Soups

Unusual twists on the ultimate comfort food!


Recipe Index
Feel free to browse the entire page of recipes or use these links to jump to a specific one.

Asparagus And Leek Soup 

Asparagus Soup With Basil Cream 

Awesome Oyster Soup (Tom's 2010 National Oyster Cook-Off Winner) 

Beet Soup In Roasted Acorn Squash 

Broccoli Leek Soup With Lemon Chive Cream 

Butternut Squash And Apple Soup 

Butternut Squash Chowder With Pears And Ginger 

Butternut Squash Soup With Chestnuts

Butternut Squash Soup With Coconut And Ginger 

Carrot-Ginger Soup 

Carrot And Orange Soup

Cauliflower Fennel Soup 

Cauliflower Soup With Truffle Oil

Celery And Pear Bisque

Celery Root Bisque With Peppered Croutons  

Cepe (Porcini Mushroom) And Chestnut Soup

Chilled Avocado-Cucumber Soup

Chilled Avocado Lime Soup

Chilled Cucumber Soup With Jalapeño And Mint

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup With Tarragon

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Smoked Salmon And Dill

Chilled Orange-Cantaloupe Soup

Chilled Peach Soup

Chilled Red And Yellow Tomato Soup

Chilled Tomato Soup With Tarragon Crème Fraiche

Chilled Tomato-Tarragon Soup With Croutons

Cioppino (Giada De Laurentis)

Cream Of Asparagus Soup With Morels

Cream Of Butternut Squash And Cranberry Soup

Cream Of Cashew Soup With Armagnac 

Cream Of Endive Soup 

Creamy Root Vegetable Soup 

Cream Leek Soup With Bacon And Shallots

Fennel, Apple and Almond Soup 

Fennel, Leek And Spinach Soup 

Gingered Parsnip Bisque 

Grilled Vegetable Gazpacho

Lobster And Shrimp Bisque

Lobster Bisque With Armagnac

Maryland Cream Of Crab Soup 

Mushroom And Hazelnut Soup 

Mushroom Soup With Hazelnut Gremolata 

Mussel Chowder With Bacon And Shitake Mushrooms

Oysters Rockefeller Soup 

Oyster Royale  (Tom's 2012 National Oyster Cook-Off First Prize Winner)

Pea And Parmesan Soup

Pea Soup With Truffle Oil And Parmesan Crisps

Potato Soup With Caramelized Vegetables

Roasted Beet And Tomato Soup

Roasted Tomato And Basil Soup 

Roasted Red Pepper Bisque With Shrimp And Romano Cheese

Roasted Tomato-Eggplant Soup

Roasted Vegetable Soup 

Seafood And Squash Bisque 

Spicy Broccoli Soup 

Spicy Crab And Shrimp Soup 

Spinach Bisque With Sour Cream 

Sweet Potato Soup With Buttered Pecans  

Sweet Red Pepper And Crab Bisque

Tomato Soup With Orange And Basil 

Tomato And Spinach Soup

Winter Squash Soup With Coconut And Ginger

Yellow And Red Pepper Bisque

Yellow Gazpacho

Zucchini And Watercress Soup  


CEPE (PORCINI MUSHROOM) AND CHESTNUT SOUP
Serves 8

1 tablespoon duck fat** (or olive oil)
2 pounds peeled chestnuts
1/4 pound cepes sliced*
1/4 pound chanterelle mushrooms sliced*
1/4 pound oyster mushrooms sliced*
1/2 small onion diced
1/3 cup diced leeks
1 tablespoon minced garlic
8 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon cepe powder*
1 tablespoon heavy cream

(*See my Supplier Page for mushrooms
**See my Supplier Page for D'Artagnan)

In a large heavy soup pot, heat the duck fat or oil.  Sauté each of the first seven ingredients 5 minutes
before adding the next.  Add broth and cepe powder, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Bring to a
boil, skim fat, and cook over medium heat for 1/2 hour.  Adjust seasoning and puree in a blender.  Return to the pot and stir in the cream. 

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YELLOW AND RED PEPPER BISQUE
Makes about 5 cups

1 pound yellow bell peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 pound red bell peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
4 garlic cloves, chopped fine
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon sugar
Tabasco to taste
Crème fraiche* for garnish (or sour cream)
*available at specialty foods shops
and many supermarkets

Preheat oven to 400 F. In a shallow baking pan roast bell peppers until skin begins to darken slightly,
about 15 minutes.  Cut peppers into pieces, keeping colors separate.  In a blender puree yellow bell peppers with half the garlic and transfer to a small saucepan. Puree red bell peppers with remaining garlic and transfer to another small pan. Add to each pan 2 cups chicken broth, 1 cup cream, 1/4 cup wine, 1 1/2
teaspoons sugar, Tabasco, and salt and pepper to taste.  Boil mixtures until reduced to about 2 1/2 cups. 
To serve soup:  pour some of each soup into 2 glass measuring cups.  Pour soups simultaneously into a
shallow soup bowl from opposite sides of the bowl and put a dollop of crème fraiche (or sour cream) on each
serving.

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SWEET RED PEPPER AND CRAB BISQUE
8 Servings

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 1/4 t teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning or other seafood
spice blend
3 cups fish stock or bottled clam juice
1/2 cup diced peeled russet potato
1/2 cup half and half
1 pound crabmeat

Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over low heat.  Add onion, celery, bell pepper and Old Bay Seasoning. 
Cover.  Cook 10 minutes, stirring twice. Add stock and potato; bring to boil.  Reduce heat, cover partially
and simmer until potato is very tender, about 30 minutes.  Working in batches, puree soup in blender.  (Can be made 2 days ahead.  Cover and refrigerate).  Return soup to saucepan.  Add half-and-half; bring to simmer.  Mix in crab.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover let stand 1 minute.  Ladle into bowls.

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CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP WITH MORELS
4 Servings

1 ounce dried morel* or porcini mushrooms, rinsed
(could substitute 4 ounces of fresh morels or porcini
for dried)
3/4 pound asparagus, trimmed
2 cups water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots (about 3
medium/could also use leeks)
2 cups whipping cream
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 pound spinach (for color)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Cayenne pepper

(*See my Supplier Page for mushrooms)

Cover mushrooms with hot water.  Soak until softened, about 30 minutes.  (If using fresh mushrooms, do not
soak in water, but just clean.) Rinse mushrooms; squeeze dry.  Quarter, discarding any hard parts.
Cook asparagus in 2 cups boiling water until just tender.  Drain; reserve cooking liquid.  Cut asparagus
into 1 1/2 inch pieces.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat.  Add 3
tablespoons shallots and stir 2 minutes.  Add reserved asparagus cooking liquid and all asparagus except 8
tips and bring to boil.  Add cream and boil until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, stirring occasionally.  Puree in
blender with melted butter.  Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in large saucepan over medium heat. 
Add morels and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons shallots (or leeks) and cook until almost all liquid evaporates,
stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.  Strain asparagus mixture through sieve into saucepan with morels.  
Add reserved asparagus tips.   Rewarm over low heat.   Season with salt, pepper and cayenne.  Ladle into bowls and serve.

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ROASTED BEET AND TOMATO BISQUE
6 servings

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion diced
1 clove garlic minced
4 small beets (1 pound) peeled
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut across in half
1 28 ounce can plum tomatoes drained
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to
taste
5 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped parsley 

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes,
until soft.  Add the remaining ingredients, except the salt and pepper, the lemon juice and parsley.  Bring
to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Reserve 1 beet and 2 carrots.  Puree the rest in
batches.  Stir in 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper and
set aside.  Cut the reserved beet and carrots into 1/4 inch cubes.  Toss with the remaining tablespoon of
olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste and the parsley.  Spoon into 6 bowls
and pour bisque over.  The bisque can be served hot or cold. 

