Savory Soups and Breads
by Julie Jensen

Try some “hot ideas” for winter cooking. Crisp cold days are the perfect counterpoint to bubbling pots of homemade soup and freshly baked bread.

Now’s the time to relax with family AROUND THE TABLE or invite friends over for a hot meal and evening of conversation, games or an uplifting video. This would also be a great Family Night menu. Or bring everyone together after a challenging day on the slopes, sledding, snowmobiling, or skiing. How about taking soup along in a thermos to grandmother’s house. An old fashioned game of fox and geese or a snow-shoveling contest on the driveway are sure ways to create hungry appetites and cherished memories as well. Serve chowder in hollowed out French bread bowls or end the day with soup and breadsticks.

Mexican Tortilla Soup is a welcome change in contrast to the meals of the holidays. If it’s comfort food you’re craving, the Creamy Chicken Rice Soup is perfect with its satin smooth texture and substantial ingredients. And it is one children are sure to love. Broccoli Cheese Chowder is a classic favorite. The ingredients are easy to keep on hand for last minute meals.

Choose your favorite soup garnish for just the right touch . . . a swirl of sour cream with chives, lightly toasted almonds, chopped onions, or flavored croutons.

The three breads featured . . . French, Corn, and Boston Brown Bread mix and match well with any of the soups. The French Bread is versatile and inspires creativity. How about making an alligator or turtle shaped bread to delight a child?

Frosty winter nights seem designed for an evening at the symphony. Orchestrate a memorable occasion by gathering first at your home for soup, salad, bread and dessert.

Whatever winter lifestyle suits you, make it better with simple entertaining, spontaneity, and recipes geared for enjoyment. Share a smooth bowl of soup and hot bread AROUND THE TABLE. For us, soup and bread satisfy the senses and re-create special feelings of being well cared for. See if it will do the same for you. ENJOY!

TORTILLA SOUP

Healthy, spicy, Mexican delight

2 Tbs. cooking oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (4-oz.) chopped green chilies
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (28-oz.) cut tomatoes
1 can (14 1 / 2 -oz.) beef consomm
1 can (14 1 / 2 -oz.) chicken broth
1 can (10-oz.) tomato soup
1 cup water
1 Tbs. ground cumin
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. coriander
2 Tbs. finely chopped cilantro (fresh, if possible)
1 can (15-oz.) black beans or corn, drained
1 Tbs. lemon or lime juice
1 / 2 cup Monterey jack or cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup cooked chicken, cut in cubes, optional

Saut onion and chilies in oil until tender. Add minced garlic and heat briefly. Do not allow garlic to brown. Transfer to stockpot. Add remaining ingredients and simmer uncovered for 1 hour. Butter tortillas on both sides. Briefly broil on each side until lightly browned. Cut into strips while still warm and serve atop or alongside soup. Top each serving with grated cheese, sour cream, avocado, chopped green onions, olives or cilantro as desired. Make a day ahead and reheat for extra flavor.

CREAMY CHICKEN RICE SOUP

Delicious “comfort food”

2 Tbs. butter or cooking oil
1 / 2 onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 carrot, very thinly sliced
1 can (7-oz.) mushrooms & juice
1 / 2 cup frozen green peas
1 cup cooked white or wild rice
1 cup cooked chicken, cut in cubes

white sauce ingredients for soup
1 / 2 cup butter or margarine (1 square)
1 / 2 cup flour
3 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 tsp. salt
1 / 2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. sage

Saut onion, celery and carrot in butter or oil until tender. In another saucepan prepare white sauce by melting butter over medium heat and blending with flour. Add milk and stir over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture reaches a boil. Cook and stir for

1 to 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and add chicken broth, salt, garlic salt, and sage. Blend together. Add vegetable mixture, mushrooms & juice, frozen peas, cooked rice and chicken. Cook briefly over medium heat and serve.

BROCCOLI CHEESE CHOWDER

Rich and smooth

1 pkg. frozen chopped broccoli (10-oz.)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 / 4 cup butter
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
white sauce ingredients for chowder:
1 / 2 cup butter (1 cube)
1 / 2 cup flour
1 1 / 2 tsp. salt
4 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth

Cook broccoli just until tender. Do not overcook. Saut chopped onion in butter until tender. In a separate pan, prepare white sauce by combining butter and flour over medium heat; add salt. Stir in milk and chicken broth gradually, stirring constantly until mixture reaches a boil. Cook 1-2 minutes until thickened. Add broccoli and onion. Stir in cheese. Cook briefly over medium heat. Avoid bringing to a boil.

Soup Garnishes

Shredded Swiss or grated Parmesan Cheese
Dollop sour cream with chopped parsley or chives
Whipped Cream
Toasted Almonds
Diced Tomato
Sliced Onion
Popcorn
Pretzels
Croutons
Crumbled Bacon
Sieved Hard-Cooked Egg
Olives

FRENCH BREAD

A no-fail winner

2 1 / 2 cups warm water
2 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. dry yeast
2 Tbs. oil
1 Tbs. salt
6 cups flour
1 egg, beaten
sesame seeds or poppy seeds

In a large bowl, stir sugar, yeast, and water. Let this stand until bubbles. Stir in salt, oil and half of the flour. Stir vigorously. Add remaining flour and mix well. Let stand 10 minutes. Stir down. Repeat this process 5 times, which will take one hour. Place dough onto a floured board. Knead only enough to coat dough with flour so it can be handled. Divide in half. Roll into two rectangles about 9 x 12 inches. Roll up into a jellyroll, rolling from long side. Moisten seam with small amount of water and pinch to seal. Arrange both loaves lengthwise on a large well-greased cookie sheet. Place seam side down. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 30-45 minutes.

Glaze with beaten egg (brush on very gently) and sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds. Gently make 3 diagonal gashes in the top of each loaf.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Remove to cooling racks and cover with a towel (this keeps the crust soft). Serve warm.

BREAD STICKS

Try this alternative

Use the French Bread recipe shown above. Instead of shaping into loaves, divide dough into half and roll 1 / 2″ thick. Cut into strips 1 / 2″ x 6″. Makes about 40.

Melt 1 square butter (1 / 2 square for each pan). Spread with pastry brush over surface of two jellyroll pans.

Lay each breadstick on jellyroll pan (20 per pan). Roll over to coat with butter. Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese and garlic salt as desired. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Variations with the same dough

Soup Cups
Novelty Alligator or Turtle
Hoagie Buns
Mini French Rolls
Extra long French Bread

BOSTON BROWN BREAD

A welcome change

Dark, moist with nutty flavor

1 cup all bran cereal
1 / 3 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. molasses
1 cup flour, white or whole wheat
1 tsp. baking soda
1 / 4 tsp. salt

Mix cereal and sugar together. In another bowl combine molasses, milk, and lemon juice. Add to bran mixture. Let stand 10 minutes. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir into first mixture. Fill a well-greased 26-oz. can (large soup size) or similar tin container half full. Cover can with tight foil. Place in a large stockpot and fill water half way up side of can. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Put on lid and simmer for about 1 1 / 2 hours. Check several times for temperature adjustment or addition of water. Remove can from pot. Loosen edges of bread. Slide out onto serving piece. Serve immediately or cool and freeze for later rewarming.

CORN BREAD

Sweet, dense texture, full of flavor

1 / 2 cup (1stick) butter or margarine, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup yellow corn meal
1 1 / 2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 / 2 tsp. salt
1 1/ 2 cups milk

Cream butter, sugar and eggs. In a separate bowl blend corn meal, flour, baking powder and salt. Combine creamed mixture, dry mixture and milk. Blend. Bake in greased 8″ square pan at 375 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes.