Soup--it’s what’s for dinner! I’ve never met anyone that didn’t like soup. Well, maybe a couple of my super picky kids, but we’ll leave them out of this discussion so I can keep my sanity. There are hot soups, cold soups, thick and hearty soups, clear brothy-type soups…the list goes on and on. They can warm your bones on a cold day, or give you a cool, refreshing snack when the temperature is rising outside. Not only that, but they’re a great way to stretch your budget! Make a big pot of soup, and you can eat for days. Add a simple green salad and some crusty bread, and it’s on!
I was recently given a copy of The Culinary Institute of America’s The New Book of Soups to review. It’s a second edition that’s been updated and expanded to include 30 new recipes and more than 130 new gorgeous photographs. You all know I love photographs in cookbooks. Not only do I want to read the recipes, but I want to see how things are going to look. Mouthwatering photos? Yes, please!
This is a beautiful hardbound book that you’ll get so much use out of. There are 249 pages that are packed with not only the recipes, but also things like Soup Basics, which covers ingredients, options for finishing soups, thickeners, soup/stock pots, time-saving tips, tools for straining, adjusting consistency, flavor and seasonings, and much more. Plus a chapter called Accompaniments that is seriously packed with everything you could ever want to serve alongside a bowl of soup--croutons, dumplings, crackers, cheese sticks, vegetable sticks--and the list goes on.
- Soup Basics
- Hearty Soups
- Cream Soups
- Pureed Soups
- Bisques and Chowders
- Cold Soups
Some of the recipes are already vegetarian/vegan, and many of them can easily be altered to fall into those categories. There’s something for everyone in this book!
Deciding on one soup to try (to start with) wasn’t easy--there are tons to choose from. But we narrowed it down to Minestrone, which I’ve never made. It’s always been a favorite of ours, so it seemed like a natural place to start. Minestrone literally translates to “big soup,” and as mentioned in the book, there’s no one correct way to make minestrone. They also encourage you to use what you have on hand, or go by what your favorite veggies, beans and pastas are.
I didn’t make this vegan, or even vegetarian--because in reviewing a book, I want to try the recipes as-is. Here is the recipe:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 oz pancetta (if you can't find this, you can use diced bacon)
1 1/2 cups chopped green cabbage
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 quarts chicken broth
1/2 cup peeled, diced potato
1 piece Parmesan rind
3/4 cup vermicelli or angel hair pasta, broken into 2 inch pieces
1/2 chopped plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1/4 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed if using canned
1/3 cup cooked kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup pesto
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
freshly grated Parmesan
Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the fat melts. Don't brown it.
Add cabbage, onions carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook 6-8 minutes, until onions are translucent.
Add broth, potatoes, and Parmesan cheese rind. Bring to simmer and cook about 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
While the soup is simmering, cook the vermicelli according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
After the 30 minutes are up, add the cooked pasta, tomatoes, chickpeas, and kidney beans.
Remove the Parmesan rind.
Stir in the pesto, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve sprinkled with the grated Parmesan.
- Did we like the soup? We loved it! It was hearty, but light--all at the same time. The flavor was also light, but just right. Delicious! The recipe was easy to follow, and the directions very clear.
- Would I recommend The New Book of Soups? YES. There are many more recipes in the book that I can’t wait to try. If they’re all as heavenly as the Minestrone, we’ll be happily enjoying new soups, no matter the season.
Side note: The rolls you see in the photos are from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. They’re from the Master Recipe, simply formed into rolls and baked for about 18-20 minutes. If you haven’t tried this book and it’s follow-up, Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, what are you waiting for? You can enjoy fabulous fresh bread every single day, with very little effort.