For the Love of Soup

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My family and friends all know how much I love to cook. Nothing takes the chill out of a cold winter day better than a steaming bowl of soup, so I’m celebrating  National Soup Month with something I absolutely love to make!

When I worked for a local newspaper, my co-workers were always excited to see me when I walked in the door carrying a crockpot of homemade soup. Everyone’s favorite is my Beef Vegetable – a recipe that is special because of the care I put into making it. I use only the freshest veggies and a lean cut of Black Angus beef that I purchase at a store on the other side of town. The secret ingredient however, is the corn I bought from my favorite farm market at summer’s end and popped into my freezer to enjoy through the winter.

My grandson Noah loves to eat soup and I have made some special ones for him at his request. His two favorites are Chicken Corn Chowder and Clam Chowder, which was his “birthday meal” one year. My daughter’s favorite is my Crab Soup chock-full of lump crab meat, vegetables and spicy Old Bay seasoning, a nod to my Maryland roots. Cream of Crab soup is another one of our faves, creamy and rich with lump crab, Old Bay and heavy whipping cream, and topped with cooking sherry.

I love making soup from leftovers. I make Turkey Noodle from the Thanksgiving bird and Ham & Bean from leftover Christmas ham. I have turned leftover baked potatoes into a yummy Loaded Baked Potato Soup that will warm you up on a cold January day.

I also enjoy a hot and delicious bowl of soup at some of my favorite restaurants. I love the French Onion at The Laundry in Fenton, made with a rich beef broth and caramelized onions, topped with melted French comte cheese. My favorite place to go for soup is Pesto’s in Flint – I frequently order the spicy Cajun Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Gumbo served in a sourdough bread bowl.

National Soup Month can be traced back to 1986 as a promotional event for Campbell Soup. According to holidaycalendar.com, it is believed that soup has been made for around 20,000 years. Americans consume over 10 billion bowls of soup every year. During the Middle Ages, soup was called “sops” because bread was used to “sop up” the broth.

So, what is your favorite soup? National Soup Month is the perfect time to put on your apron, get creative and make a bubbling hot pot of goodness for your family to enjoy. It has been said that the most popular soup in America is Chicken Noodle; but there are so many other favorites – Tomato, Italian Wedding, Chicken Tortilla, Broccoli Cheese, chowders, bisques … so many soups, so little time!

I happen to agree with Ina Garten, a well-known chef who hosts cooking shows on Food Network. She says, “Grilled cheese and tomato soup is the ultimate comfort meal.”

Are you hungry yet?

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