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Vegetable Soups

Ukranian Borscht - Greg White
             Notes on Greg's Borscht - Rowen
Broccoli Rabe Soup
             Broccoli Rabe Soup - Fred Kiesche
             Creamy Broccoli Soup With Broccoli Rabe - Lois
             Gordon Ramsay's Broccoli Soup - Gary Brown
Sara Waterson's Cucumber Soup
Garden Soup - Astrid Bear
Kale Soup - Jean A.
Tomato Soup
             Easy Tomato Soup - Andrew Midkiff
             Almost Instant Tomato Soup - Adam Quinan
             James Beard's Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup - Alice Gomez
Roasted Root Vegetable Soup
             Astrid Bear
             Katherine Hannan
             John Gosden
Onion, Leek, and Garlic Soups
             Garlic Soup for the Snowbound - Astrid Bear, with Kyle Lerfald's Suggestion
             Leek Soup - Isabelle Hayes
             Onion Soup
                          Onion Soup With Beer - Susan Collicot
                          Browning the Onions - Astrid Bear
                          Variations - Amanda Dunham
                          More on Browning the Onions - Doug Essinger-Hileman
                          Baking the Onions First - Dick McEachern
                          Beer for Susan's Onion Soup - Elizabeth McCullough
                          Beer Suggestion - Bill Nyden
                          Onion Soup - Sue Reynolds
                          Some Hints on FO Soup - Bob Saldeen
                          Variations - Sarah Scott

Ukranian Borscht - Greg White
Here's [my wife's] mother's recipe, which she just translated for me. This would be a Ukranian borscht, and is a borscht to be served hot:
2 Lbs Meat, Beef or Veal, Cubed
1-4 Parsnips, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
2 Beets, fist sized, peeled.
2 carrots, peeled.
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper chopped
3-4 potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1" pieces
1/2 head cabbage, shredded
4 oz tomato paste
4 tbs ketchup
2 lemons, juiced
Tomato juice, about the same volume as you have shredded beets
1 head fresh dill
sugar, salt, pepper - to taste
Boil meat for a minute or two. Discard water. (Editors note: I think this may not be relevant with today's meat, she's trying to defat the meat, hardly the issue today that it once was. Nonetheless, her results were excellent...) Boil meat again, this time with onion and some salt. Skim fat as it rises. Separately, boil beets and carrots until tender; grate them and reserve. Add potatoes and parsnip to the beef mixture and cook until potatoes are not-quite done. Add shredded cabbage and chopped red pepper. Bring to boil. Add grated beets and carrots, tomato paste, ketchup, lemon juice, tomato juice, and head of dill - tied on a string. Return to a boil, then remove dill and discard. Add sugar, salt, pepper to taste. The final product should be tart and slightly sweet.
Serve with sour cream, to be mixed with the Borscht, and half-sour pickles.

Notes on Greg's Borscht - Rowen
Well, after the afternoon's culinary adventures, we finally sat down to supper - big bowls of hot, steaming borscht and a loaf of good French bread. I put sour cream in my soup; my husband ate his 'naked'. And we both loved it!
Greg, thanks for the recipe! It was delicious! And well worth the effort.
I was quite surprised at how good it was - I'd become rather leery of the beets over the course of the afternoon - but taste, texture, and appearance all deserved an "A+" rating.
For anyone else who's thinking about making Greg's recipe:
1) this recipe makes a LOT of soup. I had cut it in half, and I'd say it was still enough to feed 6 well.
2) the suggestion to use the food processor to shred the cabbage, beets and carrots is a good one. I did that and it worked very well. I really can't imagine doing this by hand.
3) I kind of wondered at what seemed like a lot of lemon juice, but it tasted great, so don't cut back.
4) Next time I'll use a heavier bread - rye or pumpernickle. The French bread was a little 'bland' for the soup.

