There’s just something comforting about a big bowl of soup. Small batch soup recipes are hard to find though. I have some cookbooks with recipes that produce up to 10 servings! Since soup is often time-consuming I don’t want to make just one serving that often (though I can make one serving of spicy beef soup) or Easy Italian Wedding Soup with a bit of help from some pre-made broth.
These soup recipes make three or four servings. Enough so you feel the time and effort was worth it, but not so much that it’s overwhelming (or that your freezer is full of soup and nothing else).
I should probably refer to this pasta e fagioli soup as “blizzard soup.” The forecast called for up to 20 inches of snow (though we only got seven). I was determined to keep the stove going and get a batch of hot soup. Besides, there is more snow coming tomorrow!
Therefore, I deliberately made this the “hard” way. First, I soaked the beans overnight. Then I cooked the beans and sort of followed a recipe from The New York Times. I cut it in half and added pancetta (don’t know why they left that out).
I even made my own vegetable stock. If you spot potatoes and carrots in the photo, it’s because they were in the homemade vegetable stock recipe . Neither one is traditional for pasta e fagioli soup, but I left them in anyway. Why toss perfectly good veggies? I didn’t include them in the recipe here though.
You can use vegetable stock, or chicken stock if you prefer. I would have made chicken stock but I didn’t have enough chicken bones. And I certainly wasn’t going out to get some in a blizzard!
Don’t be put off by the long prep time on this recipe. That includes soaking the beans overnight. You can speed this up by using my quick soak method. That cuts the soaking time down from 8 hours to only one.
If you’re really in a hurry, and don’t have the time or patience to soak and cook the beans for an hour or more, use a can of white cannellini beans instead. Make the beans, then add that to the rest of the soup. You won’t have to wait while the beans cook.
Pour the soaked beans, along with the water, into a large pot (a Dutch oven will do nicely).
Add the onion and turn the heat to medium. Bring it to a soft boil (bubbling slowly,).
You may see foam rising to the top. You can remove that with a spoon (it's not harmful, it's just not attractive).
Add the garlic and the bay leaf (you can put the bay leaf in a tea ball so it's easier to remove).
Simmer the beans for 30 minutes.
Add salt to taste and let the beans cook another hour. Check to see that they're soft. If not, cook another half an hour.
Taste the beans and add more salt if needed. Take out the bay leaf. Drain the beans with a colander over a bowl. Keep the broth, you'll use it for the soup.
Heat oil in dutch oven. Add the onion and cook for five minutes or until the onion softens.
Add the rosemary, garlic, and pancetta.
Cook for a minute. The scent should start to waft through your kitchen.
Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt, and pepper
Cook for 5-10 minutes.
Add the bean broth you set aside, and the stock.
Add the bouquet garni, Manchego rinds, and more salt.
Turn the heat to medium-high until the soup boils. Then reduce the heat and let it simmer for half an hour.
Add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes, until it's al dente.
Taste and add more salt and/or pepper if needed.
Remove the cheese rinds and serve.
Use dried beans if you have them, and have the time. If not, this works with canned beans too. If you use canned beans, drain the can first. Place the beans, water, and the remaining ingredients from the bean recipe in your pot. Simmer for 30 minutes. Then move on to the rest of the soup.
You can tie the bouquet garni ingredients together (if you use fresh herbs). If not, put them in a tea ball. It makes it easier to remove them.
Substitutions and Variations for Pasta e Fagioli Soup
Save time and use canned beans
Try different kinds of beans: pinto, kidney, or cranberry
Use chicken stock instead of vegetable stock
Use bacon or pork fat instead of pancetta (I even used soppressata salami once)
Add one potato (cut into chunks) to the soup
Chop up a handful of spinach and add that with the pasta
I’ve been fighting a terrible cold, so I needed soup. Specifically soup with curry or something spicy to cut through the congestion and fight those germs! So I turned to the Silver Palate cookbook and made curried chicken soup. I think it’s working!
A couple of notes on this. First, I used hot curry, which I don’t think I will do again. It was good for the cold, but a bit much for the soup. Next, I took the photo and realized I forgot to add the half-and-half! It’s creamy curried chicken soup!
If you don’t want the half-and-half, that’s fine. It’s good either way (I added it to the second bowl I ate).
Finally, the original recipe says to defrost the peas first. I don’t think that’s really necessary. Peas cook fairly quickly, unless they’re all stuck together in the box.
Making this soup is much easier (and less messy) if you have a stick blender. Just put the blender in the soup, press the button, and puree it. Otherwise, you’ll need to strain it, put the solids in a standing blender or food processor and then add some cooking liquid. Full instructions are in the recipe.
