Rachel over at Small Notebook is collecting soup recipes for her comfort soups collection. What a great idea! So I thought I’d join in the fun. Before I share recipes and links I’d like to point out the health benefits of using homemade stock in your soups. According to this article from the Weston A. Price foundation website:

“Science validates what our grandmothers knew. Rich homemade chicken broths help cure colds. Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.”

I’d also like to add that it is absolutely delicious. Nothing canned or cartoned can compare.

Most of the time when I make soups I will make one from a recipe the first time and from that I have learned the method. I am a big fan of learning methods, not recipes. When you learn methods you can use what you have instead of going out for an ingredient and you can suit it to your families tastes. A note: Always season as you go. Add a small amount of salt & pepper to every layer you add. Here is an example of a method I use:

Minestrone: Saute onions, carrots, celery, zucchini, red pepper flakes and lots of garlic until translucent. Add chicken stock (usually 1 -2 quarts depending on whether I’m making enough for just a couple of meals for my family or making extras for the freezer). Add canned tomatoes, pre-cooked kidney or white beans and dried basil, oregano & thyme. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes to an hour for flavors to meld. Add vegetables that you don’t want cooked too long (i.e. green beans, spinach, kale, etc.). Taste for seasoning and add more if you’d like. Now is the time to add fresh herbs. Fresh basil is fantastic in this (as it is in most dishes). Serve with lots of grated parmesan cheese on top.

We had butternut squash soup last Friday. We had never had this type of soup (pureed vegetable soups) so I was a little leery. I tried this recipe from allrecipes and was disappointed. So I changed a few things, added some apple to perk it up and it turned into something I really liked. My husband didn’t mind it, but didn’t like it as much as I did. He likes a heartier supper.

Spiced Butternut Squash & Apple Soup

Adapted from this recipe at allrecipes.com

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ~ 3 1/2 c. butternut squash puree
  • 1 large onion, cut into large dice
  • 1 tablespoonp sucanat
  • 3 large garlic cloves, thickly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half (I used about 1/2 c. cream & 1 c. whole milk)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 chopped apples (about 1/4 – 1/2″ dice)

  1. Heat butter over medium-high heat in a large, deep saute pan until shimmering.
  2. Add onion; saute until translucent.
  3. Reduce heat to low and add sucanat and garlic; continue cooking until all vegetables are a rich spotty caramel color, about 10 minutes longer.
  4. Add squash puree, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and cayenne pepper; continue to saute until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute longer.
  5. Add stock; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered for about 10 minutes.
  6. Using an immersion blender, traditional blender or potato masher, puree until very smooth, 30 seconds to 1 minute. (If using a traditional blender, vent it either by removing the lid’s pop-out center or by lifting one edge of the lid. Drape the blender canister with a kitchen towel. To ‘clean’ the canister, pour in a little half-and-half, blend briefly, then add to the soup.)
  7. Return to pot; add enough half-and-half so the mixture is souplike. Add chopped apples. Taste, and add salt and pepper if needed. Heat through, ladle into bowls, garnish and serve.


I have more tips and methods that I will share in the future. For now head over to small notebook to see more comfort soups.