Broccoli Rabe Soup
Broccoli Rabe Soup - Fred Kiesche
1 head garlic
3 quarts water
1/2 pound orecchitte pasta/small shells
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes and/or hot pepper oil
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 bunch broccoli rape (or rabe)
8 cups unsalted chicken broth
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put the garlic on a piece of foil, brush it with 1 tablespoon of oil, enclose it in the foil and bake for about 30 minutes, until it is just tender. Unwrap and cool.
Bring water to boil. Coarsely chop the rape and add it to the water, when the water returns to a rolling boil, remove the rape with a slotted spoon. Set the rape aside and add the pasta. Boil until tender, drain and set aside.
When the garlic is cool enough to handle, peel and chop it.
Heat the remaining oil in a heavy 3-quart saucepan. Add the garlic and cook over medium heat, stirring, about 2 minutes, until the garlic begins to coat the bottom of the pan. Pour about 1/2 cup of the broth into the pan, bring to a simmer and stir to dissolve the garlic. Add the remaining broth and the hot pepper (or hot pepper oil). Stir in the rape and pasta. Season with salt and serve with Parmesan cheese on the side.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Creamy Broccoli Soup With Broccoli Rabe - Lois
From the NY Times website.
Yield: Four servings.
8 ounces plain nonfat yogurt
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 bunch broccoli (about 1 1/2 pounds), trimmed, stalks peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
3 1/2 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned 2 teaspoons salt Freshly ground pepper to taste
Small pinch cayenne 4 stalks broccoli rabe, ends trimmed off.
1. Place the yogurt in a sieve lined with a paper towel. Set aside until all of the liquid has drained off, several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
2. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli stalks and florets and 3 cups of the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the broccoli is soft, about 20 minutes.
3. Place half of the broccoli and cooking liquid with half of the yogurt in a blender. Hold the top down firmly with a kitchen towel and blend until coarsely pureed. Scrape the mixture into a large saucepan and repeat with the remaining broccoli, cooking liquid and yogurt. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth, the salt, pepper and cayenne. Warm the soup over low heat.
4. Separate the broccoli rabe stems from the leaves. Cut the stems into 1/2-inch pieces and cut the leaves across into thin strips. Bring a medium-size pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the stems and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add the leaves and blanch for 1 minute. Drain. Divide the soup among 4 bowls. Top with the broccoli rabe stems and then the leaves and serve immediately.

Gordon Ramsay's Broccoli Soup - Gary Brown
The British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay (whose combative personality often disguises that he's in fact a damn good cook....) has a test for aspiring chefs, whom he challenges with an entire array of perfect produce and meats, and asks them to make Broccoli Soup. He then damns and reviles their complex efforts (creams, chickens, complex herbs etc. etc.), comparing them unfavorably with his own perfect concoction, which consists of: "salt, water and f****ng broccoli".

Sara Waterson's Cucumber Soup
Cucumber soup is very good too, hot or chilled, and simple to make. Puree with chicken or vegetable stock, add cream or soured cream.

Garden Soup - Astrid Bear
I think butter bean might be mature limas. What's usually called a lima bean here, and the thing served in the horrid succotash, is the unripe, small, green, version, usually dry inside, or limp and horrid. The things called "large white lima beans" can make a really good bean soup, especially if you're working with the dried version, well-cooked, of course.
But, a handful of quickly cooked frozen limas tossed into the top of this soup in pretty good.
Place the following in a pot, IN ORDER:
a shredded head of romaine lettuce
a pound of chopped fresh tomatoes, or canned equivalent
a pound of sliced fresh zucchini
1/2 pound sliced carrots
1/2 pound sliced onions
some peas go in here, too, I think
Cook over low heat, covered for about 20 minutes. Everything will gently melt down, and the lettuce will scarcely be visible. Add little water or broth if needed, but in theory you add no water to this soup. Continue to cook until desired degree of doneness is reached, and add a cup of frozen limas that you have gently heated in boiling water.

