Monday, November 2, 2009

Scrumptious, Satifying Soups

Fall is a wonderful time for warm, soothing soups, and for celiacs looking for a good home-cooked meal, few options are come by as naturally. Soup’s versatility (ingredient-wise) makes it a particularly good option for those who are gluten-free, and its low-maintenance approach means that practically anybody can make great soup!

It’s true, soups can require a bit of patience, although there are plenty of soups that can be made quickly (see our Chicken, Avocado, and Tomato soup, below). The trick is to have all of your ingredients on hand, and to look thoroughly through your recipe before you begin so you know what’s ahead of you.

If you don’t have time to make your own stock, you may certainly use store-bought stock or broth (do, however, check the label thoroughly—sometimes gluten-containing additives make their way into these products!). If you have the time, however, using homemade stock will simply transform your soups! We’ve included a recipe for poultry stock, below, as required by some of our recipes. Homemade stocks can keep 3-4 days in the fridge, or can be frozen (incredibly!) for up to 6 months. Make your homemade stock in advance to cut down on your soup’s start-to-finish time.

Poultry Stock

About 10 cups

Combine in a stockpot over medium heat:
3 to 4 pounds poultry parts
Cold water to cover
Bring slowly to a boil, reduce the heat at once, simmer, uncovered, about 30 minutes, skimming often. Add:
1 onion, quartered
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
8 black or white peppercorns
Several sprigs of fresh dill
2 whole cloves (optional)
Simmer, partly covered, for 3 to 4 hours, adding water to cover, if necessary, and skimming. Strain and cool uncovered, then refrigerate covered. Remove the fat when ready to use.

Making a bouquet garni
If you don't have fresh dill (or even if you do), creating a bouquet garni is a more involved, but wonderful, alternative. A bouquet barni is a bundled mixture of vegetables, herbs, and spices that is used to flavor soup, stock, and sauces. The bundle is removed before the soup, stock, or sauce is used. If you have fresh herbs available to you,
Bunch together:
3 or 4 sprigs parsley
1/3 to ½ bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
1 leek, white portion only (optional)
2 wholes cloves (optional)
Bind tightly with kitchen string.

Don’t have fresh herbs to use? Wrap dry herbs—coarsely crumbled but not powdered, in 4-inch squares of cheesecloth tied into pouches. They may be stored in a tightly covered container for up to a month.

Yields 12 bags:
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
12 bay leaves
2 tablespoons dried celery leaves

Pumpkin Soup
About 5 cups

Heat in a soup pot over medium heat:
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
Add and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes:
1 cup minced onions
½ cup minced celery
Stir in:
3 cups canned pumpkin or 2 pounds fresh pumpkin, cooked
3 cups GF poultry stock or vegetable stock (McCormick, Herb Ox, and Pacific are all GF)
1 tablespoon sugar or 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup heavy cream or half-and-half (optional)
Heat through, but do not boil. Puree and reheat.

Chicken, Avocado, and Tomato Soup
5 cups

Bring to a boil in a large saucepan:
4 cups poultry stock
Stir in just before serving:
1 cup cooking chicken, shredded or diced
Garnish with:
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced
¼ cup diced yellow or sweet onion
¼ cup diced tomatoes
2 red radishes, slivered (optional)
Season with:
Salt and pepper to taste

Mediterranean White Bean Soup

About 6 cups

1 cup dried white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini, rinsed
Drain and place in a soup pot, along with:
¾ teaspoon dried rosemary
8 garlic cloves, chopped or sliced
7 cups water
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the beans are tender, 1 to 1 ½ hours. Stir in and heat through:
½ cup chopped tomatoes
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup olive oil
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Corn Chowder
About 6 cups

Cook, stirring, in a soup pot over medium-low heat until beginning to crisp, 10 to 15 minutes:
4 slices GF bacon, chopped (many brands are GF, but check the label; Oscar Meyer, Boar's Head, Hormel, and Applegate Farms bacon are all GF)
Leaving the bacon in the pan, spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of fat. Add and cook, stirring, under tender and slightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes:
1 small onion, chopped
2 medium celery ribs, diced
Meanwhile, remove the kernels from:
6 small ears corn
Set the kernels aside and add the cobs to the pot, along with:
4 ½ cups milk
2 medium potatoes, diced
Submerge the corncobs in the milk. Bring the milk almost to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the cobs. Stir in the reserved corn kernels, with:
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon white or black pepper
Simmer gently until the corn is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. With a slotted spoon, remove 1 ½ cups solids from the soup and puree until smooth. Return to the soup and add:
1 tablespoon butter
Let stand until the butter is melted, then stir and serve.