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ROASTED TOMATO-EGGPLANT SOUP
8 Servings

For Full Soup:
1 large eggplant (1 1/3 pounds), peeled and sliced
crosswise 1/4 inch thick
Coarse salt
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves
4 large garlic cloves
2 scallions, cut into 1-
inch lengths
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
Roasted Tomato Stock (recipe follows)
2 medium red bell peppers, sliced lengthwise into thin
strips
1 medium red onion thinly sliced
2 ripe plum tomatoes peeled, seeded and
chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Shaved Parmesan or Asiago cheese and chopped fresh
basil, for garnish
FOR Roasted Tomato Stock:
Makes 6 Cups
2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped white mushrooms
2 small garlic cloves, smashed
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds
Pinch of saffron threads (optional)

Make Roasted Tomato Stock:
Preheat the oven to 400F. In a roasting pan, toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of the oil to coat. 
Bake the tomatoes for about 45 minutes, until nicely charred.  Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon
oil in a large nonreactive saucepan over moderate heat.  Add the carrots, onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until slightly softened and beginning to color, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute longer.  Stir in the wine, tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme, fennel seeds, saffron and roasted tomatoes.  Pour in 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover partially and simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool completely.  Then strain, pressing on the solids with a large spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.  (The stock can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)
Make Soup:

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Layer the eggplant slices in a colander, sprinkling 1 tablespoon of coarse salt
in between the layers.  Let drain for 20 minutes.  Rinse the slices and pat dry.   In a food processor,
add the basil, garlic, scallions and crushed red pepper.  Process until finely chopped, scraping down
as necessary.  With the machine on, incorporate 6 tablespoons of the oil in a fine stream.  On a large
baking sheet, arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer, overlapping them slightly if necessary. 
Drizzle the basil oil on the eggplant, then spread with a rubber spatula to coat evenly. Bake the
eggplant for 20 minutes, until soft and beginning to brown on the edges.  Let cool, then coarsely chop: 
Meanwhile, in a large nonreactive saucepan, warm the Roasted Tomato Stock over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally.  In a medium nonreactive skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over moderately high heat.  Add the bell peppers and onion and cook, stirring often, until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a food processor along with the tomatoes and chopped eggplant.  Process until pureed, gradually adding 2 cups of the warm Roasted Tomato Stock.  Stir the puree into the pot of warm stock and stir occasionally until heated through.   Season the soup with coarse salt and black pepper.  (The soup can be made I day ahead; cover and refrigerate. Warm gently over low heat to serve. If you are making the soup ahead, there is no need to heat the stock. )  Serve hot, topped with Parmesan and chopped basil.

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LOBSTER AND SHRIMP BISQUE
Makes about7 cups

16 cups water
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
two 1 1/4 pound live lobsters
3/4 pound large shrimp (about 18), shelled, reserving
shells, and deveined if desired
2 medium onions
1 fennel bulb, chopped (about 2 cups), reserving
fronds for garnish if desired
4 large carrots, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 bay leaves
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh parsley sprigs
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
zest of 1 navel orange, removed in strips with a
vegetable peeler
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
a 28- to 32-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and
chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons Pernod, or to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Cook Lobsters:
In a large (5- to 6-quart) kettle combine water and 1 cup wine and bring to a boil.  Plunge lobsters into
liquid headfirst and return liquid to a boil. Simmer lobsters, covered, 9 minutes.  With tongs plunge
lobsters immediately into cold water to stop cooking, reserving cooking liquid.  Working over a bowl to
catch the juices, twist off tails and claws and reserve juices.  Discard tomalley, head sacs, and any roe and remove meat from tails and claws, reserving it separately. To reserved cooking liquid add lobster shells, reserved lobster juices anti shrimp shells, 1 onion, quartered, I cup fennel, half of carrots, celery, I bay leaf, thyme, parsley, peppercorns, and zest. Simmer mixture gently, uncovered, skimming froth
occasionally, 1 1/4 hours.  Strain stock through a large sieve set over a large bowl and pour into cleaned
kettle.  Boil stock until reduced to about 6 cups and return to bowl.  Make ahead: can do 1 day ahead--stock, cooked lobster, and shelled raw shrimp keep, covered separately and chilled, 1 day.
Make Bisque:
In a kettle cook remaining onion, chopped fine, remaining 1 cup fennel, remaining carrots, remaining
bay leaf, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste in oil over moderate heat, stirring, until vegetables are
softened.  Add remaining 1/2 cup wine and boil until mostly evaporated.  Add saffron, tomatoes, and
shellfish stock and simmer, covered, 20 minutes.  Add shrimp and reserved lobster claw meat (reserving tail
meat) and simmer 2 minutes, or until shrimp are cooked through.  Remove soup from heat and remove 6 shrimp,
reserving them.  Discard bay leaf.  In a blender puree soup in batches until smooth, transferring as it is
pureed to a very fine sieve set over a saucepan. Force soup through sieve, pressing hard on solids, and whisk in cream, Pernod, and salt and pepper to taste.  Heat bisque over moderate heal until hot (do not boil) and stir in lemon juice.  Chop fine reserved shrimp and lobster tail meat and divide among heated soup bowls.  Ladle soup over shellfish and garnish with reserved fennel fronds. 

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CREAM OF BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CRANBERRY SOUP
Makes about 12 cups, serving 8 to 12

For the cranberry puree:
a 12ounce bag of cranberries (about 3 cups), picked
over
1 cup Ruby Port
1/2 cup sugar
For the soup:
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced thin
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon white pepper plus additional to taste
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut
into 1 inch pieces
2 sweet potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled and cut
into 1 inch pieces
6 cups chicken broth

Make the cranberry purée: In a heavy saucepan combine the cranberries, the Port,
and the sugar and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the
cranberries burst and the mixture starts to thicken.  In a food processor puree the mixture and force the
puree through a fine sieve into a bowl, discarding the solids.  The puree keeps, covered and chilled, for 3
days.  
Make the soup:
In a large heavy saucepan cook the onion and the carrots in the butter over moderately low heat,
stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, add the mace, the ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of the white
pepper, the squash, the sweet potatoes, and 4 cups of the broth, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 30
minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft.  In a blender or food processor puree the soup in batches,
transferring it as it is pureed to a saucepan, and stir in the remaining 2 cups broth, the additional
white pepper, and salt to taste.  The soup keeps, covered and chilled, for 1 day.
To serve the soup:
Reheat the cranberry puree and spoon it into a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip.  (Or spoon the
puree into a small zip lock bag and cut off the tip of one corner.)  Reheat the soup, divide it among soup
bowls, and pipe about 1 tablespoon of the cranberry puree decoratively onto each serving. 

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CARROT AND ORANGE SOUP
Makes about 6 cups, serving 6

2 cups finely chopped onion
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 ½ pounds carrots chopped
4 cups chicken broth
I cup fresh orange juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated orange rind, or to taste
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier, to taste, if desired
Orange slices for garnish
Decorative carrot slices for garnish

In a large heavy saucepan cook the onion in the butter, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes, or until it is golden.  Add the carrots and the broth, bring the liquid to a boil, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the carrots are very tender. Drain the mixture in a sieve set over a large bowl, reserving the liquid.  Puree the vegetables in a food processor with 1 cup of the reserved liquid, and return the puree to the pan, cleaned.  Stir in the orange juice, enough of the
remaining reserved liquid to thin the soup to the desired consistency, the rind, the Grand Marnier, and
salt and pepper to taste and heat the soup over moderately low heat, stirring, until it is heated
through.  Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish it with the orange and carrot slices.

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FENNEL, APPLE AND ALMOND SOUP  
Makes about 5 1/2 cups

2 tablespoons walnut or olive oil
1 ounce fennel bulb, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1 large tart green apple, peeled, cored, chopped
1 6-ounce celery root, peeled, chopped
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoons ground toasted almonds
Pinch of ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds
Fennel fronds

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add fennel and onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
Mix in apple, celery root and broth. Bring to simmer. Cover and cook until vegetables are soft, about 30
minutes. working in batches, transfer mixture to a blender. Puree until smooth. Add whipping cream,
ground almonds and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. cover tightly
and refrigerate.) Reheat soup. Ladle into bowls. Top with sliced almonds and fennel fronds.