Kale Soup - Jean A.
Do not attempt this recipe unless you can find some linguica sausage, as it provides the chief seasoning for the soup. This recipe also calls for chourica, which is the Portuguese version of chourico. We usually omit the chourica. I use Gaspar's sausages, made in New Bedford, which can be found in eastern New England at Shaw's or at Star Markets, both owned by Sainsbury's of England.
This is a Provincetown recipe printed in Yankee Magazine in 1993 in an article about the cooking of Joyce Strong, a Provincetown native of Portuguese descent:
1 cup dried pea beans
8-10 cups of chicken broth (part water, if desired)
2 pounds stewing beef
1 pound linguica
1 pound chourica
1 large onion
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
3 pounds kale, torn into small pieces
5 large potatoes, diced small
Soak beans overnight, drain, rinse. Put into large pot with broth, beef, linguica, chourica, onion, salt and pepper. After about one hour remove linguica and chourica. Continue cooking until beans and meat are tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Remove meat, add kale and potatoes. Simmer for two hours. Cut meat into small pieces ( about 2 inches). Crumble linguica and chourica, add to kale mixture while simmering. Let kale soup set overnight for better flavor. Portuguese never serve it the day it is prepared. Makes 1 1/2-2 gallons.
Note: If in a hurry, substitute 3 cans of bean and bacon soup for the dried beans and use 4 packages frozen kale. This cuts preparation time about 1 hour.
A good friend who has Cape Verdean ancestry adds sweet potatoes or yams. Kidney beans are also good instead of pea beans.

Tomato Soup
Easy Tomato Soup - Andrew Midkiff
We make tomato soup from tomato puree, a tablespoon or so of butter and a 1/4 cup of chicken or vegetable stock. Heat it all up. That's all. Salt to taste, add lemon for a tart treat and you've got great and easy tomato soup.

Almost Instant Tomato Soup - Adam Quinan
Or my almost instant tomato soup:
Saute and an onion and a little garlic until soft, add a can tomato juice, (and some puree if you want it thicker) a pinch of suitable herbs and a dash of Worcestershire Sauce and a drop or two of Tabasco. Heat to boiling and serve, Put a swirl of cream or some such on top if you want to make it fancy.

James Beard's Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup - Alice Gomez
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
6 medium-large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 cup heavy cream
Dollop of sour cream and chopped parsley
(4 servings)
Saute onion for 5 minutes or until limp in butter in a 4-quart saucepan. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, baking soda and sage. Saute for 10-12 minutes or until thickened and pasty. Remove from heat and stir in the cream. Taste for seasoning. Return to heat and heat through. Serve in heated soup cups or refrigerate and serve chilled with a dollop of sour cream and chopped parsley.
Note: The soup may be pureed in a food processor.
My note:
I did not peel, seed or chop the tomatoes or finely chop 1 small onion. Instead, I cut the onion and tomatoes into quarters, drizzled a bit of olive oil in their general direction, sprinkled chopped fresh sage and the pepper over them, and baked for 45 minutes or so. When they were mushy, I pureed everything in the food processor (along with the baking soda, but I'm not sure if that was necessary), and heated it until it was cooked down to "thickened and pasty", adding the cream and salt (to taste) at that point, and heating it through.

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup
Astrid Bear
Speaking of parsnips, I made a marvelous soup the other day, based on a recipe received in conversation with a friend:
Roasted Root Vegetable Soup
Peel and cut into chunks, assorted root vegetables. I used 2 parsnips, one large onion, 3 Yukon Gold potatoes, one sweet potato, and 3 large cloves of garlic. The garlic, being roasted, is very mellow. The final soup had a rich and sweet quality, not garlicky at all.
Toss on a baking sheet with olive oil and a little salt and roast until golden on the edges in a preheated 425 F degree oven, turning over once or twice -- this will take 15-20 minutes.
Let roasted vegetables cool, then puree, adding chicken broth as needed to loosen the mixture. When smooth, put into a saucepan and bring to serving temperature, adding more chicken broth until the soup is the desired thickness.
Amazingly good! One could mix and match the vegetables -- a couple of carrots would not be amiss, a turnip or two perhaps -- whatever amuses.

Katherine Hannan
Yum! This sounds wonderful although I would add the carrots and turnips and cut down on the garlic not being overly fond of the last.

