Soup Tips from Chef Shannon

January is National Soup Month and it’s easy to see why. Soups are perfect for this time of year. Everyone loves to eat a big bowl of hot, hearty soup on frigid January days!
Soups aren’t just delicious, they are nourishing and super easy to prepare! Here are a few tips for making amazing soups:
1. Use the best stock available. Homemade is best, but buying the very best quality stock is a close second. We sell fantastic house-made stocks at Healthy Living.
2. Saute your veggies in olive oil or butter 1st. Building flavor is an integral part of making a fabulous soup. Sauteing your veggies, brings out their flavor, just make sure to cook your veggies until they are soft  and have released their flavor) before moving on to the next step.
3. Be sure to simmer, not boil. Once you soup comes up to a boil, immediately turn down the heat and let your soup simmer. Boiling soup will make your veggies mushy, your meat tough and your noodles break apart.
Pea soup
Chef Shannon shared these awesome recipes for you to try at home!

Cheddar and Beer

1/2 lb hearty bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
7 TB olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled & chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
⅓ cup AP flour
1 12-oz bottle beer; mild ales or lagers
1 TB mustard
2 cups milk
3 cups vegetable broth
1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, grated
minced chives, for garnish

Preheat oven to 250F. In a large bowl, toss bread with olive oil and spread evenly on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake about 30 minutes until crisp, tossing once.  Set aside.

Heat oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.  Add onion, carrots, and celery; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are softened, about 15 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add flour and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes.  Add the beer and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.  While stirring, add mustard, milk, and broth.  Increase heat to med-high and bring soup to a gentle simmer, stirring often, for 30 minutes.  Lower heat to med-low and add cheese in small batches, stirring constantly, until all the cheese is melted. Do not to let the soup boil.  Season with salt & pepper, and serve.  Top each bowl with chives and hearty croutons.


Curried Kabocha Squash Puree with Cinnamon Roasted Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins

For the Soup:

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, sliced

1 Tsp fresh ginger, grated or chopped

1 Tbsp curry powder

1 kabocha squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into cubes

1 can coconut milk

2 cups vegetable stock

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Sweat the onions until soft and translucent. Add the ginger and sauté until fragrant.  Add the curry powder and fry until very rich and deep in flavor.  Add the squash and coconut milk.  Add the vegetable stock, or just enough so all the squash is covered.  Mix well and bring to a boil.  Reduce the mixture to a simmer.  Cook until the squash is very soft and falling apart.  When it is done, blend the mixture in a blender or with an immersion blender until very smooth.  Pass through a fine mesh strainer if needed.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve topped with the nuts and raisins.

For the Pine Nuts and Raisins:

1 cup pine nuts

1 cup golden raisins

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cinnamon

Salt to taste

In a small frying pan over low heat add the olive oil.  Add the pine nuts and gently roast them until they are golden in color.  Add the cinnamon and cook just 30 seconds more.  Add the raisins and season with salt.  Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl so as not to overcook the pine nuts.  Cool and serve atop the soup.


Sausage and White Bean Stew with Kale and Lemon Zest

2 links fresh sweet Italian sausage (pork or chicken)

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 large yellow onion, finely diced

2 carrots, finely diced

2 stalks celery, sliced thinly

1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

1 bay leaf

4 cups chicken stock

1 14 oz can white beans (we prefer butter or cannellini beans), drained and rinsed

1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped

Zest and juice of one lemon

Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Grated parmesan cheese and Truffle oil

In a large soup pot over high heat, heat the vegetable oil.  Remove the casings from the sausage and discard them.  Place sausages in the pot and brown them well on all sides, breaking up the meat with the back or a wooden spoon.  Add the onions, carrots, celery and thyme.  Sauté for 5-6 minutes or until the vegetables are softened and fragrant.  Add the bay leaf and chicken stock.  Bring soup to a boil then reduce to simmer.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked to al’dente and the sausage is tender.  Add the beans and cook 5 minutes more.   Add the kale and mix well or cover the pot to steam all the kale, this only takes about 30 seconds (you don’t want to over-cook the kale).  Add the lemon juice and zest and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve in large bowls sprinkled with parmesan cheese or drizzled with truffle oil.