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Quick farmers' market soups: yes, you can make these in an hour or less.

Roasted red pepper soup

Roasting the peppers makes this soup sweet, smoky, and irresistible.

Broil 3 large red bell peppers (1 1/2 lbs. total), turning as needed until completely charred, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool; remove stems, seeds, and skin: and coarsely chop Peel and coarsely chop 3 medium Yukon Sold potatoes.

Cook 1 large chopped onion in olive oil until lightly browned. Add potatoes, peppers, and 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth. Bring to a boil; then simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender when pierced, 10 to 15 minutes

Puree soup in a blender in batches Reheat in pan, thinning with more broth if you like. Season with salt.

Top it with a drizzle of olive oil serves 4 to 6.

Fennel apple bisque

A smooth, silky, understated first course--the Greta Garbo of soups.

Trim root end and stalks from 1 fennel bulb (1 1/2 lbs. with stalks); save some feathery fronds for garnish. Chop bulb. Peel, core, and chop 2 large Fuji apples and 1 large onion.

Saute onion in butter until softened, 5 minutes. Add 4 cups chicken broth, fennel, and apple. Bring to a boil, then simmer until fennel is soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in 1 cup fresh water cress leaves and cook until wilted.

Puree soup in a blender in batches. Reheat in pan; thinning with more broth if you like. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Top it with fennel fronds and crumbled blue cheese. Serves 4 to 6.

Spinach, leek, and potato soup

Good old vichyssoise, but with spinach and without cream--so it's a beautiful electric green and kind to your waistline

Trim tough stems from 1 lb spinach and rinse.

Cook 1 lb cleaned, sliced leeks in butter with salt, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth and 1 large chopped, peeled Yukon Gold potato. Bring to a boil, covered; then simmer until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute.

Puree soup in a blender in batches, Reheat in pan, thinning with more broth if you like. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Top it with croutons. Serves 4 to 6

Curried roasted squash soup

Kabocha (Japanese winter squash) has deep orange, sweet, smooth flesh that makes a terrific soup--especially when tinged with curry.

Cut 1 kabocha squash (about 2 1/2 lbs.) in half lengthwise (use a hammer or flat mallet to help drive the blade through). Scoop out seeds. Cut 1 large unpeeled onion in half.

Make curry butter by mixing 2 tbsp. melted butter with 2 tsp. curry powder. Brush over cut surfaces of squash and onion.

Roast squash and onion in a 350[degrees] oven, cut sides down, on a rimmed baking pan until soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Scoop flesh from squash. Remove skin and chop onion.

Puree squash and onion in a blender with 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth and any pan juices. Reheat in pan, thinning with more broth if you like Season with salt and a little cayenne.

Top it with plain yogurt, Serves 4 to 6.

Broccoli rabe and ham in ginger broth

Spicy greens meet tender ham in this restorative soup.

Trim ends from 8 to 12 oz. broccoli rabe, Chinese mustard greens (gai choy),* or regular mustard greens. Cut greens into 2-in. lengths about 1/2 in. thick.

Simmer 5 cups chicken broth with 6 thin slices fresh ginger, 2 crushed large garlic cloves, and 2 to 4 thin rings fresh red chile, 8 to l0 minutes. Add greens and 1 cup cooked ham, cut into wide, thin strips. Add enough extra broth to cover greens. Bring to a boil, covered, and cook until greens are barely tender, 2 to 3 minutes.

Top it with more red chile rings if you like. Serves 4 to 6.

* Find Chinese mustard greens, which are milder than Southern-style mustard greens, in specialty produce markets or farmers' markets.

Golden beet and beet greens soup

We've used the beet to its fullest: sweet golden slices of the root, paired with dark, earthy leaves.

Prep 3 large golden beets, trimming stems (leave 1 in. attached to beets) and cutting off leafy tops. Discard stems from tops; cut leaves crosswise into thin shreds.

Simmer beets until tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Drain and cool. Remove skin and stems, then cut beets thinly crosswise into circles.

Saute 1 small, thinly sliced red onion with 2 minced large garlic cloves in olive oil until lightly browned. Add beets and 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Stir in beet greens and cook until greens are wilted, about 1 minute. Add broth to soup to thin it, if you like, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serves 4 to 6.

Mushrooms in sherry shallot broth

Use whatever mushrooms you like in this delicate yet earthy soup, but use at least four types.

Slice 1 lb. mixed mushrooms into bite-size pieces (if using shiitakes, discard stems).

Saute 1 cup chopped shallots in butter, stirring, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and 1 tsp. fresh thyme. Cook until mushrooms are lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 1 cup dry sherry and bring mixture to a boil, stirring. Add 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth. Cover and return to a boil; then simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Top it with thyme sprigs or chopped flat-leaf parsley. Serves 4 to 6.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANNABELLE BREAKEY

FOOD STYLING BY RANDY MON
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Author:Anusasananan, Linda Lau
Publication:Sunset
Article Type:Recipe
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2009
Words:937
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