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

For the chive oil, puree the chives with the olive oil in a blender.  Season with salt.  Strain the oil through a fine sieve.

Ladle the soup into chilled bowls and drizzle with Chive Oil.  Garnish with the asparagus tips and serve.

*Note:  This soup is just as delicious served warm!  Heat and serve with chive oil and asparagus tips.

Sweet Red Pepper Bisque


2 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/4 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 red bell peppers
1 cup fat-free chicken broth
1/2 cup cream
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 teaspoon milk
1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced


Preheat oven to 350.

Cut off and discard root ends of garlic cloves.  On a 10-inch pice of foil, drizzle garlic with oil.  Crimp foil to seal and bake in middle of oven until garlic is tender, about 30 minutes.  Cool, then peel.

While garlic is baking, lay bell peppers on their sides on racks of gas burners and turn flames on high.  Roast peppers, turning with tongs, until skins are blackened, 5 to 8 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and let stand, covered, until cool enough to handle.  Peel peppers and discard stems and seeds.  Coarsely chop peppers and puree in a blender with roasted garlic and chicken broth.

Transfer puree to a saucepan.  Add cream and warm over moderate heat, stirring, until warm, then season with salt and pepper.  Pour into individual cups (for hors d’oeuvre portion) or bowls.

Stir together sour cream and milk.  Drizzle 1 teaspoon sour cream mixture over each serving of soup and sprinkle with chives.

Zesty Black Bean Soup


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 to 2 teaspoons chopped jalapeño chile with seeds, divided
2 15- to 16-ounce cans black beans, undrained
1 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
Sliced red onion
Sour cream


Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and garlic; sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Mix in cumin and 1 teaspoon jalapeño. Add beans, tomatoes with juice, and broth; bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer 3 cups of soup to blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to pot. Simmer soup until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon jalapeño, if desired.

Ladle soup into bowls.  Pass red onion slices and sour cream separately.

Chilled Cucumber Soup


1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 bay leaves
2 lbs peeled, seeded and diced cucumber
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
2 T chopped fresh dill


In 3-quart saucepan melt butter over medium-high heat;  add onion and bay leaves.  Cook until onion is tender.  Stir in cucumber; cook 5 to 10 minutes or until cucumber is tender.  Reduce heat to medium.  Stir in chicken stock and milk; simmer 5 to 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced.  Remove from heat; cool.  Remove bay leaves; puree in a blender or food processor.  Stir in cream; season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Cover; refrigerate overnight.  Serve chilled in soup cups or bowls; garnish with fresh dill and paper-thin cucumber slices