If you have the hand blender, this soup requires very little effort. Cut up the vegetables, add the stock, rice, and chicken, and just let it cook.
I’ve cut the original recipe in half, so it makes 2-3 servings instead of 4-6. Eat one right away and freeze (or save) the rest for another day.
A slightly spicy curried chicken soup with carrots.
3 T unsalted butter
1 cup (about one medium) onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 T curry powder
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 chicken thighs (bone-in)
1/4 C long grain white rice
1/2 C half-and-half*
5 ounces (about 2/3 C) frozen peas
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Once the butter is melted, add the onions, carrots, and the curry powder. Stir that around to combine everything.
Next, reduce the heat to a low flame (or temperature setting). Let the vegetables and curry cook on low for about 20 minutes. Stir the mixture every once in a while so it doesn't stick and cooks evenly.
Add the stock, chicken, and the rice. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it's boiling, cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer (it should bubble occasionally). Let it cook for about 25 minutes until the rice and the chicken are cooked.
Carefully remove the chicken (use tongs) and set it aside. Let it rest for 10 minutes until it's cool enough to handle. Once you can touch it, cut it up into small pieces and keep it separate on the cutting board for now.
If you have a hand blender, stick it in the pot and puree the soup. If not, strain the soup into a bowl and put the solids into a blender or food processor with about one cup of liquid. Blend until smooth, adding more cooking liquid if necessary. Then put everything back in the pot.
Add the half-and half to the pot (if using), along with the diced chicken. Discard the bones, or save them for stock. Add the peas and heat the soup for 15 minutes until the peas are cooked.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
*It's supposed to be creamy chicken curry soup. I forgot to add the cream. It was delicious without it. You can also add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt on top.
There’s nothing better than hot soup on a chilly, blustery day. This curried butternut squash soup with apples is perfect for cold fall or winter weekends. I had plenty of squash left over from making roasted cinnamon nutmeg butternut squash, so this was the perfect way to use it up. I have adapted the recipe from The Silver Palate cookbook, with a few tweaks.
First, I cut the recipe in half, as the original recipe made 6 large servings. Plus, I only had most of one squash left (not two!). I also substituted apple cider for the apple juice called for in the recipe.
One more note, use a mild curry in this recipe (not something super-hot and spicy as it will overwhelm the squash and the apple). I have a West Indian curry blend which is more savory than spicy; it works perfectly.
An easy soup that's perfect for chilly fall or winter days.
2 T sweet butter
1 C onion (about one medium-large), finely chopped
3 teaspoons mild curry powder (preferably West Indian)
1 butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 1/2 C chicken stock
1/2 C apple cider
salt and peper to taste
Melt the butter in a three quart dutch oven or soup pot.
Add the chopped onions and the curry powder. Cover the pot and let the onions cook, on low heat, about 20 minutes.
Peel the squash and cut it into chunks. You don't have to be too neat about this as you're going to puree the soup. The easiest way is to take a large, sharp knife and cut the squash in half (width-wise) and then into smaller hunks. Make sure you scrape out the seeds and discard them. I find a grapefruit spoon works nicely.
When the onions are soft, add the stock, the chunks of squash, and the apple to the pot.
Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil. Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook (with the cover partially off the pot), until the apples and squash are soft. This should take about half an hour.
Turn off the flame and remove the pot from the heat.
Now, take a stick blender and puree the soup until it's smooth.
Add the apple cider and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Tools and Ingredients for Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Apples
The original recipe called for straining the soup, then putting it through a food mill or food processor, and then pouring it back into the original pot. Doable, but a pain in the neck, and it means two more things to clean. The immersion blender is much easier to use, and a lot easier to clean up too. You just pop off the end and wash it.
Nothing beats a bowl of split pea soup with ham hock when it’s cold outside. This recipe for Dutch split pea soup has ham, split peas (of course), and bacon. Add some crusty bread, or a sandwich, and you’ve got lunch.
The original recipe came from the NY Times Cookbook, but I’ve changed it a bit. For one thing, it made up to 10 servings (which means one person would be eating soup for a very long time)! This recipe is only for four servings. Just enough to enjoy it without feeling like you are drowning in split pea soup!
That recipe also called for celeraic (which I never have) and salt pork. Salt pork is fine, but I found it worked really well with bacon (preferably Trader Joe’s no nitrate bacon).
It also freezes well, so you can save some soup for later.