John Gosden
Parsnips and turnips being hard to come by here in Indonesia (only imported occasionally), I increased the sweet potatoes, added the carrots and increased the garlic (which being roasted is also sweet). To boost the protein I threw in some broad beans which had been hanging around the freezer for longer than was good. I had to roast for half an hour before the roots were tender enough to liquidise, but the result was delicious - and voted so by the rest of the family.

Onion, Leek, and Garlic Soups
Garlic Soup for the Snowbound - Astrid Bear, with Kyle Lerfald's Suggestion
Those of you stuck cosily in the snow may enjoy simmering up the following, from a recipe by the Blessed Julia (Child, that is):
1 or 2 large heads of garlic, unpeeled cloves separated and smashed
2 quarts of water
2 tsp salt
big pinch of freshly ground pepper
2 whole cloves
1/4 tsp sage
1/4 tsp thyme
bay leaf
6 sprigs parsley
Throw all into a pot, bring to boil, simmer partly covered for 30 minutes. Strain into a bowl, pressing juices out of the solids. Return to pot. At this point it's a bracing broth, but wait! There's more!
Whisk 3 egg yolks in a mixing bowl for a minute or so. Slowly whisk in up to 1/4 cup of very good olive oil, beginning with a few drops at a time. You're basically making a mayonnaise-like cream. When you're ready to serve, whisk a spoon of simmer temperature soup into the egg/oil emulsion, and continue whisking in soup, thoroughly mixing in each addition, and never adding too much, because you don't want to scramble the egg yolks.
To make it more substantial, after the soup is strained you can add in small cubes of potato, or fish, or chicken breast. Cook these additions just until they are done -- chicken takes about 5 minutes. Then proceed to the egg yolk stage. Sprinkle some chopped parsley on top, if you like.
Serve with crusty bread, and some grated Parmesan. Wow! So good!
Kyle sez: add cilantro

Leek Soup - Isabelle Hayes
Clean and cut up some leeks, how many depends on their size;
Heat a little olive oil, and saute the leeks just a little;
Add an equal quantity of potatoes and another vegetable, like small turnips or carrots, or the woody parts of cauliflower or broccoli or asparagus.
Add a little soup-stock flavoring to the mix, add a cup and a half or so of hot water and cook until the veggies are done; if you've used cauliflower, broccoli or asparagus, put the more delicate parts in at the end of the cooking; when the stuff has cooled somewhat, put in blender in small portions and liquefy; put back in pot, add cream about 1/2 to one cup, salt to taste, mix well, and serve either hot or lukewarm. If using the turnips add tabasco at the end, to taste.

