Although it hasn’t gotten too cold yet (thank god!), it is an undeniable fact that fall is coming to a close and winter will be at Vassar before we know it. While most people might groan at the fact that the sun will now be setting at 4:30 and that temperatures will soon be dropping to freezing, I would like to point out that the arrival of cold weather also makes it permissible to make lots of hot delicious foods that may or may not be good for you. One of the warmest and simplest things anyone can make during the winter months is soup. For this post, I’ve chosen three easy soup recipes: Cream of Cauliflower, Potato Leek, and Pastina and Egg Soup with Spinach. The first is a lovely cream based soup that I adapted from a much more complicated version by “The Pioneer Woman” on foodnetwork.com. The second is a classic French soup made popular by Julia Child in her famous cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. But I adapted this particular recipe from a version by Robert Irvine of the Food Network. The last soup is an Italian classic and perhaps the best tasting, healthiest, and easiest of all of the soups. This particular recipe comes from Mary Ann Esposito’s website ciaoitalia.com. All three of my housemates prefered this last soup above the other two. I’m not sure why, but I think it had something to do with the eggs and the cheese.
Any of these three soups can easily stand as the main course in a dinner for four. I would recommend serving them with warm bread for dipping. And if by some miracle you have leftovers, they keep very well in the fridge for several days and make an easy leftover meal. Enjoy and stay warm!
Cream of Cauliflower Soup:
Melt ½ of a stick of butter in a large soup pot. Add 1 medium diced onion and saute over medium heat for 3 min. Add 2 chopped carrots and 2 medium potatoes (peeled and cubed) and cook for another 5 min. Then stir in one head of cauliflower (cored and roughly chopped), cover and cook on low heat for 15 min.
Next, add 2 tablespoons of fresh finely chopped parsley and 8 cups of chicken broth. Simmer for 10 min. Finally stir in 1 can of cream of broccoli soup and one can of cream of chicken soup. If the mixture seems too thick, add some water. Simmer for another 20 min.
Potato Leek Soup:
Put the following into a large pot and boil for 15-20 min until potatoes are soft:
8 cups chicken stock
6 potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
4 leeks (whites only), sliced
3 stalks celery (parsnips or carrots can also be used), roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried thyme)
Salt and pepper
If you want a smoother soup, you can then let the liquid cool and blend it together in a blender. If you don’t want to do that you can also just mash the vegetable pieces with a potato masher.
Finally, add 1 cup of milk and simmer until soup has thickened, about 10 min.
Pastina and Egg Soup with Spinach:
Bring 2 quarts of chicken or vegetable broth to a boil, add 1 cup of Pastina and cook for 5 min over medium high heat. Lower the heat to medium and stir in 4 cups of washed fresh or frozen spinach and cook for 1 min.
In a separate, deep bottomed bowl, whisk together 4 eggs and 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese. Slowly pour the hot soup into the large heavy bottomed bowl, stir to combine. The hot soup will cook the eggs. Serve immediately.