Ignore the 80-degree temperatures. Fall has officially arrived. And with it comes that shift in how we think about food.
Yes, we still enjoy a green tossed salad, but face it, we’re thinking of stuff that goes down warm.
Just as the pastels of summer disappear from our wardrobe, the shades of autumn show up in our food — especially soup!
Each of these five soup recipes speaks of fall colors: golden crispy bread floating in a bowl of Famous-Barr’s French Onion Soup. The way broth, cumin and paprika blend to tint Spiced Vegetable Soup the color of cinnamon. And how vivid carrots dot the landscape of an amber tureen of Turkey Soup.
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All are worthy of being the centerpiece of a meal. Add a salad as a side and some bread or rolls for sopping up what’s left at the bottom of the bowl.
Butternut Squash Soup
6 tablespoons chopped onion
4 tablespoons margarine
6 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
8-16 ounces cream cheese
In a large saucepan, saute onions in margarine until tender. Add squash, broth, marjoram, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil; cook 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.*(See alternative methods.)
Puree squash and cream cheese in a blender or food processor in batches until smooth. Return to saucepan, and heat through. Do not allow to boil. Makes 6 servings, each with 397 calories.
*Cut the squash in half, place each half face down on a plate, and microwave about 8 to 10 minutes. Then scoop out the cooked squash and puree with the rest of the ingredients.
Tips: If freezing, make the soup minus the cream cheese, then freeze. When you defrost it, add the cream cheese and reheat just before serving.
1 whole boneless, skinless chicken breast (1-pound), split into 2 halves*
1 onion, skin on, halved
6 cups cold water
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons mild oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 chipotle chilies in adobo, fished from the can along with 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
28 ounces diced tomatoes
3 cups grated Cheddar
1 avocado, cut into small cubes
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
1. Poach: Settle chicken and halved onion in a medium saucepan. Pour in water and sprinkle in 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil; skim off any foam. Add black pepper, lower heat and simmer until chicken is fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Pull out chicken. When cool enough to handle, shred.
2. Brown: Meanwhile, heat oil in a separate saucepan. Tumble in chopped onion, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 8 minutes.
3. Swirl: Scoop onion and garlic into the blender. Add the chipotle chilies and their sauce, and the tomatoes. Swirl smooth. Strain this mix into the onion-browning saucepan; cook, covered, over medium-low heat until thick, about 15 minutes.
4. Toss: Toss together cubed avocado, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a squeeze of lime.
5. Simmer: Strain the broth, discarding the halved onion and other solids. Add broth to the saucepan with the thickened tomato. Cook 5 minutes. Add shredded chicken and heat through, about 1 minute.
6. Serve: Heap 1/2 cup grated cheese into each of six bowls. Scoop in hot soup. Scatter on avocado and a handful of broken tortilla chips. Serve with lime.
*Save time by using an already-cooked rotisserie chicken and skip step 1.
Leah Eskin, Chicago Tribune
Famous-Barr’s French Onion Soup
5 pounds unpeeled onions
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 bay leaf
3 quarts beef broth
1 cup white wine, optional
Caramel coloring or Kitchen Bouquet, optional
2 teaspoons salt or to taste
Sourdough or French baguettes, thinly sliced, optional
Swiss or Gruyere cheese, optional
1. Peel onions and slice 1/8-inch thick. Melt butter in a 6-quart (or larger) stockpot. Add onions; cook, uncovered, over low heat for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
2. Sprinkle with pepper, paprika and flour and add bay leaf; sauté over low heat 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Slowly pour in broth and wine, stirring constantly. Increase heat and bring to a boil.
4. As soon as the soup boils, reduce heat to low and simmer very slowly for 2 hours.
5. If desired, adjust color to a rich brown with caramel coloring. Season with salt. Refrigerate overnight so flavors can blend.
6. To serve, reheat soup. If desired, pour into ovenproof crocks or bowls. Top with a slice of bread and a sprinkling of grated
cheese. Heat under the broiler until cheese melts and bubbles, about 5 minutes.
Yield: About 4 quarts. Per cup: 145 calories, 6 grams fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 5 grams protein, 18 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams sugar, 3 grams fiber, 760 mg
SPICED VEGETABLE SOUP
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
2 large onions, diced, plus 1 large onion cut in half and thinly sliced into half-moons, separated
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 leeks, trimmed, cleaned and finely chopped
3 boiling potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
5 tomatoes, roughly chopped
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
3 teaspoons hot pepper paste, such as harissa
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (14- to 15-1/2-ounce) cans chickpeas (reserve the liquid plus a couple of handfuls of chickpeas to garnish)
1 large zucchini, finely diced
3 1/2 ounces feta cheese
1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add enough olive oil to generously coat the base of the pan. Add the butternut squash, diced onions, garlic, leeks and potatoes, and cook, without browning, until the vegetables soften slightly, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the tomatoes, cumin, cinnamon, paprika and hot pepper paste, and give it all a good stir to ensure the spices evenly coat the vegetables. Cover the vegetables completely with water, add a generous amount of salt (I would suggest at least 4 teaspoons) and black pepper. Stir once more and continue to cook at a gentle boil until the squash is tender when poked with a knife, about 30 minutes.
3. Puree the mixture in a food processor or blender until you get a lovely, even, smooth soup. Once smooth, add the chickpeas and their liquid, and stir well.
4. Adjust the consistency of the soup with additional water if desired, then taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Cook an additional 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the zucchini and cook for a final 20 minutes before serving.
5. While the soup is cooking, drizzle some olive oil into a large frying pan set over high heat, and fry the sliced onion until browned and crispy. Add the reserved chickpeas and brown them along with the onions. Using a slotted spoon, remove the onions and chickpeas from the pan and set aside.
6. Pour the soup into large bowls (preferably wide, shallow ones), then generously crumble the feta on top. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of the herb oil into each bowl over the feta. Finally, add the reserved crispy fried onions and chickpeas.
This makes about 3 1/2 quarts soup or 12 servings, each with 311 calories, 9 grams protein, 37 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams fiber, 16 grams fat, 7 mg cholesterol, 7 grams sugar, 1,141 mg sodium.
Adapted by the Los Angeles Times from Sabrina Ghayour’s “Persiana”
This soup is perfect for using leftovers, so save it for after Thanksgiving. Or, use cooked rotisserie chicken.
Turkey Noodle Soup
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup potatoes, diced
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2-3 cups leftover turkey, chopped or shredded
4-5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup leftover gravy (or however much you have)
2 cups small pasta or egg noodles
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped greens, like kale or spinach (optional)
In a large pot on medium-high heat, saute onions and garlic for about a minute.
Add carrots, potatoes, celery and thyme and stir for about 4-5 minutes.
Stir in leftover turkey, then add stock and leftover gravy and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
Add the noodles and simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes or until noodles are tender. Stir in your chopped greens for about a minute and serve.
Yield: 6-8 servings.