Making soup has all sorts of benefits: It’s fun, it uses all sorts of healthy ingredients to “soup” up your immune system and it is economical and delicious. Plus, it’s fun to make and usually pretty easy. It uses up leftovers, it freezes well and has endless variety . What more could you ask?
I joined my daughter’s Winter Soup Challenge put out in her role as an exercise and nutrition coach (Living Vibrantly) last week. I have completed all but one of the seven soups she gave out recipes for. They have all been delicious so far–and they were fun to make (pretty easy) even though I made a few changes according to our likes and a few procedural differences.
Our favorite soup was one of the easiest–a little different but very good:
APPLE LEEK SOUP
4 tsp olive oil
2 leeks, chopped (white and light green portions)
1 yellow or white onion, chopped
4 apples (a tart variety like Granny Smith is ideal)
1 large clove garlic
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp dried tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
White cheddar shredded for garnish (can use any cheese of your choice)
Heat oil in pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks, onion , apples and garlic to the pan. Continue to cook over medium-high heat until onions and apples begin to soften. Add broth, tarragon , salt and pepper. Bring to gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes, then puree the contents using either hand blender or regular blender (Be careful handling hot liquids in regular blender–cool a bit first). Garnish with cheese. 4 servings
Since many of us have extra time on our hands, making homemade bread to go with the soup is a great idea. The following recipe is so easy and so good you can whip it up any time:
Russian Rye Bread
1 cup water, 105 to 115 degrees
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1-1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp. oil
2-1/2 cups bread flour or 2-cups plus 2 Tbsp regular flour and 1-1/2 /tbsp vital gluten
1/2 cup stone ground or regular medium rye flour
1 pkg active dry yeast
Pour water into bread pan, add the brown sugar, cocoa, salt, oil, bread flour and rye flour and yeast; program machine to make dough.
To make by hand: Place water in bowl with yeast. Let yeast sit for 5 minutes until bubbles form. Add sugar, cocoa, salt, oil, part of bread flour and all of rye flour. Mix well until smooth, then gradually add bread flour until dough is stiff. Let sit for 15 minutes. Turn out onto floured board and knead until smooth. Put into greased bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour until doubled in size.
To finish either method: Shape into a loaf (round or oblong) place into greased pan and let rise again, about 45 minutes or until almost doubled. Put into cold oven and turn to 375 degrees. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean.