A Very Soupy Time of Year

1 Feb

It’s cold. Parts of the US are still shoveling their way out of the last episode of Snowmageddon, and there’s more cold, wet weather on the way. I live in one of the more tropical parts of the country, and there’s a snow warning for my swampy, palm-tree laden area this week too.* WTF? (Snow on Palm trees is funny-sad. Really)

As such, since we’ll all be stocking up on warm things to eat, I’ve gathered a few recipes for really yummy, hearty soups that don’t require too much work. Both of these are courtesy of my wonderful mother in law, who is as resourceful and smart and funny as a farm-woman gets. I like her a lot, and I like these soups a lot too!

If you happen to be allergic to an ingredient or two, or just can NOT stand something that’s in the soup, remember that this is soup and not particle physics. It can be substituted, left out, or “fudged” (within reason) and still come out with pretty good soup, even if it’s not exactly the same as the recipe. Obviously if you leave the tomatoes out of the tomato soup, it’ll be different soup, but you can easily leave out the onions no problem. And if you can’t find barley in your grocery store (you might have to ask), you can use brown rice instead!

Mushroom Tomato Soup

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed tomato soup
  • 1 1/2 soup cans of water
  • 1 can (14 1/2 oz) sliced stewed tomatoes with liquid, cut up**
  • 1 can (4 oz) mushrooms, with liquid
  • 1-2 tsp dill weed
  • 1/2 tsp ground or dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • handful of uncooked rice or some leftover cooked rice

Melt the butter in a large soup pot, add the onion and cook until it’s soft. Add all ingredients except rice, stir well. Bring to a boil over medium heat. If the rice is uncooked, add it when the soup boils, then reduce to low and simmer until the rice is tender (20-30 minutes). If you’re using leftover cooked rice, let the soup simmer for 20 minutes and then add the cooked rice and simmer another 5 minutes.

Serve with grilled cheese.

Serves 4

Hamburger Barley Soup

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1/3 cup barley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 14oz cans stewed sliced tomatoes with liquid, cut up**
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce

Brown the ground beef and drain off the rendered fat.*** Add all remaining ingredients, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour until vegetables are tender. Remove and discard the bay leaves. I like to serve this with salad.

Serves 6-8

*Snow, here, means moving all the tropical plants into the porch, including the lime tree (did you know lime trees have really huge spiky thorns?), and praying that my aloe vera plant doesn’t freeze solid. Yes, aloe vera plants grow in the ground here.

**Don’t bother actually draining and slicing these. Basically you want to avoid having any one bite be entirely tomato. I usually just dump the whole can in (juice and all) and mash up the tomato pieces with a spoon.

***Use an old tin can filled with paper towels to soak up the fat, let it cool, and throw it away. Do not pour hot fat down your kitchen sink, or you will eventually end up on very good terms with your plumber. Hot fat hits cold pipes and cools, forming a sticky, gooey sludge on the inside of your drain and sink pipes… which then attracts all kinds of gunk, and clogs up the drain. Yummy!

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2 Responses to “A Very Soupy Time of Year”

  1. Mishaweha February 1, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    Mmm, I might have to try that second soup. I’m always looking for new ways to cook up hamburger. Is it just cooked in a dutch oven?

    And I may be dumping fat down our sink. >.> We live in an apartment, so I’m just going to say that’s why I’m doing that and not because I’m lazy.

    My great grandma lived in Texas, and when it got below freezing there she would cover all her plants in plastic sheets (or some kind of covering) in hopes of keeping them from freezing. And I did not know that lime tree have really huge spiky thorns. Sounds painful!

  2. Anna February 1, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    Yep, or any large soup pot. I use an aluminum dutch oven for most of my soup cooking.

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