With the days shorter and the weather turning chilly, you’re likely setting your sights on the warm, comforting flavors of autumn. Just in time for fall, The Kitchen is getting set to dedicate an entire episode to one of the season’s most-satisfying dishes: soup. From rich, creamy purees to simple broths studded with noodles and veggies, the co-hosts want to help you make your best bowl yet this year, and they need you — the fans — to tell them how you enjoy soup and what you’d need to make your soup recipes better. Answer the first round of poll questions below, then check back on Monday to cast the rest of your votes.
The key to making soup a meal is ensuring it goes beyond basic broth and vegetables with hearty, satisfying ingredients that will fill you up. That’s where lentil soup comes in. Satisfying and good for you, lentils are packed with protein, and they pair well with a variety of flavors and textures, from hot sauce to tangy tomatoes and nutty Parmesan cheese. Check out Food Network’s top lentil soup recipes below to find a mix of classic and creative renditions from Rachael Ray, Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis, Ina Garten and more chefs.
5. Spicy Lentil Soup — A serrano chile and a bit of grated ginger add heat to this quick-fix soup, but the spice is balanced by a final mix-in of cool, creamy Greek yogurt.
4. Sausage, Kale and Lentil Soup — Rachael mixes Tuscan kale into a base of sausage, carrots and potatoes before adding a splash of white wine for flavor, and then adds the lentils.
For an easy weeknight meal, soup is your best bet. It is also extremely versatile and can be made with any number of ingredients, depending on your mood. For a warming and comforting treat that’s as perfect for summer as it is for winter, look no further than Ree Drummond‘s Best Tomato Soup Ever. The heavy cream, sherry and sugar give the recipe a pop of flavor and balance the acidity of the tomatoes. This relaxing recipe is the ideal pick for this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week.
For more feel-good recipes, check out Food Network’s Let’s Cook Comfort Food board on Pinterest.
Get the recipe: Best Tomato Soup Ever
Last week I shared tips on stocking the fridge with some of my favorite waistline-friendly foods. Today I’m sharing an easy recipe for my secret weapon: a fast, healthy and flavorful meal in just about no time. I call it All-Purpose Broth. The star ingredient? Miso paste.
Before I dive into the greatness that is the All-Purpose Broth, let me start by giving you a very basic miso primer: Miso is fermented soybean paste used in Japanese cuisine and it has a salty, savory, slightly nutty flavor and is full of glutamates, which imparts umami (savory flavor). The lighter the color in miso paste, the milder the flavor. White miso paste is milder than yellow, red or intense brown varieties. I usually buy white or yellow, which are both mellow and delicious — and readily available at most neighborhood supermarkets. (But try other versions, too, for a deeper, more intense flavor, and try out the miso soup at high-end Japanese restaurants to explore artisan miso pastes that you won’t find on your average grocery store shelf.) The exact health benefits of miso paste are somewhat debated, but proponents tout its levels of vitamin B12 and antioxidants, as well as its positive impact on the immune system. Others swear by its ability to alleviate common cold symptoms. In any case, I love it as an easy go-to pantry item for lean and tasty meals on the fly, which brings me back to my All-Purpose Broth.
Here’s how it works: Basically I load up each individual serving bowl with whatever I have on hand (leftover chicken breast, a spoonful of quinoa, shredded veggies, a piece of grilled fish or maybe I’ll cube up some tofu). I make a quick broth and then pour it over the contents of the bowl. And then I eat it, with a smile, patting myself on the back for making a meal that is thrifty, fast, delicious, healthy and versatile.
While some soups and stews require hours of slow simmering to achieve their fullest flavor, long cooking times aren’t always required, and it’s indeed possible to turn out a ready-to-eat bowl in well under an hour. Guy Fieri’s big-batch recipe for Ginger-Carrot Soup (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine is one such fuss-free dish, as it can be simply and quickly prepared on a weeknight.
The flavors of fresh carrots and subtle spicy ginger naturally complement each other, and in Guy’s family-friendly soup, they’re combined with sweet caramelized onions and garlic for added depth of flavor. Thanks to a few russet potatoes, Guy manages to make the texture of this soup creamlike, although there’s no heavy cream used; when the potatoes are cooked and pureed along with the rest of the vegetables, their starch will naturally thicken the broth. Just before serving, top each bowl with a tangy mixture of Greek yogurt and thyme, and finish with a sprinkle of pine nuts for welcome crunch.
I’ve always had the dream of being that mom on the block who just always happens to have a big kettle of brothy soup simmering on the stove, on the off-chance that the neighborhood kids playing kickball in the street want to come in out of the cold and warm up to a steamy mug of goodness. Word would spread, and perhaps some neighbors would drop by, lured by the savory smells wafting out of our always-opening front door. I’d smile warmly (I’m certain I wouldn’t be on a work deadline of any sort), and I’d hand them a bowlful of liquid heaven, along with a hunk of crusty bread for dipping.
