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Hot Soups Chase Cold Winter Blues : These Traditional Favorites Can Be a Substantial Meal or First Course

December 27, 1987|TONI TIPTON

A warming bowl of soup, ladled piping hot from a decorative tureen or spooned straight from the pot, is a welcome sight during the chilly months of winter. A steamy bowl of soup is usually chock-full of healthy ingredients. Vegetables, fish or poultry and even beef and pork can provide substantial nutrients to the diet whether served as a first light course before dinner or as the main course with crusty bread and tossed salad greens.

Some care should be taken when making soup; careful selection of ingredients is vital. A good strong broth is the foundation upon which a delicious soup is built. While canned stocks and broths save time and offer the convenience of being readily available, they contain excessive amounts of sodium and in some cases MSG. Homemade stock from lean beef or pork, fish and poultry bones is preferred. After simmering the bones, strain and refrigerate the stock until the fat separates and floats to the top. This is the best way to remove extra fat.

Cook's Choice

The cook is usually allowed quite a bit of freedom in selecting the remaining ingredients. Vegetables are usually the main ingredient but some soups add small amounts of pasta, rice or some other grain or chunks of meat. Cooked dried beans and lentils make delicious soups too. Avoid the age-old tradition of seasoning the soup with smoked meats such as ham hocks--instead add turkey or chicken meat to the mixture.

Other soups to limit when watching calories are the cream-based ones that rely upon hefty amounts of cream and butter for flavor and texture. If a creamed vegetable soup is a mandatory component of the menu, try substituting milk for the cream required in the recipe. Keep in mind that the butter called for in most roux-thickened recipes can be eliminated and a milk sauce substituted. One tablespoon of flour per cup of liquid will make a thin base, two tablespoons a medium one and three tablespoons for a thick sauce as in Turkey-Mushroom Soup.

BLONDE BOUILLABAISSE

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

1 cup white wine Worcestershire sauce

1 cup water

1 (1-pound) can stewed tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon saffron

1 pound snapper fillets

12 clams, scrubbed

12 mussels, scrubbed

Heat oil in 3-quart saucepan. Add onions and saute until tender but not browned. Stir in Worcestershire, water, stewed tomatoes, salt, pepper, thyme, paprika and saffron. Bring to boil and simmer 8 minutes longer.

Cut fish into sections and add with clams and mussels to pot. Simmer 6 to 8 minutes or longer until fish is cooked through and flakes when tested with fork. Makes 6 servings.

CREAMY SWEET POTATO SOUP

1 cup chopped onions

2 cups chicken broth

1 3/4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

2 cups sliced carrots

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon ground mace

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups milk

Saute onions in non-stick pan coated with non-stick coating spray until tender. Add broth and bring to boil. Add sweet potatoes, carrots, salt, mace, garlic powder and pepper. Return to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 20 to 25 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.

Puree soup in batches in blender or food processor. Return to saucepan and stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until hot. Makes 6 servings.

HEARTY MINESTRONE

3 slices bacon, diced

1/2 cup chopped onion

5 cups beef broth

3 cups water

1/2 cup dry white beans

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups zucchini slices

1/2 cup salad macaroni

1 (10-ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook bacon in large saucepan until crisp. Add onion and saute until onion is tender. Add broth, water and beans. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Stir in tomato paste, bay leaf, oregano, basil, garlic, parsley and pepper. Boil gently 30 minutes.

Add zucchini, macaroni and mixed vegetables. Heat to boiling, stirring to break up vegetables. Reduce heat and boil gently 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables and macaroni are tender. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before serving. Makes 6 servings.

SALMON SHELL SOUP

1 (7 3/4-ounce) can salmon

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves

6 cups chicken broth

1 cup thinly sliced carrots

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup sliced celery

1 cup shell macaroni

1 cup coarsely chopped spinach

Drain and break salmon into chunks, reserving liquid. Add liquid, thyme and marjoram to chicken broth. Heat to boiling. Add carrots, onion, celery and macaroni. Simmer 10 minutes or until carrots and macaroni are tender. Add salmon chunks and spinach and simmer 2 minutes longer. Makes 8 servings.

ITALIAN FISH SOUP

1 pound haddock fillets

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon oil

1/2 cup thinly sliced onion

1/2 cup sliced carrot

1/2 cup sliced celery

1 (20-ounce) can tomatoes

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