Dash of Class: Super soups

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Food column by Nora Sweat

By Nora Sweat

Winter is officially under way, that is, as of Dec. 21. When the threat of snow is forecast everyone starts thinking about having soup on hand for family dinners through the long cold months.

While writing my cookbook, the publisher let me know that it was too long, especially the cake chapter — imagine that. As I shortened the cake chapter, I also had to cut the soup chapter completely, but today I have some recipes from Taste of Home and Family Circle magazines and some I found on the Internet that sound tasty.

The Navy Bean Soup is one of the Sweat family’s favorites, along with my husband’s chili. Both are excellent with the corn bread he makes in a cast-iron skillet.

Bundle up, stay warm and enjoy a bowl of soup.

Nora Sweat, author of “Mama and Me,” is a native of Hardin County and a retired home economics/family and consumer science teacher. She can be reached at norasweat@thenewsenterprise.com or by mail at 408 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701.


Black Bean Soup

1 large red onion, chopped

1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained

3-1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, undrained

1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies

1/3 cup sherry or additional vegetable broth

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a Dutch oven, sauté onion and peppers in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.

Stir in the beans, broth, tomatoes and chopped green chilies. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Add sherry and cilantro; cook 5 minutes longer.

Remove from the heat; cool slightly. Place half of soup in a blender; cover and process until pureed. Return to the pan and heat through. Top each serving with 2 teaspoons sour cream and 1 teaspoon cheese.Yield: 12 servings (3/4 cup each).

Nora’s Note: Wear disposable gloves and avoid touching your face when cutting hot peppers. The oils can burn skin.

Source: Taste of Home magazine

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

2 ½ lbs. baking potatoes

½ lb. sliced bacon

2 T. butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 T. all purpose flour

4 c. milk

½ t. salt

¼ t. pepper

¼ t. nutmeg

¼ t. cayenne pepper

3 c. shredded white cheddar cheese

4 green onions, thinly sliced

2 T. sour cream

Pierce potatoes with a fork and bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes or until tender. Allow to cool slightly. Scoop the potatoes into a bowl and mash.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet until crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove bacon and crumble; set aside. Reserve 2 T. of the bacon fat.

In a large pot, add butter and reserved bacon fat. Heat over medium heat, add onion and cook 3 minutes; sprinkle flour over onion and cook 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk; stir in salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Add reserved mashed potatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 2 cups of the cheese, half the reserved bacon and half the green onions.

Divide soup among 6 flame proof soup crocks. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top. Broil 4 inches from heat for 3 minutes until cheese melts. Garnish each with 1 t. sour cream and remaining bacon and green onions.

Source:  Family Circle Magazine

Navy Bean Soup with Ham

16 ounce package dried navy beans

7 c. water

1 ham bone

2 c. diced ham

¼ c. minced onion

½ t. salt

1 pinch black pepper

1 bay leaf

1/2 c. sliced celery

½ c. sliced carrots (optional)

Place rinsed beans in a large stock pot. Add water and bring to a boil.

Boil gently for 2 minutes; remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour.

Add ham bone, diced ham, onion, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until beans are soft. Occasionally skim service of soup while it is cooking.

Add carrots and celery, cook until tender. Remove ham bone, scrape any meat from bone and place back into soup and serve.

Nora’s Note: When we have it available, we love the taste of country ham in our bean soup.

Source:  www.allrecipes.com

Creamy Broccoli Soup

2 cups chicken broth

2 ½ cups fresh broccoli

¼ c. chopped onion

1 c. milk

2 T. all purpose flour

1 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese

½ t. dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring broth to a boil. Add broccoli and onion. Cook broccoli for five minutes, or until tender.

In a separate bowl, slowly add milk to flour and mix until well blended. Stir flour mixture into broth mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until soup is thick and bubbly. Add cheese if desired; stir until melted. Add seasonings and serve.

Source:  www.allrecipes.com

Nora Sweat, author of “Mama and Me,” is a native of Hardin County and a retired home economics/family and consumer science teacher. She can be reached at norasweat@thenewsenterprise.com or by mail at 408 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701.