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SWEET POTATO SOUP WITH BUTTERED PECANS 
Makes 11 cups serving 8 to 10

For the soup:
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped leek, washed well and drained
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 large carrots, sliced thin; (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds (about 3 large) sweet potato
a 1/2-pound russet (baking) potato
5 cups chicken broth plus additional for thinning
the soup if desired
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cup water
For the buttered pecans:
3/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
crème fraiche or sour cream as an accompaniment

Make the soup:
In a kettle cook the onion, the leek, the garlic, and the carrots with the bay leaf and salt and
pepper to taste in the butter over moderate heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened. Add
the sweet potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced thin, the russet potato, peeled,
halved lengthwise, and sliced thin, the 5 cups broth, the wine, and the water. simmer the mixture,
covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender, and discard the bay
leaf. In a blender puree the mixture in batches until it is very smooth, transferring it as it
is pureed to a large saucepan, add the additional broth to thin the soup to the desired consistency,
and season the soup with salt and pepper. The soup may be made 1 day in advance, kept covered
and chilled, and reheated.
Make the buttered pecans:
In a skillet cook the pecans in the butter with salt to taste over moderate heat, stirring
occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until they are golden brown, and transfer them to paper towels
to drain. (The pecans may be made 2 days in advance and kept in an airtight container or a resealable
plastic bag.) Divide the soup among bowls and top each serving with a dollop of the crème fraiche
and some of the buttered pecans.

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CARROT-GINGER SOUP 
Makes about 4 cups

8 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch
pieces (about 3 cups)
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
4 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 teaspoon Angostura bitters
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 4
pieces

In a large saucepan simmer carrots, broth, and water until carrots are very soft, about 25 minutes.
In a blender puree mixture in 2 batches, forcing each batch through a fine sieve into a bowl as
pureed. In pan bring puree to a simmer and stir in ginger root, zest, orange juice, bitters, cream,
butter, and salt to taste, stirring until butter is melted. Remove pan from heat and let stand,
covered, 10 minutes to let flavor develop. Reheat
soup until hot.

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ROASTED TOMATO BASIL SOUP  
Serves 6

6 pounds tomatoes, cored
3/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
l 1/2tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves plus 3
tablespoons minced
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream

Arrange the tomatoes in a baking pan large enough to hold them in one layer, drizzle them with 1/4
cup of the oil, and sprinkle them with the garlic and the thyme. Roast the tomatoes in the middle
of a preheated 350F oven, turning them occasionally, for 1 hour. In a kettle cook the onion in 1/4 cup
of the remaining oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until it is softened. Add the tomatoes
and the minced basil and cook the mixture, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the broth, bring the liquid to a
boil, and simmer the mixture, stirring, for 5 minutes. Force the mixture through a food mill,
fitted with the medium disk, into a bowl and return it to the kettle. (Or puree in a blender, but leave
a bit of texture.) Stir in the cream, scalded, and salt and pepper to taste and keep the soup warm,
covered. In a food processor puree the basil leaves with the remaining 1/4 cup oil and season the mixture
with salt and pepper. Drizzle the soup with the basilpuree.

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ROASTED VEGETABLE SOUP  
8 Servings

1 1/2 pounds medium beets
1 head of garlic, top sliced off to expose the cloves
1 tablespoon water
1 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound turnips, cut into l-inch wedges
2 medium onions, quartered
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
16 thin baguette slices
7 cups chicken stock
1 cup finely chopped mint

Preheat the oven to 400F. Put the beets and garlic on a large piece of foil and sprinkle with the water.
Wrap the beets and garlic in the foil and roast for about 1 hour, or until the beets are tender when
pierced with a knife and the garlic feels soft when pressed. Let cool slightly. Peel and quarter
the beets and put them in a large bowl. Squeeze the soft garlic cloves from their skins onto the
beets. Meanwhile, on a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the carrots, turnips and onions with 1
tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables in a single layer
and roast for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned. Add the roasted vegetables
to the beets. Arrange the baguette slices on another baking sheet and bake for about 3 minutes, or until
toasted. Working in batches, coarsely puree all of the roasted vegetables in a food processor or
blender, adding enough chicken stock to loosen the mix. Transfer the puree to a saucepan, add the
remaining chicken stock and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Season with salt and pepper. In a
small bowl, stir the remaining 1/4 cup of oil into the mint and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the
mint onto the toasts. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with the mint croutons. (The soup can be
refrigerated overnight and the toasts can be stored in an airtight container. Rewarm the soup before
serving.)

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CELERY ROOT BISQUE WITH PEPPERED CROUTONS 
6 Servings

For soup:
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
3 celery ribs with leaves, sliced
2 1/4 pounds celery roots, peeled, coarsely chopped
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled, coarsely chopped
2 large parsnips, peeled, coarsely chopped
5 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
4 fresh thyme sprigs or 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 cups spinach leaves
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
Salt
For peppered croutons:
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
3 1-inch-thick seedless rye bread or wheat bread
slices, crusts trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled or 1/2 teaspoon fresh
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Salt

Make the soup:
Melt butter in heavy large nonaluminum pot over medium heat. Add onion and celery and sauté until
slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add celery roots, potatoes and parsnips and sauté 5 minutes.
Add 3 cups stock, bay leaf, thyme, white pepper and coriander. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover
partially and simmer until vegetables are very soft, about 25 minutes. Discard bay leaf and thyme
sprigs. Add spinach to soup and cook until just wilted, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.
Puree soup in batches in processor. Return soup to pot. Add cream and remaining 2 cups stock and
simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and white pepper. (Can be prepared 1
day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to a simmer before continuing.) Ladle soup into bowls.
Sprinkle with croutons and serve.
Make peppered croutons:
Preheat the oven to 325F. Spread out bread cubes on a heavy baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted,
turning to get all sides toasted, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool. Maintain oven
temperature. Melt butter in heavy small saucepan  over very low heat. Add garlic, pepper, nutmeg and
thyme and cook 8 minutes to blend flavors. (Do not allow butter to brown). Strain butter mixture over
bread and toss to coat. Spread cubes out on the same baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

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CAULIFLOWER FENNEL SOUP 
Makes about 4 1/2 cups

1 small head cauliflower
1 large garlic clove, chopped
3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 1/2 cups water
1/2cup heavy cream

Cut cauliflower into 2-inch pieces, discarding outer leaves and core. In a 2-to 3-quart heavy saucepan
simmer cauliflower with garlic and fennel seeds in water, covered, until cauliflower is very tender, about 10 minutes. Cool mixture 15 minutes and in a blender puree in batches, transferring to a bowl. In pan, stir
together puree, cream, and salt and pepper to taste and heat soup over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

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SPINACH BISQUE WITH SOUR CREAM 
Makes 4 servings

1/4 cup (1/2 Stick) butter
1 large onion, chopped
6 cups no-fat low-salt chicken broth
10 ounces spinach leaves, large stems removed and
thoroughly cleaned
2 fresh parsley sprigs
1 large fresh thyme sprig
1 small Serrano chili pepper
2 tablespoons dry Sherry
Sour cream

Melt butter in heavy large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until almost tender, about
8 minutes. Add broth, spinach, parsley, thyme and whole chili; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 45
minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard thyme sprig and chili. Puree soup in blender in batches. Return
to pot. Add Sherry and simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Can be made 1 day ahead.
Cover and chill. Rewarm before continuing.) Ladle soup into bowls. Top with a dollop of sour cream.

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ASPARAGUS AND LEEK SOUP 
Serves 2

1 cup finely chopped white and pale green part of
leek, washed well
1 garlic clove minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups no-fat, low salt chicken broth
1/3 cup sour cream

In a saucepan cook the leek and the garlic in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the
leek is softened. Add the asparagus, the broth, and 1/2 cup water, and simmer the mixture, covered, for
10 to 12 minutes, or until the asparagus is very tender. Puree two thirds of the mixture in a blender
until it is very smooth. Stir the puree into the mixture remaining in the pan, and whisk in the sour
cream and salt and pepper to taste. Cook the soup over moderately low heat until it is heated through,
but so not let it boil.

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MARYLAND CREAM OF CRAB SOUP 
Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 whole cloves
1 large bay leaf
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 cup whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper
1/2 pound fresh crabmeat, picked over
1 8-ounce bottle clam juice
1/4 cup dry Sherry (preferably Spanish)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives or green onions
Additional dry Sherry (optional)

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, cloves and bay leaf and sauté until onion
is translucent, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and stir 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk and cream. Add nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Strain soup into a bowl, pressing on the solids to release liquid. Return liquid to the pot. Add crabmeat and clam juice and Sherry; simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes (do not boil). Season with additional cayenne pepper, if desired, and salt and pepper. (Can be made I day ahead. Chill.
Rewarm over low heat.) Ladle soup into bowls; garnish with chives. Pass additional Sherry if desired.

