Austin, we have a cold front: 6 soup recipes to keep you warm
If you haven’t put your stock pot — or slow cooker, Instant Pot or Dutch oven — to work yet this season, what are you waiting for?
We finally have some chilly nights that call for cozy bowls of steaming soup (or stew or chili), and I wanted to share half a dozen recipes to get you thinking about new ways to make your favorite soups.
Some of these recipes, like the roasted cauliflower or roasted tomato soup, are relatively straightforward, but the roasted butternut squash soup is topped with a hazelnut puree that I’d never seen before, and you can bet I’d never tried Cheez-Its on chicken soup until seeing the suggestion from “Food You Love But Different” author Danielle Oron.
The rye crumble on the roasted carrot soup might inspire you to make a similar crunchy topping for any leftover bread you might have in the house, and the crunchy tortilla strips on Janet Fletcher’s roasted tomato soup would be divine on Selena Wolf’s sweet potato and black bean enchilada stew.
Most of these recipes are vegetarian or could be made meat-free with just a few tweaks.
And while you’re thinking about soup, make note of the annual Austin Empty Bowl Project, which will take place this year from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 24 at the Central Texas Food Bank.
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchilada Stew
The prep time for enchiladas can be a little over the top sometimes. So can the heaviness that accompanies several tortillas and a layer of bubbling cheese. Enter: easy enchilada stew. This sweet and savory comfort food fiesta always hits the spot; is packed with fiber, potassium and disease-fighting antioxidants; and requires zero tortilla stuffing or rolling. I beg you to try this vegetarian wonder as is, but if you or a loved one is prone to “where’s the meat?!” meltdowns, go ahead and add some shredded chicken or browned chicken sausage to your pot.
— Serena Wolf
For the stew:
1 1/2 pounds tomatillos (about 12 tomatillos), rinsed well and halved crosswise
2 jalapeños, halved lengthwise, stems and seeds removed
1/2 packed cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra as needed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 quart low-sodium vegetable broth
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 3 cups diced sweet potatoes)
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup pearled or semi-pearled farro
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 ounces crumbled goat cheese
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Heat the broiler to high. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place the tomatillos and jalapeños cut side down on the prepared baking sheet. Broil for 8 minutes, turning the baking sheet 180 degrees halfway through the cooking time, until the tomatillos and jalapeños are softened and charred in spots. Transfer them to a food processor or high-speed blender and add the cilantro. Process until nice and smooth.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the onion, garlic, and salt and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion is very soft and translucent. (Be careful not to burn the garlic here! If it starts to brown, turn down the heat.) Add the cumin and oregano and cook for 1 minute just to toast the spices.
Stir in the tomatillo puree, vegetable broth, sweet potato and black beans and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and add the farro. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes and farro are tender. Taste and season with a little extra salt or some pepper if needed.
Ladle the stew into bowls, garnish with the goat cheese and cilantro, and serve piping hot.
— From “The Dude Diet Dinnertime: 125 Clean(ish) Recipes for Weeknight Winners and Fancypants Dinners" by Serena Wolf (Harper Wave, $29.99)
Roasted Cauliflower Soup
I was well into my twenties before I learned to appreciate cauliflower — and I am so glad that I did. This bland and oddly textured food is totally transformed when it is roasted, and it becomes a rich, buttery and nutty meal. High in fiber, as well as B-complex and C vitamins, the humble cauliflower is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory — both qualities that contribute to general good health and a radiant complexion. Cauliflower is an abundant source of sulfur, which is thought to help reduce breakouts. Additionally, garlic and cauliflower are a pair of potent liver detoxifiers, speeding the body’s natural elimination of stored toxins. Adding bone broth to this soup works to increase collagen-supporting benefits, while the whole dish favors a happy, detoxified liver. This meal is easy to make vegan, and it is a perfect meal for busy weeknights.
— Devon Young
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets and stem, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 to 5 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 cups vegetable or bone broth
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup freshly snipped chives, for garnish
Heat your oven to 425 degrees. Toss the cauliflower, onion and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Spread the vegetables evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is golden brown. Remove them from the oven.
Place the roasted vegetables in a medium-sized saucepan, reserving 1/4 cup of the smallest floret bits and pieces for garnish. Add the broth and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue to simmer with the lid on for about 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is quite tender. Remove the pan from the heat.
