Northwest NEWS

November 4, 2002

Home & Garden

Soups for the Season

carrot.jpg Pumpkin Soup
   1 Tbsp. canola oil
   1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
   1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
   5 c. fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
   1 sweet potato, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut in 1/2-inch slices
   1 can (about 16 oz.) pureed pumpkin
   1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
   1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg or cloves
   Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
   4 tsp. minced fresh chives, for garnish (optional)
   In a large, heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute apple and leek until leek softens, about 4 minutes.
   Add broth, sweet potato, pumpkin and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until sweet potato and apple are soft when pierced with a knife, about 20 to 25 minutes.
   Transfer soup to a blender or food processor and puree. Pour into 6 bowls. Garnish each bowl with chives (if desired) and serve.
  
   Carrot and Apple Soup
   1 Tbsp. canola oil
   1 medium onion, chopped
   1 medium leek, chopped
   1 pound peeled carrots, cut in 1/2-inch slices
   1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped
   3 c. fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth
   Milk or fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth, as desired (optional)
   Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
   3 Tbsp. minced mint, for garnish (optional)
   Heat oil in medium Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high until hot. Saute onion and leek until onion is translucent, 4 minutes.
   Mix in carrots and apple. Tightly cover pot, reduce heat and cook gently until vegetables give up most of their juices, 8 to 10 minutes. Add broth. Cover and cook until carrots are very soft, about 30 minutes. Let soup sit, uncovered, about 20 minutes, to cool slightly. Puree soup in a blender or food processor, if necessary in two batches. (Blender makes a smoother soup.) If soup is too thick, add milk or broth, as desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with mint.
   Makes 4 servings.
  
   Easy Lentil Soup
   1 c. green lentils
   36 oz. fat-free, reduced-sodium beef broth
   1 carrot, finely chopped
   1 garlic clove, minced
   1 medium onion, finely chopped
   1 tsp dried thyme
   1 bay leaf
   1 leek, trimmed and chopped
   2 c. chopped Swiss chard leaves*
   Canola oil spray
   1 Fuji apple, peeled and diced
   Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
   3-4 large pretzels, broken into small pieces, for garnish (optional)
   Place lentils, broth, carrot, garlic, onion, thyme and bay leaf in a medium Dutch oven or large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to simmer and cook until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes.
   For a chunkier soup, add leeks at this point. Simmer 20 minutes, then stir in Swiss chard and simmer 20 minutes more.
   Meanwhile, spray a medium non-stick skillet with canola oil and heat oil on medium-high heat. Add apple and saute until golden on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes.
   When lentils are tender, stir in apple and remove bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve as is for a soup with texture.
   For a creamy soup, puree half in blender and combine with remaining soup. Serve garnished with crushed pretzels, if desired.
   Makes 4 servings.
  
   Asparagus and Wild Rice Soup
   2 pounds fresh or frozen green asparagus
   2 Tbsp. butter
   3 c. vegetable broth, divided
   2 c. heavy cream
   3 c. cooked wild rice
   1/2 tsp. salt
   1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
   1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
   Fresh parsley sprigs (optional)
   Cut off asparagus tips; reserve remaining pieces. Blanch asparagus tips 1 minute in boiling, salted water.
   Drain and set aside. Cut remaining asparagus into bite-size pieces; saute in butter 2 minutes.
   Add enough broth to cover asparagus; simmer until tender.
   Pour mixture into blender and puree. In 2 1/2-quart saucepan, combine puree mixture, remaining broth, cream, wild rice, asparagus tips, salt, pepper and lemon juice; heat through. Garnish each serving with parsley.
   Makes 10 servings
   1 c. uncooked wild rice yields 3 c. cooked.
  
   Chunky Potato Soup
   3 medium red potatoes
   2 c. water
   1 small onion
   3 Tbsp. butter
   3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
   Crushed red pepper flakes
   Ground black pepper
   3 c. milk
   1/2 tsp. sugar
   1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
   1 C. cubed cooked ham
   Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes.
   Bring water to a boil in large saucepan. Add potatoes and cook until tender. Drain, reserving liquid. Set aside potatoes. Measure 1 c. cooking liquid, adding water, if necessary; set aside.
   Peel and finely chop onion. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion to saucepan; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent and tender, but not brown.
   Add flour to saucepan; season with pepper flakes and black pepper to taste. Cook 3 to 4 minutes.
   Gradually add potatoes, reserved 1 C. cooking liquid, milk and sugar to onion mixture in saucepan; stir well. Add cheese and ham. Simmer over low heat 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Store leftovers, covered, in refrigerator.