I always welcome autumn because it means I can haul out my soup pot and make “enough soup to feed an Army,” as my husband always says.
I don’t care if he complains. There’s no other way to make soup. Who ever heard of making two servings of soup at a time, unless you’re cracking open a can from the grocery store? Besides, the hubby doesn’t complain so much on those dark, hectic work nights when I can pull a frozen block of soup from the freezer and have supper on the table within 30 minutes or less.
I always freeze soup in flat, square containers to make the most of my freezer space, but zipper-lock bags will also work. I found some other tips for soup-freezing on Soup Chick, a blog that’s all about soup. Here are a few of the best ones:
* Always leave about an inch of head space in the container to allow the soup room to expand.
*Consider freezing soup in muffin tins, then plopping the frozen portions into a freezer bag. You can heat up one or two portions at a time.
* To ward off freezer burn, lay a piece of plastic wrap directly across the top of the soup before covering and freezing.
It has been my experience that cream- or milk-based soups do not reheat well. They often look curdled or separated. This is a shame because these are my favorite soups. I adore a bowl of cream of broccoli, clam chowder or potato soup!
Soup Chick advises pouring off the liquid portion of the soup after it has cooled, then reheating while whisking in fresh cream or milk. She also says: “To resuscitate a cream-based soup that has separated, first thaw the soup in the refrigerator overnight. If it’s a pureed soup, toss it into the blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender. Then, transfer the soup to a Dutch oven or heavy stockpot, and heat gently on the stovetop.”
I want to share a great soup recipe from a new book called “Family Cookbook” by Caroline Bretherton. This whopper of a book contains more than 700 recipes. This one is for Ribollita, which means “reboiled” in Italian. It is based on a traditional Tuscan soup and calls for pancetta, chicken stock and kale. You could also toss in some chopped cooked chicken.
Have you pulled out the soup pot already this year? If so, what did you make and what is your family’s very favorite soup?
3 1/2 oz. dried navy beans, soaked overnight
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 3/4 oz. chopped pancetta
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 sprigs of thyme
5 to 6 cups chicken stock
2 handfuls (3 1/2 oz.) shredded kale
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 oz. finely grated Parmesan cheese
1. Rinse the soaked beans and place in a pan with plenty of cold water. Bring to a boil, skim off any foam and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for about 1 hour, or until softened. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a separate large saucepan and add the pancetta. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat until crispy. Add celery, carrot and onion, then add garlic and thyme. Continue to cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Pour in stock and add drained beans. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, uncovered, until the beans are very soft.
3. Add kale, cover and cook for 5 minutes until the leaves have wilted. Season to taste, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and serve with chunks of crusty bread for dipping.
Source: “Family Cookbook” by Caroline Bretherton