Optional: 1/4 C chopped leek, one carrot (sliced), one frankfurter
Wash the peas under cold water. Sort through them to remove any stones that may have gotten mixed in. Put in a large pot and add the water. Let stand overnight. If you're in a hurry, use my quick soaking method for the split peas.
Cook the bacon in a skillet for five minutes, until browned. Add the onion (and leek or carrot if using), and cook the mixture for another 10 minutes. The vegetables should be soft.
Add the vegetable/bacon mixture to the pot with the split peas. Add the bay leaf (I like to use a tea ball for this so it's easy to find again), salt and pepper to taste, and the pig's knuckle (or ham bone). Cover and bring to a boil (slowly). Once it comes to a boil, turn down the heat, Let the soup simmer for two hours. If it gets too thick, add half a cup of water.
Once the ham hock (or bone) is tender, remove it from the soup. Run it under cool water (so you can handle it), then shred the meat and set it aside. Throw away the bone. Fish out the bay leaf (or just remove the tea ball) and discard that too.
If you don’t have a hand blender, use a standard blender with a towel over it. Why the towel? So the soup doesn’t fly in your face and all over the room. If you take the plastic cup out, cover the hole with a towel, and blend, the steam can escape and the soup stays put.
If you’ve got the hand blender, all you have to do is immerse it in the pot and press the button. It’s easier and there’s less cleanup.
Put the meat back into the soup and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve hot.
The prep time assumes you use the quick soak method for the beans.
Put the bay leaf in a tea ball so it's easier to remove.
Substitutions and Variations for Split Pea Soup Recipe with Ham Hock
the original recipe called for 1/2 C diced leek (great for flavor, but not something I usually have in the fridge); if you use it, reduce the amount to about 1/4C.
cut up a frankfurter or a chunk of keilbasa, cook it and add it to the soup
add a carrot for a bit of sweetness
top with croutons
cook some extra bacon, crumble it, and top the soup with it
add freshly grated parmesan cheese
add a parmesan or manchego cheese rind to the soup while it’s simmering
T-fal A92279 Specialty Stockpot 8 Quart This pot is non-stick inside and out (just the thing for split pea soup). That also makes it easy to clean. The glass lid has a vent in it, so it’s less likely to spill all over the place. It is tall though, so if you’re short, this may not be for you.
Recipes for some of the world’s favorite soups (and a few new ones): beef and barley, sweet potato, cucumber, and spinach with feta.
New England Soup Factory Cookbook Your favorite soups (like beef and barley, hot and sour, and butternut squash. Plus some brand-new ones you may have never heard of – how about spinach, feta, and pine nuts? Or eggplant parmesan?
The Best Soups in the World 247 recipes gathered from around the world by a James Beard award winning cook. There’s California chilled peach soup, Tanzanian black-eyed peas and coconut soup, Chayote soup from Nicaragua, and Tuscan white bean.
Don’t be scared by the exotic names and places – he also provides lists of places to buy the ingredients at reasonable prices online (if your local store doesn’t stock them).
A year of soup – arranged by season. You’ll find Sweet Potato Soup with Orange Creme Fraiche for fall and Asparagus Soup with Tarragon Cream for spring. There’s even a cold cucumber soup with salmon and dill for summer.
I don’t know about you, but I’m still going through turkey from Thanksgiving. Mom gave me the carcass (thanks mom), and I had already used that to make stock. I thought about making some turkey soup, but decided I’d had enough turkey for the time being. My online friend Terry had posted a “recipe” (no amounts or detailed directions, just the ingredients) for a spicy beef noodle soup and that sounded awfully good.
She used red pepper which I didn’t have, as well as a specialty Korean chili sauce (which I also didn’t have). However, cooking is part following what someone else is done, part inspiration, and part improvisation, so I went with improvisation.
I did have cabbage, and I also had leftover steak, sriracha, and chili garlic sauce. I figured those would work just fine for my beef noodle soup.
If you don’t have turkey stock, you could use beef or even chicken if you prefer (see improvisation!). If you want to make your own stock, the recipe is here.
Either way, once you have the stock, the rest of the soup is really easy to make and only needs a few ingredients.
Start the noodles first, then while they’re cooking, heat the stock in a separate pot and add the other ingredients. Or, you could throw everything (except the steak!) in one pot. If you do, the noodles will absorb a lot of the liquid, so you’ll need more.
Since I had the leftover steak, I didn’t even have to cook that. If you don’t, cook that while the noodles are cooking, and then add it to the soup at the last minute.
Another thing about this spicy beef noodle soup is that with all that garlicky, spicy goodness it will kill any germs that may be plaguing you!
