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Homemade Soups to Warm The Soul
written by: Laura Schute, Savory Spice Shop Costa Mesa, CA and Corona del Mar, CA
When the Fall kicks in and the weather begins to get cooler I start to get a bit nostalgic. I love the smell of the air as the seasons change as well as the traditions that come with this time of year. Spring has its’ cleaning and opening up the home, Summer moves us outside and home becomes a place to kick off our flip-flops, but Fall is a time of fireplaces and throw-blankets, homemade chili, grilled cheese sandwiches and soups. Comfort foods that bring warmth to our bodies and to our spirit.
Fall is the time when I bring my cooking inside and move toward the comfort foods my mother made when I was growing up. Nothing brings me back more than the smell of the house when a giant pot of homemade soup is on the stove - it recalls all the feelings that make a house a home.
Homemade soup marks so many points my life – Chicken soup is the ultimate comfort food when I’m feeling sick. Such love is shown when someone has made you homemade chicken soup. Chicken soup, saltines and ginger ale placed in front of me seems to cure any ill.
Growing up back east brought clam chowder on Fridays – all the creamy goodness of New England Clam Chowder with little oyster crackers and hot sauce to mark the end of the school week.
My mother would send us out on Halloween, pillowcase in hand ready to be filled with candy. Upon our return we’d be met with homemade soup to warm our bones and fill our bellies with something more nutritious than the new sugary loot spilled out across the living room floor.
A few years ago I took over Thanksgiving dinner as part of the next generation’s traditions. Scouring recipes and table arrangements, working to make everything as beautiful as one of the million magazine layouts I had perused, I could see the concern on my mother’s face as she thought I might be biting off more than I could chew. Our medium sized dinner party grew to a motley crew of over 20 family and friends. As I worked for a few days making everything from scratch, my mother suggested starting the meal with soup. “It warms the soul,” she said, “and will keep the hunger away if the turkey takes a little longer than expected.” Soup couldn't’t have been more inspired that first Thanksgiving – we started dinner almost 2 hours late…and everyone was still in good spirits.
Chai Spice Infused Sweet Potato Bisque
1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled & diced
1 pkg. Savory Spice Shop Chai Spice Mix
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp. Saigon cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 - 1/2 ground white pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup apple juice
1 muslin bag
Combine sweet potatoes and Savory Spice Shop Chai Spice Mix with chicken broth in large pot. Boil over high heat until sweet potatoes are fork tender. Remove muslin bag and drain sweet potatoes, reserving liquid in a bowl. In food processor, puree potatoes until smooth, adding back chicken broth as needed to desired thickness. Add cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar, salt, white pepper and cardamom; pulse to combine. Add heavy cream and apple juice and pulse to incorporate. Reheat if needed, do not boil.
This bisque is wonderful served with Sage & Savory croutons. Cube day old French bread and drizzle with olive oil. Dust with 1 tsp. Savory Spice Shop Sage & Savory per cup of bread. Bake on cookie sheet in 300 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until crispy and browned.
May use an immersion blender or hand blender if needed, although the end product may be a little chunkier.
Yields: 4 cups+ depending on liquid added
Cumin Carrot Soup
1 qt. carrots, peeled & chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 tsp. dehydrated minced garlic, rehydrated
2 bouillon cubes + 1 qt. water
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1½ tbsp. ground cumin
4 tsp. Savory Spice Shop Zanzibar Curry Powder
2 tsp. ground white pepper
1 tsp. salt
In a 4 quart sauce pan, boil carrots in water until for tender (about 30 min.) In a small sauté pan, sauté onions until translucent (about 4-6 min.). Drain carrots and all remaining ingredients except for cream. Simmer for 20 minutes. Puree until smooth. Turn off heat. Add cream and serve.
Yields: 4-6 servings
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