Blend the vegetables to a smooth puree in a blender or using an immersion blender. While the blender is running, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to emulsify. Stir in the heavy cream, if using, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with the chives and reserved floret pieces. Serves 4.
— From “The Herbalist's Healing Kitchen: Use the Power of Food to Cook Your Way to Better Health” by Devon Young (Page Street Publishing Co., $22)
Rosemary Butternut Squash Soup With Toasted Hazelnut Milk
This base butternut squash soup recipe can be tweaked any number of ways, such as using ginger and tamari instead of rosemary and garlic. You can store leftover soup in jars in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
— Addie Broyles
2 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1 large (about 4 pounds) kabocha, butternut or other winter squash, halved, seeded, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 10 cups)
5 cups filtered water
Freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup raw hazelnuts, toasted and skinned, plus more for garnish
2 cups filtered water
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Warm the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until beginning to brown. Stir in the garlic and rosemary and salt and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the garlic is golden and fragrant. Add the squash and water (the water should come almost to the top of the chopped squash), raise the heat, and bring to a boil; then cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the squash is tender. Test by pressing a piece of squash against the side of the pot; it should crush easily with a little pressure. Remove from the heat, season with pepper to taste, and set aside to cool slightly.
Working in batches, scoop the soup into an upright blender (filling it no more than two-thirds full) and puree on high speed until smooth and velvety, then pour into a large bowl or another large pot.
While the soup cooks, put the hazelnuts and water in an upright blender and blend until smooth; pour into a jar and set aside. Once the soup is blended, stir in the hazelnut milk and season to taste with more salt and pepper. Serve the soup topped with chopped hazelnuts, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Serves 6 to 8.
— From “Whole Food Cooking Every Day: Transform the Way You Eat With 250 Vegetarian Recipes Free of Gluten, Dairy, and Refined Sugar” by Amy Chaplin (Artisan Books, $40)
Roast Carrot Soup, Smoked Cheese, Rye Crumble
I developed this recipe to show off some of my favorite local Baltic ingredients in a modern way. Historically, smoking was a key preservation technique of the region, hence the inclusion of the smoked cheese. (Whenever there is the possibility of adding smokiness to a dish without smoking out the kitchen, I love to do so — I like to use smoked salt in my cooking for the same reason.) I also love the sweetness that develops when carrots are roasted and it’s this, when paired with the slight sourness of the cream and the smokiness of the cheese, that helps transform what could be A rather mundane soup into something truly special.
— Simon Bajada
For the rye crumble:
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon rapeseed oil
3 slices rye bread or pumpernickel, torn into pea-size pieces
For the soup:
2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
1 tablespoon butter or grapeseed oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
4 cups vegetable stock
7 ounces smoked hard cheese (such as Gouda or cheddar), grated
Sour cream, to serve
Pumpkin shoots or other microgreens, to serve (optional)
Heat the oven to 410 degrees.
To make the rye crumble, heat the butter and oil in a frying pan over a low heat, add the bread pieces and fry for 8 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towel and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the carrots together with the salt, spices and oil until evenly coated. Transfer to a large roasting tin and roast for 60 minutes until golden and browning at the edges.
Meanwhile, melt the butter or oil in a large saucepan or stockpot over a medium heat, add the onion and sauté for 6 minutes, until translucent and soft. Add the vinegar and stock and remove from the heat. When the carrots are ready, transfer them to the stockpot and return to the heat. Bring the soup to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and cook gently for 15 minutes until the carrots are soft when pierced with the tip of a knife, then carefully transfer to a blender or food processor, together with all but a few tablespoons of the cheese, and blend to a smooth purée-like consistency.
Ladle the soup into bowls, scatter over the rye crumble and top with sour cream, the remaining cheese and some pumpkin shoots, if desired. Serves 8.
— From “Baltic: New and Old Recipes From Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania" by Simon Bajada (Hardie Grant, $35)
Chicken Soup with Hominy, Poblano and Cheez-Its
This recipe combines chicken soup with pozole, but it’s just as much about the toppings as it is about the soup itself. I usually top my soups with something crunchy to give it contrast. One day I literally had nothing but Cheez-It crackers in my pantry; I decided to give it a go. Now, they’re the first thing I grab when sitting down with a bowl of soup. Don’t add too many at the same time because they get soggy quickly, which is why I just keep the whole box close by.