I’ve mind melded two lentil soup recipes for this and added a few variations to make lentil bean sausage soup. I was going to make bean and sausage soup but looked in the cupboard and found I was woefully short on beans. There just weren’t enough to make anything with. But, I did have more lentils. And, a friend was talking about the bean, sausage, and potato soup she was making.
That gave me an idea. Bean, lentil, potato, and sausage, plus a bit of manchego rind for some savor (I’ve always wanted to try that, and I had a big bag of rinds in the fridge).
Manchego, parmesan, and romano cheese rinds are great, by the way, for soup or for grating cheese when there’s plenty left on the rind, but not enough to serve.
The nice thing about lentils is that unlike beans, you don’t have to soak them first to use them.
If you only have lentils, skip the beans entirely. If you only have beans, use my quick soak method to speed up the process.
Tea strainers are great for tea, but they also have a second use for making soup and other recipes. Many recipes call for cheesecloth (which I’ve never seen in a store, and seems wasteful anyway). Instead, I use the tea ball for bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves, and herb mixtures that have to be added (and then removed) from soup or other recipes. Because, who wants to bite down into a peppercorn?!
The New York Times Cook Book This cookbook was the source for part of the recipe. I have had my copy so long it’s falling apart. The soup section includes lentil, split pea, and the savory tomato soup which is the basis for my dad’s secret soup recipe.
The Silver Palate Cookbook I’m on my second copy of this, and it’s time for a third! The other half of the soup recipe comes from the bean and sausage soup in this cookbook. The peasant vegetable is also wonderful, as is the six onion soup. Actually, I’ve never had a bad recipe from this one. Plus there are suggestions and variations for many of the recipes, which I like.
It’s getting chilly outside, so that means it’s time to start making soup. I spotted a bag of red lentils in Trader Joe’s, and just had to have them. The nice thing about lentils is that they cook fairly quickly. So, you can have delicious red lentil carrot soup in about an hour, without having to wait for beans to soak.
The lentils do need to be rinsed, but that only takes a minute.
Now that I had my lentils, it was time to find a recipe. I looked at several recipes, and didn’t like any of them. Also, reading the reviews it sounded like the ones I did find needed some tweaking. I ended up combining two different recipes, and adjusting them based on the comments.
While this isn’t one serving, I did cut the original recipes in half because I didn’t want 8 servings of soup (no room in the freezer). This recipe makes 3-4 servings, depending on whether you have the soup as a main course or a side dish. Adding the rice will make it more filling.
The result was this red lentil soup with carrots. The soup has cumin for earthiness, a bit of garlic for spice, and some garam masala and hot curry for heat. If you don’t have hot curry, use standard curry and add some cayenne to the soup.
The first time I made this Moroccan chicken and bean soup it was “surprise soup.” It was a cold day, and I looked around in my fridge, saw beans, chicken, and carrots, and thought, there must be a soup in here someplace! So, I started paging through my cookbooks. I found a recipe for Hariza, which is Morrocan bean and vegetable soup, in The Book of Jewish Food (a wonderful cookbook which is part recipes and part travelogue). The recipe called for lamb (but I had no lamb in the fridge) and lentils (no lentils in the pantry), but I figured I could adjust it.
I replaced the lamb with chicken and the lentils with white beans. The carrots, well they had to wait for another day.
I used soaked beans (since I already had them; you can use a can instead, or try my quick soak method to speed up the process.
It’s technically spring as I type this, but at 57 degrees it sure doesn’t feel like it. Time for soup!
Moroccan inspired chicken soup with beans and vegetables.
3 T canola oil
1 lb. chicken thighs (about 3 or 4)
4 cups water
1/2 can beans, or 3/4 C dried beans, soaked overnight (or use the quick soak method)
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp black pepper
16 oz can tomatoes, crushed
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
pinch turmeric or saffron
1//4 C flour
2 oz. thin noodles, like vermicelli or angel hair, broken in quarters
1/2 tsp dried coriander
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Heat 1 T of the canola (or other neutral oil) in a large pot Add the chicken pieces and brown, turning occasionally, for five minutes.
Add the water, and bring the pot to a boil. Remove any scum that rises to the top.
Now add the beans to the pot.
In a separate frying pan, cook the onions in the oil until they brown.
Season the soup with salt and pepper and bring it to a simmer, cooking about 1 1/2 hours.
Add the tomatoes, jalapeno, ginger and turmeric. If the soup boils down too much and gets too thick, add more water to bring it to the right consistency.
