soup season

So, it’s official – fall is here. The leaves are already beginning to change and there is a definite nip in the air, especially once the sun goes down – which, by the way, is getting earlier and earlier…all this change has got me thinking about soup. I just love soup. It’s warming, comforting and can be simple or complex. It can be an appetizer, lunch or dinner. You can make a big batch and freeze some or just make enough for dinner (and maybe even lunch the following day). I think the best part about soup is that it can be made from just about anything – a few basic ingredients, some time, a soup pot and bit of creativity is all it takes. Here’s an absolutely light, yet hearty flavored soup – perfect for this time of year. The ingredients are simple, minimal and common. It’s a perfect recipe for those times when, ‘you just don’t have anything in the fridge/cabinets/ pantry’… it makes you forget you apparently had ‘nothing‘…

Corn + Potato Chowder

1 cup onion, chopped

2 cup potato, peeled and diced (I used 5 small red potatoes)

1 cup celery, finely diced

2 cup corn (if using frozen, run hot water over it or let defrost prior to using)

1.5 tsp. cumin (add/delete to your liking)

4 cup chicken broth (vegetable broth works well too) – the better the stock, the better the soup…

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or juice of one lemon

olive oil or butter for sautéing

*freshly grated parmesan and a smidgen of chopped parsley (basil or tyme) for garnish (optional of course).

How to;

Heat enough butter or olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Add onions and saute until slightly browned. This gives a lovely richness to the soup. Add celery and saute until translucent.

Add diced potatoes and a tablespoon of butter (more richness), cumin, salt (a good pinch or two) and pepper – stir and cook gently.

Add 1 cup corn.

Mix well while cooking on low.

Add stock.

Simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes or so, just enough to allow the potatoes to cook thoroughly and the flavors to meld…add in apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.

Simmer a bit longer…

Remove from heat and scoop half of soup into a food processor – mix carefully – slight pulses; careful not to over process as the potato will get gummy. I know this from experience -it’s definitely better to under mix than over mix with this soup.


Pour processed soup into pot, add remaining corn, mix and simmer.

Season to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with freshly grated parmesan and a pinch of chopped parsley – yummy…

Serve with warm bread + salad and dinner is served. Don’t have any fresh bread on hand, check this out – an easy (basic ingredients – no yeast) and quick recipe, for a no fuss homemade bread


minestrone in spring

So simple – a bit of prep and you’ll have a lovely rustic soup in no time. Go big and bake some bread too. Try a yeast free bread like Irish soda bread – only 35 minutes from prep to table…the great thing about this soup is you can use a variety of vegetables – use what you like, utilize what you have…

I made this soup last week while we we’re having a few chilly days and below freezing nights –  it is Maine and it is spring so why not eat a bowlful of hearty minestrone soup? Enjoy.

Soup Ingredients

3-5 carrots

3-5 stalks of celery

1 medium sized onion

2-3 cloves of garlic

2 big handfuls of fresh spinach, swiss chard or kale

1 cup dried cannelloni beans – cook prior to adding (or 1 can – rinsed)

1 cup dried pasta (bow tie, shell, ziti – you choose)

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (or fresh if you have the time and desire to poach and peel)

1-2 cups broccoli (frozen or fresh)

32 oz. vegetable or chicken stock

juice from 2 lemons

olive oil

bit of butter



a good pinch of fennel seed

1 bay leaf

a few leaves of fresh basil if available

What to do;

Chop carrots, onion, garlic, celery and greens (either spinach, kale, swiss chard).

Keep each prepared veggie separate from the others.

Saute onions in butter until slightly browned, not burned, in a heavy bottom soup pot.

Add a bit of olive oil and garlic, cook briefly.

Add carrots – gently cook.

Then add celery – toss and gently cook a bit more.

Add greens – and more olive oil if necessary, you want the veggies to glisten so as not to burn…

Pour in stock.

Add crushed tomatoes (the entire can may not be necessary).


Bring to boiling point.

Add uncooked pasta.

Boil gently for about 5 minutes.

Turn down heat to simmer.

Add salt and pepper to taste, finish with generous pinch of fennel seeds + bay leaf.

Pour in lemon juice + cooked beans (with cooking liquid if prepared from scratch)

Simmer on low about 40 +/-  minutes, covered.

Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve with freshly grated parmesan or asiago. Try crumbled goat cheese with fresh chopped basil – add a slab of warm freshly baked bread slathered in butter and what more do you need on a chilly spring evening…

Eat good food. yum.