Kitchen Adventures: Soup to make you warm inside on a cool day

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Food column by Becca Owsley

By Becca Owsley

As the fall chill hits the air, it’s the perfect time for making a yummy pot of soup.

Soup recipes can range from incredibly complex to super easy.

And soups often become tradition for specific dishes and circumstances. When you don’t feel well, you want chicken noodle soup. When you’re making a grilled cheese sandwich, tomato soup is always a must. But for something a little bit more fancy you can find multiple variations of soup.

I looked for a recipe I could just throw in the crock-pot to cook while I was at work and enjoy when I got home while still making a fancy soup that would be hard to find canned on the shelf in a store. Searching through some Pinterest choices, I found one for Crock-pot Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup. It sounded perfect.

All the ingredients were gathered and I got up early to put the soup together before heading to work. One small problem, only a portion of the recipe is thrown in a slow cooker to cook during the day.

The second step to the recipe takes an additional 45 minutes or more after the first part cooked in the slow-cooker so it wasn’t exactly ready to eat when I got home.

Regardless, the soup was yummy when finished.

I’m not a big celery or carrot fan so I left that part out but stayed true to the rest of the recipe.

Often, when you say the word soup, sandwiches is the next word used. Soup paired with a sandwich is a staple in fall and winter menus.

With this soup, I used the left over parmesan biscuits from last week’s adventure for the bread. Because the parmesan was already in the biscuit I didn’t need to add a cheese.

Thinly sliced country ham, tomatoes and basil finished off the inside of the sandwich.

When serving soup, especially if you went for the fancier kind, there are more options than serving directly out of the crock-pot or pot on the stove.

I recently received a soup tureen. The tureen is a fancy dish you can transfer your soup to for serving at a table. The dish has a lid to keep the soup warm.

Serving with this dish isn’t something you want to do every time you eat soup, but it can be a nice touch with company to make them feel as fancy as the aristocrats on “Downton Abbey.”

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

Crock-pot Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

  • 2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1 cup finely diced onions
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ½ bay leaf
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 cups half and half, warmed (or skim milk if you’re trying to cut some calories)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Makes about 2 quarts (about 8 servings)

Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil and bay leaf to a large slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for five to seven hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.

About 30 minutes before serving prepare a roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for five to seven minutes. Slowly stir in one cup hot soup. Add another three cups and stir until smooth.

Add all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper.

Add additional basil and oregano if needed (the slow cooker does a number on spices and they get bland over time, so don’t be afraid to always season to taste at the end).

Cover and cook on low for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup (Stove-Top Version)

  • 3 cups diced tomatoes with juice (you can use canned)
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup finely diced onions
  • 4 tablespoon fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups half and half, warmed (if you want you can use whole milk, evaporated milk instead or even skim if you want to skinny it up)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in four quart soup pot. Add celery, onions and carrots and sauté five minutes.

Add basil, oregano, bay leaf, tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender (15 minutes).

While soup simmers, prepare a roux. Melt butter over low heat, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, five to seven minutes. Slowly stir in one cup hot soup. Add another three cups and stir until smooth. Add back into soup pot.

Simmer, stirring constantly, until soup begins to thicken. Add Parmesan cheese and whisk to blend. Stir warmed half and half, salt and pepper.

Simmer over low heat 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.