Mix the flour with a bit of cold water, to make a paste. Add the flour paste to the soup, stirring so it doesn't clump together. It should thicken the soup and make it "velvety. (think velveting chicken in Chinese cooking). Now add the pasta and simmer it another 15 minutes until the pasta is cooked. Add the coriander and the lemon juice.
If you used bone-in thighs (and you should for more flavor), let the soup cool for a minute or two and pull out the bones.
Pour the soup into bowls and serve, or package into individual portions and freeze.
You can substitute lamb and lentils for the chicken and beans, or switch the pasts with rice.
I have a similar pot in a smaller size, but I really lust after the bigger one. Mine also doesn’t have the built-in strainer (which seems very handy). It does have the glass lid, which is great because I can easily see how close the food is to boiling without lifting the lid and getting a face full of steam. It’s great for soup or chili or a big pot of pasta when company is coming. Frontier Turmeric Root Ground, 1.92-Ounce Bottle Turmeric is related to ginger and has a warm, peppery flavor. Like ginger, it can be savory or sweet, and can be used in both dinner and dessert recipes. It’s great in soups, on chicken, lamb, or mixed in with scrambled eggs. It’s also an anti-inflammatory.
Lamb and lentil soup is rich, hearty, and filling. It’s a great dish for a cold winter’s day. This recipe is for one serving of soup (more on that later).
I had some lamb broth leftover from the lamb breast provencale recipe I posted a few days ago. Since I wasn’t in a particular hurry, and it was chilly, I decided to use it up and make a single serving of lamb and lentil soup. I’d just bought a bag of lentils, and lentils and lamb are a good combination. Since it was an experiment, it was also a good way to test the recipe on a single serving of soup before I made a huge pot of it.
This recipe uses that lamb broth, plus lentils, diced tomatoes and thyme for lots of flavor.
It does take a while to cook, but once you get the ingredients together it’s mostly set it and forget it, so you can start it early and then go do something else while your soup simmers on the stove (and delicious smells start wafting through your home).
Serve with a chunk of crusty bread (to sop up every last drop of soup from the bottom of the the bowl). Since this is “the single serving chef” you can be messy if you want. Nobody will know.
I made this for one because I had one serving’s worth of broth. You can scale up the recipe, make a larger batch, and then freeze it in single serving containers (or save some for a fast lunch another day).
The other nice thing, is that while it does take a while to cook, the prep time is minimal.
Every year after the holidays are over, we all end up with lots of leftover turkey. Lots and lots of it. I’ve made a lot of the “standard” leftover turkey soup, with potatoes and carrots and broccoli. This time I wanted something with more zip. I had some turkey (naturally), some tomatoes, lime, and of course spices, so I decided to go for a south of the border flavor. So, spicy leftover turkey soup was born.
Ironically, a friend (who translates books from English to Spanish) once told me there are no turkeys in South America, which made her job rather difficult when she had to translate some turkey recipes.
I suppose that makes this not strictly authentic Mexican food. Authentic or not, the tangy lime, the spicy cayenne, and the cool sour cream make the soup flavorful, rich, and satisfying.
2 T vegetable oil, or enough to cover the bottom of a medium saucepan
1 small onion, chopped (or about a quarter of a large one)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 C beans
1/2 can diced tomatoes
1/2 can tomato sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1 1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/2 juice lime
salt and pepper
3 C water
1/4 turkey carcass (if it's not after Thanksgiving, use a turkey thigh)
1/4C mild shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 T sour cream or Greek yogurt
Heat the oil in a medium size saucepan.
Add the onions and saute for a few minutes until slightly softened.
Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
Once that's softened, add the remaining ingredients (except for the toppings). Simmer one hour and then remove the turkey carcass. Let it cool for a minute or two (so you can handle it). Pick off any remaining meat and discard the bones.
Pour into a bowl and top with sour cream (or Greek yogurt) and cheese.
This makes about three or four servings, depending how hungry you are. Eat one and freeze the rest in individual containers.
Quick and Easy Spicy Leftover Turkey Soup Substitutions and Variations
Since recipes are often meant to be guidelines, and since we don’t always have the exact ingredients handy, here are some substitutions:
If you don’t have a turkey carcass, use turkey thighs, depending on size, one or two should do it.
I used navy beans for the soup, you could use white kidney beans or pinto beans
Replace the diced tomatoes with 1/2 C peeled tomatoes (and smush them up)
Add a handful of frozen corn
Top with crumbled tortilla chips, or cut up some tortillas, fry them, and sprinkle them on top of the soup for extra crunch.