"I usually pray as I make a fare; in gratitude to God for having enough to make a soup and for being able to share it with others."
I’ve always liked making soups. I can take all of the discarded and imperfect and create something that will nourish. I will gather the fragments left from the garden, the bits and pieces from the freezer or fridge and create something whole and good that will feed both physical and emotional hunger.
I usually pray as I make a fare; in gratitude to God for having enough to make a soup and for being able to share it with others. I pray for the needs of those who will receive this food twice blessed. No matter what my life situation is, there is always enough to make soup and pray, and share with someone else.
Here are only three of my favorite soups. There are many more I look forward to sharing with you.
Stuffed peppers are a dinner I enjoy, but they are time-consuming and the recipe I use makes several. I prefer soups so looked for recipes with similar flavors. After trying a few, and combining recipes, this hearty soup best matched the flavors.
Stuffed Red Pepper Soup
2 lbs. ground chuck (use 2 ½ lbs. for home-canned tomatoes)
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes (or 1 home canned quart)
1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce (or 1 home canned quart)
2 c. cooked brown rice* (use 2 ½ c. for home canned tomatoes)
2-2 ¼ c. chopped red bell peppers**
6-8 c. water
6-8 tsp. beef bouillon paste from a jar
½-1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste (rarely is salt needed because of the bullion, but I have added a teaspoon or two after tasting the broth)
In a soup kettle large enough for all the ingredients, sauté the ground beef until lightly browned (drain off fat or not, your choice). Add remaining ingredients—you can replace water and bouillon with equivalent boxed broth—and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. Serves 10-12.
*White rice is usually tender and will mush-up when reheating, which some folks prefer in leftover soup. Wild rice or mixed brown rice is too chewy and dense and, in my opinion, adding an off-putting nutty taste.
**When buying sweet red bell peppers, look for those with three-chambers for soup (or when served raw at table). The walls are a bit meatier than four-chambered peppers, which are thinner and better for stuffing.
After holiday gatherings, leftover turkey is a regular item in the fridge. This flavor-filled soup is one of my go-tos for using up the turkey, and it’s made in a crock pot!
Savory Turkey and Beans Soup
3-4 c. cubed cooked turkey
1 lb. pork sausage, brown and drain
4 c. water
4 tsp. beef, chicken, or vegetable bouillon paste from a jar (or 1 qt. boxed broth)
1 small can diced tomatoes (or 1 pint home canned)
1 small can navy, cannellini, or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
½ Vidalia or any sweet onion, about a cup or so
3-4 carrots, medium size, skinned and chopped, again about a cup or so
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped (green has a stronger taste, red is sweeter)
1 large rib celery chopped, leaves and all
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
Pretty much dump all the ingredients in a large crock pot, stir together, cover, and cook on low until veggies are tender, about 5 hours.
If you freeze or can home-grown tomatoes, you know the flavor is more pronounced than store bought. It is that fresh flavor that makes this soup a winner.
Garden Tomato Soup
½ stick butter (do not substitute margarine!)
1 ½-2 c. chopped Vidalia or any sweet onion
8-10 c. garden tomatoes (fresh, frozen or home canned), chopped*
1 lemon, juiced, about 1/8 c.
4 c. vegetable broth
1/3 c. fresh parsley, minced
¼-½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
Thickening agent: 6 tbl. flour dissolved in about 1 tbl. cold water, OR 5 tbl cornstarch dissolved in about 1 tsp. warm water OR 4 tbl. oat flour + 1 tbl. Arrowroot + ¼ c. dairy free powder combined and dissolved in ½ c. soup.
In a stock pot large enough to hold all ingredients, sauté onions in butter. Add broth and tomatoes, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 30 minutes. Carefully puree half of the very hot broth, returning it to pot and bringing to a boil. Add thickening agent and continue at low boil for about three minutes to thicken, stirring frequently. Reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add parsley, salt, and pepper. Serves 6-8.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream. It’s also yummy topped with grilled-cheese croutons—flatten the cheese sandwich before grilling to make it thinner, and when cooled enough to handle, cut into ½ inch pieces.
*Store bought whole tomatoes simply will not work; the soup will taste flat and more like a broth. Commercially canned tomatoes will do, but use the small diced and unseasoned variety.