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CREAM OF ENDIVE SOUP 
Makes 6 servings

6 large Belgian endive heads
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons minced shallots or green onions
4 1/2 cups no fat low salt chicken broth
3 tablespoons long grain rice
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Minced fresh chives for garnishTrim 1 inch from bottom of each endive. Cut endives in quarters lengthwise. Remove cores and discard. Coarsely chop endive. Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add
endive and shallots. Sauté until soft, about 8 minutes.  Stir in 2 1/2 cups stock and rice. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until rice is tender about 20 minutes. Transfer to bowl and let cool slightly. Puree endive mixture in batches in blender until smooth. Return to pot. Add remaining 2 cups chicken broth and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in cream and heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Reheat before continuing.) Garnish with chives.

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SPICY BROCCOLI SOUP 
Serves 6 to 8

1 large onion, chopped coarse
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bunch of broccoli (about 1 1 pounds), cut into
flowerets, the flowerets quartered if large, and
the stems cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 large russet (baking) potato (about 3/4 pound)
1 teaspoon curry powder
6 cups no fat, low salt chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
lime slices for garnish
sour cream as an accompaniment

In a kettle cook the onion in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until it is softened,
add the broccoli, the mushrooms, the potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces, the curry powder, and
the broth, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 15 minutes. In a blender or food processor puree the
soup in small batches, transferring it as it is pureed to a tureen, and stir in the lime juice. Divide the
soup among 6 to 8 bowls, garnish each with a lime slice and serve it with a dollop of sour cream. (Soup
may also be served chilled.)

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TOMATO SOUP WITH ORANGE AND BASIL 
8 Servings

If you make this soup ahead, you may want to cut back on the red pepper. Like all chilies, red peppers mellow and release more spiciness the longer they are in contact with other food.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
2/3 cup chopped carrots
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon (scant) dried crushed red pepper
6 cups chicken stock or canned no-fat, low-salt broth
2 28-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes, drained, coarsely chopped
3 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
Sugar
6 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons sliced fresh basil

Heat oil in heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and carrots; stir until vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, dried basil and red pepper; sauté 1 minute. Add stock, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons peel and pinch of sugar. Simmer uncovered until vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes. Puree soup in batches in blender. Return soup to Dutch oven. Stir m juice. Season with additional sugar and salt. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Return to simmer before serving.) Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with teaspoons orange peel and fresh basil.

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BEET SOUP IN ROASTED ACORN SQUASH 
Serves 8 (makes about 10 cups)

The roasted acorn squash tastes fabulous when scooped up with spoonfuls of the beet soup. But if oven space is limited simply serve the soup in bowls.

For roasted squash:
8 (1 to 1 1/4 pound) acorn squash
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
For soup:
1 large red onion, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 medium beets (2 lb without greens), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red apple such as Gala or Braeburn, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
4 to 5 cups water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Roast squash:
Preheat oven to 375F. Cut off "tops" of squash (about 1 inch from stem end) and reserve. Scoop out seeds and discard. Cut a very thin slice off bottoms of squash to create a stable base. Brush "bowls" and tops all over with oil and sprinkle salt inside: Arrange squash bowls, with tops alongside, stem ends up, in 2 large shallow baking pans. Roast squash in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of pans halfway through baking, until flesh of squash is just tender, about 1 1/4 hours total. Can also bake in the microwave for about 35-40 minutes. Do not get them overly soft or floppy. they need to hold their shape to hold the soup. Squash flesh shrinks during baking; if a small hole forms, serve soup in squash but set in a soup bowl.
Make soup while squash roast:
Cook onion in oil in a 5-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add beets and apple and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add broth and 4 cups water, then simmer, uncovered, until beets are tender, about 40 minutes. Stir in vinegar and brown sugar. Puree soup in 3 batches in a blender until very smooth, at least 1 minute per batch use caution when blending hot liquids), transferring to a large bowl. Return soup to pan, then season with salt and pepper and reheat. If soup is too thick, add enough water to thin to desired consistency. Serve soup in squash bowls. Soup can be made 3 days ahead and chilled, covered.

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MUSHROOM AND HAZELNUT SOUP 
6 Servings

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 pounds mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 leak (white part only), finely chopped
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock or canned no-fat, low salt broth
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
l bay leaf
1 cup half and half
2/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and husked (about 3 ounces), finely ground
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1/4 pound button, oyster or stemmed shitake mushrooms, finely chopped

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add 3/4 pound mushrooms, celery, onion and leek and sauté 10 minutes. Add flour and stir 5 minutes. Gradually mix in stock. Add thyme, basil, oregano and bay leaf and bring to boil. Reduce heat cover partially and simmer 45 minutes. strain soup through fine sieve into medium saucepan, pressing on solids with back of spoon. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate.) Add half and half and hazelnuts to soup and bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in 1/4 pound mushrooms. Ladle into bowls and serve.

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CREAMY ROOT VEGETABLE SOUP 
Makes 4 servings

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound parsnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 small celery root, peeled and sliced 1/3 inch thick
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 medium red potato, cut into 1-inch dice
1 large leek, white and tender green, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 fresh thyme sprigs
Salt
1 quart chicken stock or canned low-sodium, no fat broth
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the parsnips, celery root, carrots, potato, leek, garlic, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 cup of water. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables start to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the stock, cover the pan and reduce the heat to moderately low. Cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes. Transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth, then season with salt and pepper. The soup can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. Rewarm before serving. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with the rosemary and serve.

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OYSTERS ROCKEFELLER SOUP 
Makes 12 servings
      

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
1 cup chopped celery
I cup chopped shallots (about 6)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups whipping or heavy cream
2 cups low-salt, no fat chicken broth
4 8-ounce jars shucked oysters, drained, juices reserved, oysters cut
   into 1-inch pieces if large
1 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 9- to l0-ounce bag spinach leaves
1/4 cup Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur
Bottled clam juice (optional)

Melt 6 tablespoons butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add celery, shallots, and garlic. Sautee until tender, about 5 minutes. Add flour; stir 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in cream, broth, and oyster juices. Add Creole seasoning and pepper sauce. Simmer until thick and smooth, whisking often, about 3 minutes. Can be made I day ahead. Cover and chill. Return to simmer before continuing. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach. Toss until wilted but still bright green, about 2 minutes; remove from heat. Add oysters to soup. Simmer until edges curl, about 3 minutes. Add Pernod and spinach. Thin with clam juice by 1/4 cupfuls, if desired; season with salt and pepper.

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BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP 
Makes 8 servings
      

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 1/4 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 1/4 cups (or more) vegetable broth
1 Gala apple, peeled, cored, diced
1/2 cup apple juice
Light sour cream
Chopped fresh chives

Melt butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and nutmeg; sauté until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add squash, 4 1/4 cups broth, apple, and apple juice. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered until squash and apple are tender, about 30 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring soup to simmer, thinning with more broth if desired. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with sour cream and chives.

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FENNEL, LEEK AND SPINACH SOUP 
Makes 8 servings
      

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
6 cups chopped fresh fennel bulbs
4 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only)
6 cups no fat, low salt chicken broth
2/3 cup (packed) fresh spinach leaves

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add fennel and leeks. Sauté until just translucent, about 15 minutes. Add broth and cover pot. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Puree soup in small batches in blender until smooth, adding spinach to last batch before pureeing. Return soup to same pot. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Refrigerate until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated.) Rewarm soup over low heat, stirring occasionally. Ladle into bowls and serve.

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CHESTNUT FENNEL SOUP
Serves 6 to 8

1 cups roasted, shelled, and skinned chestnuts (1 pound in shell or 14 ounces bottled whole)
1 shallot, chopped
2 leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped
3/4 stick(6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1/2 fennel bulb (sometimes called anise), stalks and core discarded and bulb coarsely chopped
1 cup chicken broth
2 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup half-and-half

Coarsely chop chestnuts, reserving 1/3 cup for garnish. Cook shallot and leeks in 2 tablespoons butter in a 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add wine and simmer until almost all liquid is evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in fennel, broth, chestnuts (excluding garnish), and water, then simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Stir in half-and-half and cool mixture slightly. .Puree mixture in batches in a blender until smooth, transferring to a bowl (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer, thinning with water if desired. Season with salt and pepper. While soup is reheating, heat remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté reserved chestnuts with salt and pepper to taste, stirring constantly, until crisp and butter is browned, about 4 minutes. Serve soup topped with chestnuts and drizzled with browned butter.