Turns out, though, my four girls don’t play kickball, and I don’t allow them in the street anyway. Plus, as I type, just days from November, I’m wearing shorts and a T-shirt. Soup is a year-round affair, if you ask me, but even here in San Diego, fall and winter seem to call for it all the more. Everyone loves soup this time of year, right? It makes us feel comforted and cozy. But in case you needed them, here are six more reasons to love soup:
1. Soup’s a no-brainer way to lose weight.
Yes! Did you know there are studies showing that simply starting meals with a healthy soup promotes weight loss? I love habits that do the work for me. All you have to do is adopt the habit. Why not start with my White Gazpacho or the Roasted Tomato Winter Gazpacho in my cookbook?
I’ve worked from home full time for just over two years now. Other than the inevitable occasional stir-craziness, I love everything about reporting to my little home office each day. Truly the only thing I really struggle with is what to eat for lunch each day.
During the warmer season, it’s easy enough to throw together a salad as my midday meal. Once the days start to cool, however, a giant serving of crunchy greens is the very last thing I want. That’s when I put operation soup into effect.
On Sunday afternoon, I make a pot of soup that I can eat from all week long. Then I can scoop a bowlful out each day at about 1pm. Paired with a few crackers or a piece of toast, it makes lunchtime so much easier.
I like to go for vegetable-based soups for these lunchtime meals because they hold up well during the course of the week. Split peas are good, as are roasted pumpkin with coconut milk soups. Right now, my heart belongs to Fleuri’s Curry Lentil Soup from Rachael Ray. It’s creamy, it keeps like a dream and it’s just perfect for The Weekender.
Butternut squash, broccoli-cheddar and simple barley soups may be all the rage once the cool weather settles in, but that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to the tried-and-true classics all season long. This fall, cozy up to a piping-hot bowl featuring creative twists on the usual favorites, like Food Network Magazine’s Potato-Fennel Soup (pictured above).
This potato-based soup can be on the table in only 40 minutes, and it features leeks cooked three ways — boiled, broiled and sauteed — for the most flavor-forward results. After cooking potatoes with some of the leeks until tender, add broth and a splash of milk before pureeing the mixture in a blender. The secret to this soup lies in the from-scratch broth, made by quickly simmering leeks, fennel and water; using this instead of everyday water guarantees the most concentrated taste. If you’ve never before cooked with fennel, know that it has a subtle licorice-like flavor, but don’t worry: This decidedly savory soup doesn’t taste at all sweet.
Now that fall is officially here, the days are getting shorter and the nights chillier, which means it’s once again time to welcome warm, comforting soups to the table. Instead of sticking with everyday chicken noodle or the usual blend of broccoli and cheddar, take advantage of fall produce by opting for butternut squash soup. This autumn superstar vegetable is packed with good-for-you vitamins, and when it’s roasted and pureed into a silky soup, the results are creamy and satisfying — ideal for simple lunches and make-ahead dinners alike. Check out Food Network’s top-five recipes below for butternut squash soup to find classic and creative bowls from some of your favorite chefs, like Ina, Giada and Alton.
5. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup and Curry Condiments — The star of Ina’s curry-scented squash-apple soup is a toppings bar featuring fresh scallions, sweetened coconut and crunchy cashews.
4. Butternut Squash Soup with Fontina Cheese Crostini — Finished with a slice of cheesy toast, Giada’s smooth puree is made extra flavorful thanks to sauteed garlic, carrots and onions, plus chopped fresh sage leaves.
About a week ago, the weather in Philadelphia went from unbearably hot to blessedly cool. The air is crisp during the day and just chilly enough in the evening that socks and a second layer are necessary. After an oppressively warm, muggy summer, it is once again a joy to go outside.
I find myself making some of my normal autumn habit changes: I’ve traded my cold-brew coffee for a morning mug of hot, milky tea. Cozy scarves are back in the wardrobe rotation. And I’m making pot after pot of soup.
During the warmer months, dinnertime salads are my weeknight standby. I keep cleaned lettuce, kale or spinach in the fridge, and many nights I will top bowls of greens with chopped cucumber, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs and cold chicken. Once the fall weather arrives, however, I am happy to swap out the salad routine for batches of soup that last all week.
In the last seven days, I’ve made creamy broccoli and cheddar, beef and red beet borscht and Guy Fieri’s Smoked Chicken Minestrone. The broccoli puree and the borscht are familiar recipes, but the minestrone was new. The recipe spoke to me because it included instructions on how to smoke chicken in your oven. I’ve long thought that home smoking was something best done in an outdoor rig, so I had to try this in-house technique.