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Story - Food

Jan 21, 2019 3:10 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Hot Healthy Soups To Hit The Spot This Winter

Jan 21, 2019 3:29 PM

During January and February a heart-healthy hot soup hits the spot! Soup is fitting for lunch with an apple for dessert. Embellish the soup with assorted cheeses, a green salad, and hot crusty whole grained bread for a suitable supper entrée.

Roasting the butternut squash before adding it to the vegetables in the soup pot results in a natural sweet rich flavor to the soup. The next time you’re entertaining, it’s a very attractive first course!

Almost everyone likes mushroom or beef barley soup, here, I’ve substituted nutritionally rich wheat berries for pearled barley. If you have the time, soak the wheat berries overnight before preparing the soup to shorten the cooking time. But even if you don’t soak the berries, it’s well worth making this soup. Wheat berries are high in calcium, potassium, and folic acid. At their most tender point, the berry shape remains intact with a slight “crunch.” Be your own judge as to how thick or thin to make the soup. Adding chopped fresh tomatoes and a pinch of chopped parsley is an attractive garnish with plenty of eye appeal. Bon appétit!

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup(Serves 6)1 1/2 to 2 pounds butternut squash, cut into chunks.

3 cloves garlic, minced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

About 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil for drizzling and sautéing

2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

About 1 teaspoon cumin

About 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste

Pinch ground cloves

7 cups good quality vegetable stock (or chicken stock)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

About 1/2 cup plain yogurt for garnish

Snipped chives or chopped parsley for garnishTo prepare:Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss the squash in a bowl, sprinkle with garlic, salt, pepper, and drizzle with oil. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake until the squash is tender to the point of a fork, about 20 to 30 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of the squash chunks.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan or stockpot over medium-high heat, coat the bottom with oil. Add celery, onion and carrot and sauté briefly. Add salt, cumin, and chile powder or cayenne, reduce the heat, and sauté until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the roasted squash, add cloves and stock, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes.

With an immersion blender or working in batches in the food processor or blender, purée the soup until smooth.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

If the soup seems too thin, simmer on top of the stove to reduce the liquid. If it’s too thick; add enough stock to reach proper consistency.

Can be made ahead. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

To serve, reheat the soup until simmering hot, ladle into warmed soup bowls and garnish with a dollop of yogurt and snipped chives.Mushroom And Wheat Berry Soup(Serves 6)1 cup wheat berries, rinsed

1 teaspoon olive oil

About 4 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock

2 tablespoons olive oil or more if needed

2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, washed and chopped

3 stalks celery with leaves, chopped

3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 pound fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced

About 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dry thyme, or more to taste

1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

6 cups good quality vegetable or chicken stock

Chopped fresh grape tomatoes for garnishTo prepare:In a medium saucepan over moderate high heat, add wheat berries, oil, and water or stock. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cook until the wheat berries are tender, checking after one hour for the level of liquid. Total cooking time is about one hour plus 30 to 45 minutes. Can be done ahead of time. Cooking time will be less if the wheat berries are soaked overnight in cold water.

For the soup: In a large saucepan or stockpot over moderate high heat, coat the bottom with oil.

Add leeks and sauté until beginning to soften.

Add celery, carrots, salt and pepper and continue sautéing about four to five minutes.

Stir in mushrooms and herbs; sauté about three to four minutes.

Add cooked wheat berries and stock, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, with the lid ajar, about 20 minutes, or until the soup has reached the consistency you want and the flavor has developed.

Taste and adjust the seasonings. Can be done ahead up to this point. Refrigerate up to five days or freeze up to one month.

Bring soup to a simmer, add chopped tomatoes, simmer one to two minutes, and ladle into warm soup bowls and serve at once.

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