Soup For Days

Recipes and Photography by Leslie Byars Register. IG: @lesliespartydiaries

There’s just something special about a pot of soup simmering on the stove. It’s comfort food at its finest. January is the ideal month to simplify your meals (post-holiday indulgences) and make these one-pot wonders. They will keep for several days and provide a hot lunch too.

For those of you with a busy work week, I suggest prepping the ingredients the night before and have them ready to go in a large zip-top plastic bag. That really speeds things up if you are short on time. Most of these soups are ready in under an hour, except for the Hearty Ribeye Vegetable Soup. I highly recommend letting that one simmer for several hours to yield the most incredible favor.

So what are you waiting for? Pull out that Dutch oven and get chopping. Here’s to soup season!

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Roasted Red Pepper and Sun-Dried Tomato Soup


6 red bell peppers
4 garlic cloves, peeled and whole
2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 (7-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of red pepper flakes
3 cups vegetable stock, plus extra for thinning if needed
Whipping cream and pesto for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°. Roughly chop peppers, and place in a large, rimmed baking sheet. Add garlic; drizzle with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 45 minutes.

In a large pot, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to medium-high; add onion, and sauté until tender. Add the roasted peppers, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes in oil, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and vegetable stock.

Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, and puree in a blender. Return to the pot, and adjust seasonings as needed. Garnish with cream and pesto.

Learn from Leslie: Do not skip the pesto garnish. Store-bought is fine for this. The added flavor combines wonderfully with the roasted peppers and sun-dried tomatoes.

Chicken-and-Wild Rice Soup


2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken broth
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 1 pound
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
1 cup uncooked wild rice blend, rinsed and drained*
1 tablespoon rosemary, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 cup whole milk or half-and-half
Celery tops or leaves for garnish

Heat butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrots, celery, garlic, and mushrooms, and sauté for 3 more minutes. Add in the flour, and stir continuously for 1 more minute.

Gradually pour in chicken broth, stirring to incorporate with the flour without any lumps. Add the chicken breasts and next 5 ingredients. Let the soup reach a simmer; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 40 to 45 minutes until rice is tender. (Stir occasionally so that what is on the bottom of the pot does not scorch.)

Remove chicken breasts, shred the meat with two forks, and return to the pot. Add milk or half-and-half, stirring to combine. Remove the bay leaves, and season with additional salt and pepper. Garnish with celery tops or leaves before serving.

*Note: If you are unable to find a wild rice blend, substitute a (6.2-ounce) box of Ben’s Original Long Grain & Wild Rice, and reduce the cooking time to 20 to 25 minutes.

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup


1/2 cup butter
1 onion, diced
3 celery stalks, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half
6 cups broccoli florets (about 3 medium-size crowns)
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 cups extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated, plus more for topping
Salt and pepper to taste
Crusty French bread for dipping

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven on medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots. Sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle flour over vegetables, stir to combine, and cook for 1 minute or so. Add broth, and next 7 ingredients. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until broccoli is tender.

Add cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Top with additional cheese, and serve with warm, crusty bread.

Leslie Likes: I highly recommend grating your own cheese. It will melt much better than the pre-shredded type.

Hearty Ribeye Vegetable Soup


2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 (16-ounce) bone-in ribeye
2 tablespoons Montreal seasoning
1 large onion, chopped
3 celery ribs, sliced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (32-ounce) cartons low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup butter beans
1/2 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 ears fresh corn, kernels removed
1 baking potato, peeled and cubed into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup Heinz 57 Sauce (do not substitute)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400°.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast-iron skillet. Sprinkle both sides of the meat with Montreal seasoning. Sear steak on both sides, and place in oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

In a large Dutch oven, heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil on medium-high. Add onion, celery, and next 12 ingredients.

On a cutting board, cube the ribeye into 1-inch pieces. Add the ribeye and bone to the soup mixture. Simmer for 1 to 2 hours. Adjust salt and pepper if needed. Remove the bone and bay leaves before serving.

Lemony Chicken-Orzo Soup


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons butter
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
8 cups chicken broth
Zest of one lemon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons fresh dill or 1 table spoon dried
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup uncooked orzo
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

Preheat oven to 375°.

Place chicken breasts in an oven-safe dish; drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with foil, and bake 35 minutes.

While chicken is baking, melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, celery, and next 3 ingredients. Cook until vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with flour, stirring continuously for about 1 minute.

Shred chicken with two forks, and add to pot. Add broth, zest of lemon, lemon juice, parsley, dill, bay leaf, and orzo. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until orzo is cooked through.

Add spinach just to wilt, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.

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