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CREAM OF CASHEW SOUP WITH ARMAGNAC
Makes 6 Servings

Cashews give this elegant starter a nutty sweetness; the Armagnac adds depth.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 cups unsalted natural cashews
1/3 cup chopped shallots
2 14-ounce cans low-salt no-fat chicken broth
1/4 cup cream Sherry
2 cups half and half
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons Armagnac or Cognac
Chopped chives

Melt butter with oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add cashews and shallots. Cook until shallots are golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add broth and Sherry. Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Add half and half and cream. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered until cashews are tender, about 20 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until very smooth. Strain soup into large saucepan, discarding solids left in strainer. Whisk 2 tablespoons water and 1 teaspoon cornstarch in small bowl to blend. Bring soup to boil. Whisk cornstarch mixture into soup, stirring until soup thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in Armagnac. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Divide soup among 6 bowls. Sprinkle with chopped chives and serve.

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CAULIFLOWER SOUP WITH WHITE TRUFFLE OIL
Makes 6 Servings

The truffle oil is not essential, but it's a nice indulgent touch. Since the oil's flavor dissipates with heat, add the oil to this first-course soup just before serving.

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 pound cauliflower florets (about 5 cups
2 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt no-fat chicken broth
1 teaspoon white truffle oil* or extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives

*White truffle oil is available at Earthy Delights or D'Artagnan (Jersey City, NJ)

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add cauliflower and sauté 2 minutes. Add broth. Cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 25 minutes. Working in batches, transfer soup to blender and puree until smooth. Return soup to pot. (Soup can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate.) Bring soup to simmer. Season to taste with salt

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CREAMY LEEK SOUP WITH BACON AND SHALLOTS
Makes 8 servings

This is a spectacular soup is thickened with potato instead of cream.

7 large leeks (about 4 3/4 pounds)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons dried thyme or 3 teaspoons fresh
3 l4 1/2-ounce cans (or more) low salt vegetable broth
1 12-ounce russet potato, peeled, quartered
1 1/2 cups sliced green onions (scallions/about 1 bunch)
6 slices hickory-smoked bacon; cut into 1-inch pieces
4 large shallots, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
Pinch of sugar

Cut dark green tops from leeks. Thinly slice 2 leeks. Set aside to use later as garnish. Coarsely chop remaining 5 leeks. Melt butter in heavy large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add coarsely chopped leeks, onion, 2 tablespoons sugar and thyme and sauté until leeks begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Stir in 3 cans broth and potato. Cover and simmer until potato is tender, about 25 minutes. Add green onions and simmer 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer half of vegetables to processor and puree until smooth. Gradually add half of cooking liquid to puree in processor and blend well. Transfer puree to large saucepan. Repeat with remaining vegetables and cooking liquid. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate sliced leeks and soup separately.) Preheat oven to 350F. Sauté bacon in heavy large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to, paper towels and drain. Reserve bacon drippings. Arrange shallots on half of large baking sheet and sliced leeks on remaining half. Drizzle with bacon drippings. Sprinkle with pinch of sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bake until vegetables are light golden, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool on baking sheet. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Bring soup to simmer. Thin with more broth, if desired. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with bacon and roasted shallots and leeks.

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CHILLED RED AND YELLOW TOMATO SOUP
Serves 6

Truly ripe tomatoes from your local farmers' market or ripe heirloom tomatoes are the secret to this dish.

For yellow tomato soup:
2 pounds ripe yellow beefsteak tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup chopped white onion
1 small celery rib, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fennel bulb (sometimes called anise)
1 small garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For red tomato soup:
3 pounds ripe red beefsteak tomatoes, quartered
1 1/4 cups canned tomato juice
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 small celery rib, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fennel bulb
1 small garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped shallot
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Garnish: chopped fresh chervil or tarragon
Special equipment: a 3-inch pastry ring or round cutter

Make yellow tomato soup:
Blend together all yellow tomato soup ingredients in blender until smooth. (Blend in 2 batches, using half of ingredients per batch, if necessary.) Force through large sieve into another bowl, discarding solids, then chill 1 hour.
Make red tomato soup:
Blend together all red tomato soup ingredients in cleaned blender until smooth. (Blend in 2 batches, using half of ingredients per batch, if necessary.) Force through cleaned large sieve into another bowl, discarding solids, then chill 1 hour.
To serve:
Press pastry ring firmly down against center of a shallow soup bowl and pour 1/2 cup yellow tomato soup into ring. While still holding down the right with the yellow soup in it, pour 3/4 cup red tomato soup around ring. Then slowly lift ring from bowl. The yellow soup should be in a circle in the middle surrounded by a border of the red soup. Fill 5 more bowls in same manner. and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle truffle oil over. Garnish with chives.

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GINGERED PARSNIP BISQUE
Makes 6 to 8 servings

Add a pleasing crunch to this velvety soup by topping it with plain croutons.
 
3 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups chopped leeks (about 2 large; white and pale green parts only)
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 large shallots, minced
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
41/2 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled, coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)
2 cups half and half
 
Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add next 5 ingredients and sauté until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth and parsnips; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until parsnips are tender, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Strain into another large pot; discard solids in strainer. Whisk in half and half. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.) Simmer soup over medium heat until heated through, about 10 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper.

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ASPARAGUS SOUP WITH BASIL CREAM
Makes about 7 cups
 
For the Soup:
3 pounds asparagus, ends and tips cut off and reserved separately
 and stalks cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
2 1/2 cups water
2 medium onions, chopped fine
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chicken broth
For the basil cream:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Make the Soup:
In a small saucepan simmer reserved asparagus ends in water, covered, 15 minutes. Remove asparagus ends with slotted spoon and discard.  Bring water to a boil. Add the reserved asparagus tips and cook, uncovered, over high heat until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer asparagus tips with slotted spoon to a colander, reserving cooking liquid, and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Drain tips well. In a 4-quart heavy saucepan cook onions in butter with salt and pepper to taste over moderate heat, stirring until pale golden. Add asparagus stalk pieces, broth, and reserved cooking liquid and simmer, covered, 15 minutes, or until asparagus pieces are tender. Purée soup in cleaned blender in small batches and return to 4-quart saucepan, thinning with water if desired. Season soup with salt and pepper and heat over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
Make the Basil Cream:
Make basil cream while soup simmers: In a small saucepan bring cream to a boil and stir in basil and salt. Cook mixture over high heat, stirring, until basil is wilted, about 5 to 10 seconds, and in a blender purée mixture. Return basil cream to small saucepan and keep warm.  Divide soup among 6 bowls and add asparagus tips, arranging them decoratively. Drizzle basil cream over each serving.

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BUTTERNUT SQUASH CHOWDER WITH PEARS AND GINGER
Makes 6 servings

2  Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and diced
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup peeled and diced Vidalia or Spanish onion
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small carrot, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon peeled minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced (about 3 cups)
1 baking potato (about 12 ounces), peeled and diced
5 cups vegetable stock or canned vegetable broth
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt to taste
 

Place the pears in a bowl with the lemon juice, cover with water, and set aside. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over high heat until lightly smoking. Add the onion, celery, and carrot, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute longer, stirring constantly. Add the white wine and reduce the liquid until the pan is almost dry, about 3 minutes. Drain half of the pears, reserving the other half in the lemon water for garnish. Add the drained pears to the pan with the squash, potato, and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Transfer half of the soup in batches to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve back into the saucepan with the unpureed mixture. Add the orange juice, lemon juice, cream, salt, and the reserved pears and gently warm the chowder through (do not boil). (Make Ahead: The chowder can be made 1 day ahead.)

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BROCCOLI LEEK SOUP WITH LEMON CHIVE CREAM
Serves 4
 
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium leeks, white and tender green parts only, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds broccoli, stems peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick, florets cut into 1-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
5 cups chicken stock or canned no fat, low-sodium broth
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup snipped chives
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
 
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the leeks and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the broccoli, garlic and stock, season with salt and white pepper and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer until the broccoli is tender, 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir the sour cream with the lemon zest, lemon juice, chives and Parmesan. Season with salt and white pepper.  Transfer the soup to a blender and puree in batches until smooth. Stir in half of the lemon-chive cream. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and serve the remaining lemon-chive cream on the side.

