Chilly fall mornings and cold winter evenings–nothing brings comforting warmth straight to the bones like a piping hot bowl of homemade soup.
It’s also a great way to use up vegetables and leftover meat (and get the last bit of goodness from a turkey or chicken carcass, ham or beef bone and a smart way to take advantage of unappealing cuts of meat that are pennies per pound). You can make your own flavorful stocks using vegetable scraps (see this page  for details) too. Delicious!
This Hit List features a nice ‘n hearty collection of recipes that I handpicked from around the net. I enjoy all kinds but prefer regular home fare so this list reflects that–no gourmet or fussy cream soups made the cut. I also added a few tips at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!
*Ingredients listed are a sample only, not a complete list
- Bread & Tomato : Tuscan version made in just 20 minutes! Ingredients include cherry tomatoes, basil, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, ground black pepper, canned plum tomatoes, water, stale good-quality bread. From Jamie Oliver.
- Chicken Minestrone With Pesto : Canned diced tomatoes, cannellini beans, diced zucchini, frozen cut green beans (thawed), basil pesto. From Kitchen Daily.
- Taco : Ground beef, canned kidney beans, canned corn, Ro-Tel, tomato sauce, taco seasoning mix, ranch dressing mix and water. Found at Southern Plate.
- Garlicky Tortellini, Spinach & Tomato : Unsalted butter, garlic cloves, fresh or frozen cheese tortellini, canned diced tomatoes, spinach, basil, grated Parmesan. From Fine Cooking.
- White Bean : Yellow onion, smoked bacon or ham hock (optional), Great Northern beans, kale or baby spinach. From Whole Foods Market.
- Moroccan : Sweet paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander, boneless, skinless chicken breast, olive oil, saffron threads (optional), cayenne pepper, cinnamon stick, stock, butternut squash, white mushrooms, grated carrots, lemon juice, mint or parsley. From Andrea Meyers.
- Lentil : Yellow onion, celery, bacon strips, tomato paste, stock, brown lentils, beluga lentils and seasonings. From Chez Us.
- Chicken, Ranch & Rice : Ingredients include extra virgin olive oil, dry rice (steamed), dry ranch dressing seasoning, dijon mustard, Tabasco (or hot sauce). From Picky Palate.
- Turkey : Turkey broth and meat, cubed potatoes or pasta, kale, olive oil, grated cheese for serving (optional) and vegetables and herbs on hand (turnips, leeks, fennel, etc.). From Mixed Greens Blog.
- Greek Lemon & Orzo : Lemon peel & juice of lemon, bay leaf, saffron, orzo, eggs, hot sauce, parsley, pita chips (for serving). From Rachael Ray.
- Leek & Potato : Sliced leeks, baking potatoes, water, sour cream or creme fraiche (optional). From Serious Eats.
- Greek Wedding : Stock, ground lamb or beef, parsley, breadcrumbs, feta cheese, an egg, oregano, orzo pasta, juice & grated peel of lemon, mint leaves. From Rachael Ray.
- Chicken : Parsley, black peppercorns, bay leaf, thyme, carrots, parsnips, coarse salt. From Martha Stewart.
- Vegetable With Orzo : Red onion, carrot, red capsicum, celery, zucchini, large tomato, peas, orzo and seasonings. From Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once.
- Oxtail : Ingredients include oxtails, olive oil, shallot, water, bay leaves, squash, quartered button mushrooms. From Nikas Culinaria.
- Garlic Lover’s White Bean : Great Northern beans, water, dried rosemary, dried thyme, fennel seeds, bay leaf, garlic cloves, turnips, parsley. Found At Farmgirl Fare.
- Tomato : Butter, canned tomatoes, heavy cream (optional). Found at Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures.
- Slow Cooked Beef, Barley, and Vegetables : Browned beef, barley, stock or bouillon, Ro-tel tomatoes, red potatoes or turnips, squash, fresh or frozen green beans, fresh lemon juice and assorted vegetables you have on hand. Found at Plain Ol’ Food.
- Baby Portabella Mushroom : Olive oil, yellow onion, baby portabella mushrooms, water, baby spinach leaves and brown rice miso. Found at Dianne’s Dishes.
- Cream of Mushroom : Fresh button mushrooms, celery, milk, butter, flour. Found at Bits of Taste.
- Creamy Broccoli Cheese : Butter, minced garlic, stock, broccoli, milk, flour, shredded sharp cheddar cheese and seasonings. Found at Alaina’s Favorite Recipes.
- Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle : Bay leaf, carrots and celery, dried egg noodles and parsley. Found at Good Thymes & Good Food.
- Best French Onion : Unsalted butter, yellow onions, water, dry sherry, low-sodium broth, thyme, bay leaf, baguette and shredded Gruyere cheese. Found at Cookography.
- Sausage, Bean & Pasta : Serves 6 or more. Dried cannellini or cellini beans, ground sausage, turkey or pork, a can of diced tomatoes, dried thyme, grated Parmigiano or Reggiano. From The Italian Dish.
Did you know: Most homemade soups taste BETTER the second day! When refrigerated overnight, the ingredients have a chance to incorporate their flavors more richly.
- Simmer slowly for hours rather than at a boil. This helps draw out the most flavor.
- Use dried herbs rather than fresh since they hold their flavor during long cooking periods. If you wish to use fresh, add the herbs at the end.
- Add salt toward the end rather than at the beginning, you’ll lose flavor over time.
- Try incorporating mashed potatoes to make it nice and creamy, you can also use as a thickener.
- Bulk up light versions with beans, rice, barley, potatoes, lentils, pasta.
- Too much salt? Easy fix: toss in a peeled potato (cubed in 4) and remove after 20 minutes or so, it will draw much of the salt.
- If adding pasta, cook it separately first so there’s not as much starch added to the dish, add last. This is a great way to use up leftover pasta.
- Fat not only adds unnecessary calories, it also dulls the flavor. Remove as much of the fat as possible by cooling the soup, refrigerate it then remove the fat hardened along the surface. If you want to enjoy a bowlful as soon as it’s ready, remove from heat and allow to sit for a few minutes then spoon off the fat collected at the top.
- To avoid mushy veggies, add the longest cooking vegetables first, then the ones that take less time. Quick veggies like peas and corn don’t need to be added until near the end.
- Flavor kickers like red pepper flakes and garlic are a nice addition. If you find a little “something” is needed, one of these might just do the trick.
- Do you envy broth with a rich, clear color? Tip: strain through a few layers of clean cheesecloth first to get a clear broth.
- Although fresh ingredients are best, get into the habit of keeping “bits” on hand. Keep a container in the freezer to add leftover bits of meat and another for leftover veggies. Just add to stock and you have an easy, frugal meal.