Onion Soup
Onion Soup With Beer - Susan Collicot
6 medium onions (2 to 2.5 lbs)
0.5 cup butter
2 cloves garlic (I use about a quarter of the amount of garlic but then I'm a garlic wimp)
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon paprika
12 oz dark beer
8 cups Beef Stock (from the book) or canned regular strength beef broth
6 to 8 slices french bread, cut about 1 inch thick (I actually use a sourdough bread, that I pick up that same day at the Pike Place Market)
6 to 8 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
0.5 to 0.75 pound Swiss cheese, shredded (2 to 3 cups)
Cut onion in half lengthwise, then cut across the grain into lengthwise slivers. In a 5 to 6 quart kettle over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions, cover, and cook until limp (about 10 minutes). Uncover and cook, stirring often, until onions are lightly browned (about 15 minutes). Reduce heat to medium low if onions begin to brown too quickly.
Mince or press one of the garlic cloves. Add mince garlic, four, and paprika to onions, stirring to blend flour into mixture. Remove from heat and gradually stir in beer and 2 cups of the stock. Return to heat and bring to a boil, stirring. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, place bread slices on a baking sheet. Peel remaining clove of garlic, cut it in half, and with it rub both sides of each bread slice. Bake in 325 degree Fahrenheit oven until crisp and lightly browned (40 minutes). Sprinkle each slice with 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese. [Note: I often skip this step, as I don't appreciate lots of cheese on the bread.]
After soup has simmered for 1 hour, add remaining 6 cups stock; bring to a gentle boil. Season to taste with salt/pepper.
Divide soup among ovenproof bowls. Top each with a slice of toasted French bread. Sprinkle Swiss cheese over bread slices. Place bowls on a baking sheet about 6" below broiler. Broil until the cheese is bubbling and lightly browned. Serve at once.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings (10 to 12 cups).
Susan's note: Often skip the garlic Parmesan step on the bread. But definitely toast the bread gives the bread some form, even after soaking in the soup. Too many places plop an untoasted slice down on the soup, and it turns to goo. I also like to use whole slices of Swiss, and other cheeses, combined on top instead of shreds. Depends on who is coming over, or if it's just me. Also, I will frequently leave a lot of the cooked onions in the pot sometimes I just want a few in the bowl. Then I use the leftover onions and broth for the start of a stew or pot roast the next night, or even for french dip sandwiches.
Sometimes I leave out the beer, and substitute a cooking wine, just for fun. I play around with this recipe a lot, leaving out the garlic and trying different herbs and such. I usually use canned beef stock, as I don't have the patience to make it myself.
The book's recipe for Beef Stock is:
The bones and vegetables in this recipe are first roasted to give the stock a brown color and a rich flavor. For the best flavor, use knuckle bones with some meat attached. If possible, use a mixture of beef soup bones and veal knuckle bones; the combination will make a more flavorful stock, with the veal bones also serving as a natural thickener. Meat scraps, completely trimmed of fat, can be added to the stock during the last quarter of cooking time.
4 lbs beef soup bones, chopping in a few pieces by the butcher [love that note! "don't try this at home" sort of tone. Hee hee.]
2 medium onions, unpeeled, root end cut off, quartered
2 medium carrots, scrubbed but not peeled, quartered
2 stalks celery, cut in approx 2" pieces
2 bay leaves
10 stems parsley (without leaves)
4 cloves garlic (unpeeled)
0.5 teaspoon black peppercorns
0.5 teaspoon dried thyme
16 cups (approx) cold water
Preheat oven to 450 F. Roast bones in a roasting pan, turning occasionally with a slotted metal spatula, until they begin to brown (about 30 minutes). Add onions, carrots, and celery; roast until browned (about 30 minutes).
Drain off fat. With a slotted spatula, transfer bones and vegetables to a stockpot, kettle, or other large pot. To ingredients in stockpot add bay leaves, parsley stems, garlic, peppercorns, thyme, and enough of the cold water to cover.
Bring just to a boil. Add a little more cold water to reduce to below boiling; stir once. Bring back just to a boil and reduce heat to very low so that liquid bubbles very gently. Skim off foam that collects on surface. Partially cover and cook, skimming foam and fat occasionally, for 4 to 6 hours. During first 2 hours of cooking, add hot water occasionally to keep ingredients covered.
Strain stock through a colander lined with several thicknesses of dampened cheese cloth, discarding solids. If stock is not to be used immediately, cool to lukewarm. Refrigerate until fat rises to surface and congeals (8 hours). If stock will be used within 3 to 5 days, leave fat; skim fat when ready to use. If stock is to be frozen, skim fat.

Browning the Onions - Astrid Bear
Somewhere I read that you must have the strength of character to slowly burn your onions, i.e. cook them until they are a really dark brown. I've done it that way ever since, and it comes out great.

Variations - Amanda Dunham
My sister gave me her recipe, which unfortunately I don't have with me. Her variations are to use a good white wine and Monterey Jack cheese. I make it with port and Jarlsberg. ALWAYS with good sourdough. A neat trick to save time: you don't have to grate the cheese! If it's sliced thinly enough, you can put it on the toasted bread in the bottom of the bowl and pour the soup over. It's good to be the List Sin Eater...