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SPICY CRAB AND SHRIMP SOUP
Serves 4 as a Main Course

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 8-ounce bottles clam juice or 1 quart fish stock

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes with juices
1 1/2 cups tomato juice
2 tablespoons dry Sherry
1/4 cup pearl barley
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon dried oregano or 2 teaspoons fresh chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
1/2 pound crabmeat (picked over)

Melt butter in large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Add clam juice or fish stock, tomatoes with their juices, tomato juice and Sherry. Bring to a boil. Add the next 8 ingredients. (If using fresh oregano, do not add until adding he seafood at the end.) Simmer until the barley is tender, stirring often, about 25 minutes. Add the seafood (and fresh oregano if using) and simmer until the shrimp are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

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CIOPPINO
Serves 6 to 8

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 large shallots, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
5 cups fish stock
1 bay leaf
1 pound manila clams, scrubbed
1 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded
1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 pounds assorted firm-fleshed fish fillets such as halibut or salmon, cut into 2-inch chunks
Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and 3/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and sauté 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes. Add the clams and mussels to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels begin to open, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and fish. Simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through, and the clams are completely open, stirring gently, about 5 minutes longer (discard any clams and mussels that do not open). Season the soup, to taste, with more salt and red pepper flakes. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

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CHILLED CUCUMBER SOUP WITH SMOKED SALMON AND DILL
Makes 6 Servings
 
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onions
4 cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 5 cups)
1 8-ounce russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
3 large fresh dill sprigs plus 6 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon (or more) salt

1 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
3 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add cucumbers and potato; stir 1 minute. Add broth, dill sprigs, and 1 teaspoon salt. Increase heat and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until cucumbers and potato are tender, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in processor until smooth. Return to pot. Cool 15 minutes. Whisk in 1/2 cup crème fraiche and 4 tablespoons minced dill. Cover and chill until cold, about 4 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.) Taste soup, adding more salt if desired. Ladle soup into 6 bowls. Place dollop of crème fraiche in center of each bowl; sprinkle with smoked salmon and remaining 2 tablespoons minced dill.

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CHILLED PEACH SOUP
Makes 6 Servings

1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup peach schnapps
3 pounds peaches (about 12 medium), peeled and sliced (about7 cups)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup crème fraiche (or sour cream) for garnish
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves for garnish

In a large saucepan bring water, sugar, and schnapps to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved, and add peaches. Return syrup to a boil and remove pan from heat. In a blender, puree peaches with syrup in batches, transfer to a bowl, and cool. Stir in heavy cream and chill. (Soup may be made 3 days ahead and kept chilled, covered.) Serve soup in chilled bowls garnished with crème fraiche and tarragon.

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WINTER SQUASH SOUP WITH COCONUT AND GINGER
6 TO 8 SERVINGS

The coconut milk gives the soup a silky texture and a hint of exotic nuttiness

2 large winter squash (one butternut and one buttercup--5 pounds total)--halved lengthwise, peeled and seeded
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 leek, white and tender green part only, thinly sliced
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth (low salt, not fat kind/could also use water)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 thyme sprig
Coconut shavings, for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Set the squash, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Fill each cavity with 1/2 tablespoon of the butter; season with salt and pepper. Roast the squash for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, until tender; cut into large pieces (can also do this in the microwave for about 1/2 hour. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the olive oil. Add the onion, leek, shallot, ginger and curry powder and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned. Add the wine and cook until evaporated Add the cooked squash, broth, coconut milk and thyme sprig. Simmer over moderately low heat for 15 minutes. Discard the thyme sprig, Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the coconut shavings and serve. (The soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days/also freezes well.)

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PEA SOUP WITH TRUFFLE OIL AND PARMESAN CRISPS
Makes 6 Servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 large shallots, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 l0-ounce packages frozen petite peas, thawed (or 1 1/2 pounds of shelled fresh peas)
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup whipping cream
White or black truffle oil
For parmesan crisps:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
6 tablespoons (generous) coarsely grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese

Make soup:
Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add peas and broth; bring to simmer (if using fresh peas simmer about 7 minutes more). Remove from heat, Cool slightly. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to same saucepan. Add cream and bring to simmer. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm over medium heat before continuing.) Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle each serving lightly with truffle oil. Top with parmesan crisps and serve.
Make Parmesan Crisps (Makes 6):
Preheat oven to 425F. Spray large non-stick baking sheet with nonstick spray. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese by generous tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet, forming six 2 1/2- to 3-inch rounds and spacing 3 inches apart. Bake until crisps are lacy and golden brown, about 6 minutes (crisps do not spread much). Working quickly; run thin spatula around edges of 1 crisp at a time, then gently slide spatula under crisp and loosen from baking sheet. Transfer crisp to paper towels. If necessary, return baking sheet briefly to oven to soften crisps if hardening too quickly before being removed from baking sheet. Cool crisps completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight between paper towels at room temperature.)

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An amazingly easy and great summer soup!

1 English cucumber, peeled and diced ( 1/4 cup reserved for garnish)
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced ( 1/4 cup reserved for garnish)
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
1 scallion, white and pale-green parts only, coarsely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
1 jalapeno, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 cup cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Puree ingredients in a blender. Divide soup and reserved cucumber and avocado among 4 bowls. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

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CHILLED AVOCADO LIME SOUP
Makes 4 Servings

2 very ripe avocados
4 cups cold chicken or vegetable stock
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 Tablespoon plain yogurt
2 hefty dashes of Tabasco sauce
salt and black pepper

Garnish: 4 paper-thin slices of lime and Tabasco sauce

Put the avocado flesh into a blender and puree. Add the stock and continue processing until smooth. Blend in the lime juice, yogurt, Tabasco sauce, and salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least one hour. When ready to serve, spoon into bowls, top each with a thin lime slice, and sprinkle a bit of Tabasco sauce over each portion.

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CHILLED CANTALOUPE SOUP WITH TARRAGON SYRUP
Makes 6 Servings

This could make a lovely summer first course or even a dessert!

For the soup:
1 large ripe cantaloupe (about 4 pounds), seeds and rind removed, cut into chunks, plus thin wedges for garnish
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons honey, or to taste
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Pinch of coarse salt
For the syrup:
Pinch of coarse salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 sprigs tarragon, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Make the soup: Working in 2 batches, puree cantaloupe, sour cream, honey, lemon juice, and salt in a blender until smooth. Press through a fine sieve into a bowl. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. Make the syrup: Bring sugar and 3/4 cup water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Boil until syrup has reduced to 2/3 cup, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat; add tarragon. Transfer to a bowl; refrigerate until cold, 1 hour. Puree syrup, tarragon, and lemon juice in a blender until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use; stir just before serving. Divide soup among bowls. Drizzle with tarragon syrup; garnish with cantaloupe wedges and tarragon sprigs.

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SEAFOOD AND SQUASH BISQUE
Makes 6 Servings

1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into large pieces
1 onion, chopped coarse
4 cups water
1/4 pound sea scallops (about 5)
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 pound medium shrimp (about 8), shelled, deveined, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 pound piece skinless red snapper or other firm-fleshed white fish, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, or to taste

In a large kettle combine squash, onion, and 3 cups water and simmer gently, covered, about 30 minutes, or until squash is tender. Remove tough muscle from side of each scallop if necessary and cut scallops into 1/2-inch pieces. In a saucepan bring wine and remaining cup water to a boil over moderately high heat and add scallops, shrimp, and fish. Poach seafood at a bare simmer 2 minutes, or until just cooked through. Transfer seafood with a slotted spoon to a bowl and reserve cooking liquid. In a blender puree squash mixture in batches and transfer to a large saucepan. Add reserved seafood-cooking liquid and simmer gently 20 minutes, or until slightly reduced. Add seafood, cream, dill, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste and cook over moderate heat, stirring, just until combined well and heated through (do not let soup boil or overcook as the seafood will be tough).

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Chop the shallots and the garlic in the processor to make this recipe even easier.

