The Art of


A Pot of Soup

A pot of homemade soup simmering on the stovetop is an enduring symbol of comfort. Down through the centuries, soup has always been a menu staple. Without excessive effort or cost we can create a simply wonderful meal.

Soup making is one of those therapeutic duties that keep your hands busy, while allowing your mind to meditate on matters of personal interest. Preparing soup for your household is an act of service. Sitting down to a simple meal of soup and bread is nourishing, uplifting and we've been doing it for hundreds and hundreds of years.

Soup for dinner ranks high in the comfort food category and is the perfect meal on a chilly day. I would also go on to say that the soup making process is highly creative. Think about all of those colorful vegetables and the endless flavor combinations. While I'm extolling the benefits of soup I would be amiss not to mention the minimal clean up. It doesn't take much to rinse a bowl and stack it in the dishwasher.

At this time of the year when we're living with the consequence of holiday indulgence, soup is a low-fat, healthy meal option. The calories consumed in a bowl of soup won't de-rail our efforts while we're on the road back to fitting into our jeans. Soup can be as simple as pulling together a few ingredients or further up the scale of difficulty.

One of the easiest soups I've made requires two cartons of chicken stock, meat from a deli roasted chicken, a chopped avocado, some fresh, chopped cilantro, a fresh lime quartered and cooked rice.

Combine the chicken, chopped cilantro and chicken broth in a medium size pot. Warm through completely. In a soup bowl put a cup of warmed rice. To each bowl add chopped avocado and ladle soup into the bowl. Squeeze fresh lime overall and serve. This is my version of "fast food". It's easy, delicious and low in calories.

The next recipe is for a Sausage and Bean soup. I made this for a house full of relatives and it went fast.

Here's what you'll need:

Two cans of white beans, rinsed and drained.

Two 32 ounce cartons of beef broth.

Salt and pepper to taste.

One tablespoon of the spice - ground cumin.

One half of an onion, three ribs of celery and one clove of garlic, chopped.

Three medium potatoes, peeled and chopped.

Four carrots, peeled and chopped.

One package of smoked beef sausage, cut in half lengthwise and then quartered.

One package of fresh, baby spinach, sliced with the stems removed.

Chopped cilantro and grated parmesan cheese for garnish.

In a 6-quart pot, sauté the onion, garlic and celery in olive oil until translucent. Add broth, beans, potatoes, carrots, ground cumin and sausage. Simmer until potatoes are near tender.

At this time, add the chopped spinach and continue simmering until potatoes are tender and spinach is wilted. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro and cheese before serving. Be good to yourself and make a pot of soup tonight.

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