More on Browning the Onions - Doug Essinger-Hileman
In early December, I came across a recipe by Mario Bataglia on the Food Network's website for bow ties with an onion/cream sauce (there was an Italian name to the dish, which I don't remember). I have found that the method of cooking the onions lends itself very nicely to other recipes, and believe that it would make for a very heavenly onion soup.
After chopping the onions to the desired fineness (I prefer to chop coarsely, except when using in a homemade onion dip), sweat the onions (and chopped or minced garlic, if one desires) in olive oil over medium to medium-low heat for about five minutes. This will tend to develop the sweetness of the onions. Then turn up the heat to medium-high and caramelize the onions, which will further develop the sweetness while adding a wonderful savoryness.
For making onion soup, do this in same pot in which you will make the soup. When the onions are ready, add whatever broth you choose (and there have been a number of wonderful suggestions already) and simmer to your heart's and palate's desire. Finish over a piece of the bread of your choice, topped with the cheese of your choice, under the broiler.

Baking the Onions First - Dick McEachern
I get a darker, richer result if I roast the onions in thick slices in the oven using the broiler very carefully. Gruyere works better than plain old generic Swiss cheese for melting.
Many years ago my mother had onion soup for the first time, loved it and asked what kind of cheese was on the top. The waitress replied. . . au gratin.

Beer for Susan's Onion Soup - Elizabeth McCullough
A sad note: though Guinness is like another member of our household, I have found that it is NOT the kind of beer you can cook with. I made Susan C's onion soup recipe the other day -- for "dark beer" I used Guinness -- and O, the bitterness!

Beer Suggestion - Bill Nyden
For a dark beer for cooking, try Theakston's "Old Peculier", a relatively sweet Yorkshire ale.

Onion Soup - Sue Reynolds
Good onion soup can be made from very simple ingredients--I've never tried it with beer, for the simple fact I have none in the house, but French onion soup starts with cutting up four or five onions, or more if you wish, and cooking them slowly, slowly in a little bacon fat or (in these cholesterol conscious days) vegetable oil, until the onion shreds turn first translucent and then caramelize slowly into browned soft bits of onion. It takes about half an hour or more, with much stirring to avoid scorching. Add the onions to some real beef broth--say, what's left over from the pot roast last night--and eke it out with some white wine, if you need more liquid. If worst comes to worst, canned beef broth, but NO BOUILLON CUBES!!!!! (Impolite shouting intentional--those little lumps of salt and fat are worse than portable soup.) Heat the soup nicely and find some stale French bread. Ladle soup into ovenproof bowls, top with a hunk of stale bread, and cover that with a good melting cheese, like Muenster or Havarti or Gruyere. Edam does not work. Cheddar would be terrible. Don't even think Kraft American singles. Heat the soup bowls under the broiler until the cheese melts and starts to bubble.
Basically, this is a left-over soup from a thrifty French housewife--broth, stale bread, a bit of cheese, and an onion or seven for flavor and to hold the bread up a bit. There's very little else you can do with stale French bread--it will tear your mouth apart if you tried to have the cheese on it as a sandwich--and even Killick knew you could get some flavor from a cheese rind if you melted it first.
Garlic? I'd put in two or three cloves minced fine with the onions, but I Like garlic.

Some Hints on French onion Soup - Bob Saldeen
There's nothing like French onion soup made with Vidalia onions--it's like a different experience altogether. Vidalias come out pretty soon--you start seeing them in the late spring. Unfortunately, about the time the Vidalias come out, it's near the end of the hot broiled soup season.
Havarti is also a good choice for the cheese.
We go past being garlic wimps--can't stand the stuff*. No garlic in ours.
Like Susan, we use sourdough too. It's a great combo.
You can't rush that simmering stage--the longer the better.
*Yes, I can see myself in the mirror.

Variations - Sarah Scott
We use red wine instead of beer, double the onions, and plenty of garlic. Rye bread on top (toasted) and gruyere if its handy. Thomas is partial to making it with sweet onions (and he adds mushrooms), but I think the sharpest ones you can find make a better job of it.
Ours is hardly soup at all in the end being very thick and gooey.