— Danielle Oron
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
7 cloves garlic
1 poblano pepper, stemmed and seeded, roughly chopped
1 (4-ounce) can green chile peppers
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground oregano
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 (25-ounce) can hominy, drained
Thinly sliced radish
Fresh cilantro leaves
In a blender, puree the onion, garlic, poblano, green chiles, cumin, coriander, oregano, apple cider vinegar and chicken stock until fairly smooth.
In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the puree and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Add the chicken thighs and hominy and bring to a boil. Once boiling, skim off any foam that has accumulated at the top. Lower the heat to low, cover and simmer for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.
Remove the chicken and shred. Return it back to the soup. Serve the soup topped with Cheez-Its, avocado, radish, cilantro and lime. Serves 4.
— From “Food You Love But Different: Easy and Exciting Ways to Elevate Your Favorite Meals” by Danielle Oron (Page Street Publishing, $21.99)
Roasted Tomato Soup With Tortilla Crisps
Roasting tomatoes, onions, and garlic is a common technique in the Mexican kitchen. The slight charring intensifies flavor and heightens the sweetness of the vegetables, yielding a soup with a deep, rich taste. Pureed chickpeas give the broth body, and chipotle chiles warm it up. Pass tortilla crisps for diners to add as they like; softened in the broth, the crisps seem almost like noodles. Substitute packaged tortilla chips if you prefer. For a wine pairing, try a California Albariño or rosé.
— Janet Fletcher
2 pounds tomatoes
1 large white onion, sliced into rounds 1/3 inch thick
4 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
Kosher or sea salt
2 cups cooked chickpeas (drain and rinse, if canned)
2 1/2 to 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Chipotle chile in adobo sauce
Canola oil for deep-frying
4 corn tortillas, about 6 inches in diameter
1/3 cup finely grated cotija or pecorino romano
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Preheat the broiler and position an oven rack about 8 inches from the heating element. Line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil. Put the tomatoes on one baking sheet and broil, turning the tomatoes as needed, until their flesh is soft and the skin is charred in spots and splitting. It should take about 20 minutes. Don’t rush this process, as you want the tomatoes to develop a deep roasted flavor. Move the rack down if the skin threatens to char too much before the tomato is cooked through. Set aside.
Put the onion slices and garlic cloves on the second foil-lined baking sheet. Broil, turning the vegetables as needed, until the onion is soft and lightly charred on both sides and the garlic is soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the garlic if it softens before the onions. Don’t allow it to blacken or it will taste bitter. When cool enough to handle, core and peel the tomatoes and peel the garlic.
Put the tomatoes, onion, and garlic in a blender and puree until smooth.
Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the tomato puree and the oregano, crumbling it between your fingers. Season with salt and cook at a vigorous simmer, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes to deepen the flavor.
In the blender, puree the chickpeas with 1 cup of the broth. Add to the tomato mixture along with enough of the remaining broth to bring the soup to the consistency you like. You may not use it all. Stir until smooth. Season to taste with salt and with as much finely chopped chipotle chile as you like. Keep the soup warm.
In a deep, heavy pot, pour the canola oil to a depth of 2 inches and heat to 375 degrees. Have ready a tray or baking sheet lined with a double thickness of paper towels. While the oil is heating, stack the tortillas and cut them in half. Stack the halves with the cut side facing you, then slice into strips 1/2 inch wide. Discard the short end pieces.
In small batches, fry the tortilla strips in the hot oil until golden brown, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Use a wire-mesh skimmer to keep them moving in the oil so they brown evenly. Transfer them with the skimmer to the paper towels and sprinkle generously with salt. Check the oil temperature between batches and adjust the heat as necessary to keep it at 375 degrees. Put the cooled tortilla crisps in a bowl.
Reheat the soup to serving temperature if needed, then divide among six bowls. Garnish each portion with the cotija, dividing it evenly, and cilantro. Serve immediately, passing the tortilla crisps for diners to add to their soup as desired. Serves 6.
— From “Wine Country Table: Recipes Celebrating California's Sustainable Harvest” by Janet Fletcher (Rizzoli, $45)