 

1/2 cup olive oil, divided
7 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon, divided
8 1/3-inch-thick baguette slices
4 1/4 cups coarsely chopped plum tomatoes (about 3 1/4 pounds), divided
1 cup chopped shallots
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste

Mix 1/4 cup oil and 4 tablespoons tarragon in bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Brush over both sides of bread. Toast bread in large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer croutons to plate. Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup oil in another large skillet over medium heat. Add 4 cups tomatoes, next 3 ingredients, and 3 tablespoons tarragon. Sauté until vegetables just begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; cook until tomatoes and shallots are soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Strain soup into bowl, pressing with rubber spatula to extract as much of the juice and solids as possible. Discard solids in sieve. Season soup with salt and pepper. Freeze soup just until cold, about 30 minutes. Ladle into bowls. Top with croutons; sprinkle with 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes.

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Gremolata is traditionally made with chopped garlic, parsley, and lemon peel; this one incorporates chopped hazelnuts and uses orange peel instead of lemon.
 

1 1/2-ounce package dried Porcini mushrooms*
1 cup hot water
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/4 cups chopped onion
1 cup sliced peeled carrot (about 1 large)
1 pound Cremini (Baby Bella) mushrooms, sliced (about 6 cups)
3 cups (or more) vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted , husked, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
1 garlic clove, chopped
12 ounces assorted fresh wild mushrooms (such as Chanterelle, Cremini, and stemmed Shitake), sliced (about 5 cups)

* Available in the produce section of many supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and Italian markets.

Place Porcini in 1 cup hot water. Let soak until soft, about 20 minutes. Strain, reserving soaking liquid. Coarsely chop Porcini. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrot and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1 pound Cremini mushrooms; sprinkle with salt. Sauté until mushrooms are soft and browned, about 5 minutes. Add Porcini and sauté 3 minutes. Add 3 cups broth and reserved Porcini soaking liquid and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until mushrooms are soft and flavors blend, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly. Working in batches, puree in blender until smooth, adding more broth by 1/2 cupfuls as needed. Return soup to pot. Mix parsley, oil, hazelnuts, orange peel, and garlic in small bowl. Set gremolata aside. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 12 ounces assorted mushrooms and sauté until soft and browned, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide soup among bowls. Top with sautéed mushrooms and gremolata.

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BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP WITH COCONUT AND GINGER
Makes 6 to 8 Servings

Coconut milk is used instead of heavy cream.  It gives the soup a silky texture and a hint of exotic nuttiness

2 large butternut squash (5 pounds total)—halved lengthwise, peeled and seeded
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 leek, white and tender green part only, thinly sliced
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 cups water or chicken broth
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 thyme sprig
Coconut shavings, for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Set the squash, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Fill each cavity with 1/2 tablespoon of the butter; season with salt and pepper. Roast the squash for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, until tender; cut into large pieces. You can also cook the squash in the microwave for about 20 minutes on high.  Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the olive oil. Add the onion, leek, shallot, ginger and curry powder and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned. Add the wine and cook until evaporated. Add the cooked squash, water or broth, coconut milk and thyme sprig. Simmer over moderately low heat for 15 minutes. Discard the thyme sprig. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the coconut shavings and serve. Make Ahead: The soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

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YELLOW GAZPACHO
Makes 6 Servings

Yellow tomatoes bring a touch of sunshine to this delicious chilled soup, which can be made as spicy or as mellow as you like.

1 navel orange
4 medium yellow beefsteak tomatoes (1 3/4 pounds), coarsely chopped
2 large yellow bell peppers, coarsely chopped
1 (3/4-pound) cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Sherry vinegar
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce such as Tabasco, or to taste
Diced cucumber; diced yellow bell pepper; chopped fresh chives for garnish

Cut off and discard peel, including white pith, from orange with a sharp knife, then cut orange into 1-inch pieces. Stir together with remaining ingredients and 1 teaspoon salt. Working in batches, purée in a blender until smooth, about 30 seconds per batch, then force each batch through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Whisk, then season with salt and chill, covered, 1 hour. Whisk before serving. Make Ahead: Gazpacho can be chilled up to 1 day.

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LOBSTER BISQUE WITH ARMAGNAC
Makes 8 Servings

The easiest way to split live lobsters open is to ask your fishmonger to do it; he can also remove the claws and tails. Start the bisque as soon after cutting the lobsters as possible.

3 quarts water
Four 1 1/2 -pound live lobsters, split lengthwise
1/4 cup pure olive oil
1 pound fennel bulbs--halved, cored and coarsely chopped
2 medium celery ribs, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium leek, halved lengthwise and coarsely chopped
1 unpeeled head of garlic, halved crosswise
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups dry white wine
3 tablespoons Armagnac or Cognac, plus more for serving
1 thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
Large pinch of saffron threads
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

In a large stockpot, bring the water to a boil. Twist the claws and tails from the lobster bodies and set aside the bodies. Add the claws and tails to the boiling water. Simmer the tails until just cooked, about 3 minutes, and the claws until they turn bright red all over, about 8 minutes; transfer the pieces to a large bowl as they are done and reserve the cooking liquid. Let the lobster cool slightly. Crack the claws; remove the meat from the tails and claws, then cover and refrigerate. Twist the legs from the lobster bodies and cut the bodies into large pieces. Heat the olive oil in a large enameled cast-iron casserole. Add the fennel, celery, carrot, onion, leek and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are browned, about 8 minutes. Add the lobster legs and body pieces to the casserole and cook over high heat, stirring, until the shells start to brown, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the shells and stir well. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it starts to brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in the wine and Armagnac and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the thyme, bay leaf, saffron and the reserved lobster cooking liquid until smooth. Simmer the broth over low heat, skimming occasionally, until very flavorful, about 1 1/2 hours. Strain the broth through a coarse sieve, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Return the broth to the casserole. (Make Ahead: The recipe can be prepared u0 to this point and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Rewarm the broth before proceeding with the bisque.) Add the heavy cream to the casserole and simmer for 5 minutes. Season the bisque with salt and pepper. Cut the reserved lobster tail and claw meat into 1-inch pieces. Add the lobster meat to the simmering bisque and cook until just heated through, about 1 minute. Add a splash of Armagnac to 8 soup plates. Ladle the lobster bisque into the soup plates, garnish with the parsley and serve.

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GRILLED VEGETABLE GAZPACHO 
Makes 10 Servings

4 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 large red bell peppers, cored and quartered
2 large yellow bell peppers, cored and quartered
2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
1 large white onion, cut into 1/2-inch slabs
2 ears of corn, husked
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups tomato juice
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 English cucumber, thinly sliced

Light a grill. Thread the garlic cloves onto a skewer. Lightly brush the garlic, bell peppers, zucchini, onion and corn with the vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables over moderately high heat, turning frequently, until lightly charred and crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic and let steam for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the garlic cloves from the skewers, peel them and transfer to a large bowl. Using a large serrated knife, cut the charred corn kernels into the bowl. Peel the peppers and add them to the bowl along with the zucchini, onion, cumin, crushed red pepper, tomato juice, orange juice, lemon juice and vinegar. Working in batches, puree the vegetable mixture in a blender or food processor. Pour the gazpacho into a clean bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. Just before serving, stir the cilantro into the gazpacho. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the cucumber and serve.

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6 ounces thinly sliced bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
1 cup chopped onion
1 celery rib, chopped
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and caps thinly sliced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup clam juice
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large saucepan, cook the bacon strips over moderately high heat until they begin to crisp. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Add the chopped onion, chopped celery and diced potatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the butter and shiitake mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, white wine, clam juice and heavy cream and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer the chowder until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in another large sauce-pan, heat the vegetable oil over moderately high heat. Add the mussels, cover and cook, shaking the pot occasionally, until the mussels open, about 3 minutes; discard any unopened mussels. Set a fine sieve over the pot of chowder. Using the lid to hold back the mussels in the pot, pour the mussel liquid through the sieve into the chowder. Simmer the chowder for 1 minute longer. Stir in the chopped parsley and season with hot sauce and salt and pepper. Spoon the mussels into bowls, ladle the chowder on top and serve immediately.

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TOMATO AND SPINACH SOUP
Makes 4 Servings

2 28-ounce cans tomatoes
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried, crumbled
1/2 cup (about) milk (optional)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Puree canned tomatoes with juices in processor or blender until smooth. Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and sauté until very tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, sugar and oregano. Simmer 10 minutes. Mix in cream, spinach and basil and simmer 3 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Thin soup with milk if desired. Ladle soup into bowls; pass Parmesan separately.

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ROASTED RED PEPPER BISQUE WITH SHRIMP AND ROMANO CHEESE
Makes 6 Servings

5 large red bell peppers
3 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
Hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
16 large uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

Char red bell peppers over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel and seed peppers. Cut 1 pepper into matchstick-size strips and set aside. Coarsely chop remaining 4 peppers. Combine chopped peppers and stock in heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer until peppers are very tender, about 5 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return puree to saucepan. Mix in paprika and sugar. Simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover bell pepper strips and soup separately and refrigerate.) Whisk in cream and pecorino Romano cheese. Season to taste with hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add reserved bell pepper strips and shrimp and sauté until shrimp are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Divide shrimp mixture among 4 bowls. Rewarm soup; ladle around shrimp mixture. Sprinkle basil over and serve.

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AWESOME OYSTER SOUP (TOM'S 2010 OYSTER COOK-OFF WINNER)
Makes 4 Servings

4 cups clam juice  or fish stock
4 cups vegetable broth
8 ounces diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 pound small red potatoes diced
2 poblano chilies seeded diced
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 cup diced celery with leaves
1/4 cup minced flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
24 shucked oysters and liquor
3 tablespoons butter
Shredded carrot for garnish
Parsley sprigs for garnish

In a large sauce pan cook all ingredients except oysters 20 minutes over medium heat.  Reduce heat to simmer add oysters and liquor cook for 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and swirl in butter. Ladle into 4 bowls. Garnish with carrot and parsley sprigs.

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CELERY AND PEAR BISQUE
Makes 6 Servings

4 1/2 tablespoons butter
6 cups thinly sliced celery with leaves (preferably organic; about 12 stalks) plus chopped leaves (for garnish)
18 ounces unpeeled ripe Bartlett pears, cored, diced (generous 3 cups) plus 1/2 cup finely diced (for garnish)
1 1/2 cups chopped dark green leek tops
3 small Turkish bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth

Melt butter in pot over medium-high heat. Add sliced celery, generous 3 cups diced pears, leek tops, bay leaves, and thyme. Cover; cook until celery softens, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Toss in flour. Stir in 3 cups broth; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until celery is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves from soup. Puree soup in batches in blender until smooth. Return puree to same pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Thin with more broth by 1/4 cupfuls, if desired. Rewarm briefly. Divide soup among bowls; garnish with 1/2 cup finely diced pear and celery leaves.

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ZUCCHINI AND WATERCRESS SOUP
Makes 4 Servings

A single tablespoon of cream gives the vivid green soup a touch of richness.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small pinch of saffron threads (about 10), crumbled
1 pound zucchini, coarsely chopped
3 cups chicken stock
8 ounces watercress, chopped
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onion and saffron threads and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 7 minutes. Add the zucchini and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat until the zucchini is tender, 10 minutes. Add the watercress and cook for 5 minutes longer. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onion, zucchini and watercress to a blender. Add the cream and 1/2 cup of the stock and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Gently rewarm the soup and ladle into bowls.

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CHILLED ORANGE-CANTALOUPE SOUP
Makes 4 Servings

2 ripe medium cantaloupe-peeled, seeded and cut into large chunks
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1/4 cu plus 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 tablespoons slivered fresh mint
Sugar cookies (optional), for serving

In a blender, working in batches, combine the cantaloupe, sugar, orange juice and orange zest, and blend until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and refrigerate until chilled for at least 45 minutes. Serve the cantaloupe soup in shallow bowls or large cups, garnished with the mint and accompanied with the cookies.
 

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Super-sweet tomatoes will make this cold soup extra-delicious. But to enhance the flavor of even less-than-perfect produce, add tomato paste, which has a rich, concentrated taste.
 

4 pounds tomatoes, quartered and seeded
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup crème fraîche
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped tarragon, plus tarragon leaves for garnish

Working in a blender in 2 batches, puree the tomatoes with the vegetable broth, olive oil, tomato paste, red wine vinegar and sugar until very smooth. Transfer to a bowl, season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. In a small bowl, mix the crème fraîche with the chopped tarragon and season with pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls. Top with a dollop of the crème fraîche, garnish with the tarragon leaves and serve. Make Ahead: The soup can be refrigerated for up to 1 day. The tarragon crème fraîche can be refrigerated for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before serving.

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OYSTER ROYALE (TOM'S 2012 NATIONAL OYSTER COOK-OFF 1ST PRIZE WINNER)
Makes 4 Servings
This is really great when you get a bit of the bread bowl with every spoonful of the soup.

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped red pepper
I cup chopped shallots (about 6)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups low-salt, no fat chicken broth
48 shucked oysters and their liquor (cut into pieces if large)
1 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning, e.g, Emeril's Seasoning
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 9- to l0-ounce bag baby spinach leaves
1/8 cup Sambuca or other anise flavored liquor (optional--but adds great hint of licorice flavor)
4 small round loaves sour dough bread

Melt 6 tablespoons butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add celery, red pepper, shallots, and garlic. Sautee until tender, about 5 minutes. Add flour; stir 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in cream, broth, and oyster juices. Add Creole seasoning and pepper sauce. Simmer until thick and smooth, whisking often, about 3 minutes. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Return to simmer before continuing. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach. Toss until wilted but still bright green, about 2 minutes; remove from heat. Add oysters to soup. Simmer until edges curl, about 3 minutes. Add Sambuca and spinach. Cut 1/2 inch off top of bread loaves .. scoop out insides of bread. Ladle soup into bread bowls.
 

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BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP WITH CHESTNUTS
Makes 6 Servings

4 large shallots, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
3 large thyme sprigs
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into (1-inch) cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
5 cups water or light chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
12 bottled cooked chestnuts, chopped (1/2 cup)
Softly whipped cream for garnish

Cook shallots, carrot, celery, tomatoes, thyme, and bay leaf in oil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add squash, water, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and simmer, covered, until squash is very tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard thyme and bay leaf. Purée soup in batches in a blender until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Thin soup if desired and season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup over chestnuts in bowls. MAKE AHEAD: Soup can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered once cool. Thin slightly with water if necessary.

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CHILLED CUCUMBER SOUP WITH JALAPEÑO AND MINT
Makes 4 Servings

Four 4-ounce Persian cucumbers-3 coarsely chopped,1 peeled and diced
1/2 cup ice cubes
1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
I small jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons shredded mint leaves
Salt
1/2 cup borage leaves, celery leaves or lovage leaves
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

in a blender, combine the chopped cucumbers, ice, water, grapeseed oil, lemon juice and half each of the jalapeno and mint and puree. Season with salt and refrigerate until cold. Meanwhile, blanch the borage/celery/lovage leaves in boiling salted water for 5 seconds. Drain, rinse in ice cold water and squeeze dry. Finely chop the leaves. Pour the cucumber soup into bowls and garnish with the diced cucumber, chopped leaves, yogurt and the remaining jalapeno and mint. Drizzle the soup with olive oil and serve.

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PEA AND PARMESAN SOUP
Makes 4 Servings

This soup gets its silky texture from finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano instead of heavy cream; use a rasp-style grater for light, fluffy shreds that will melt easily into the soup.

3 tablespoons  unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 cups lower-salt chicken broth
1 large Yukon Gold potato (8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (1 cup)
10 ounces (2 cups) frozen peas
1-1/2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1-1/2 cups using a rasp grater)
Freshly ground black pepper
White truffle oil, for garnish (optional)

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the wine, raise the heat to medium high, and cook until almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and potato and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium low, cover, and cook until the potatoes are tender when poked with a fork, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the peas, cover the pan, and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes more. Purée the soup in 2 batches in a blender until very smooth. Reheat the soup in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the Parmigiano, the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, until melted. Serve drizzled with the truffle oil, if using. MAKE AHEAD: The soup can be made a day ahead and refrigerated, covered. Reheat before serving.

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POTATO SOUP WITH CARAMELIZED VEGETABLES
Makes 8 Servings

6 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onions 
2 cups chopped leeks (white parts only)
2 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
12 ounces russet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
6 cups water or vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in a heavy pot over high heat.  Add onions, leeks, carrots, and celery.  Sauté on medium high heat until most vegetables are a deep brown about 20 minutes, being careful not to burn.  Add potato cubes, 6 cups water or stock and salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer about 15 minutes, or until potato is tender. Working in batches, puree soup in blender.  Place puréed soup back in pot and heat thoroughly.  Season to taste with salt and

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Show off your culinary prowess with these soups!      

Updated June 15, 2014