Oct 1, 2012
It is officially soup season and as we start to layer up with sweaters and scarves, we need to also reach into our cabinets and dust off our stock pots. What better way to celebrate the autumn season than with a bowl of comforting soup that nourishes our bodies and fills our kitchen with aromas of herbs and fresh vegetables?
To get our new October Soup & Bread Box just right, we went straight to the soup and bread expert herself, the founder of Soup & Bread, Martha Bayne. Author of the Soup & Bread Cookbook (Agate/ Surrey, 2011) she has this to say about soup’s universal appeal:
“Soup. It’s nutritious, affordable, and infinitely variable. It can be a rustic meal in a bowl or a dainty palate cleanser. It can showcase the flavors of fresh spring peas or provide a last ditch use for tired celery and the stalest bread. From borscht to pozole to udon, it’s the hallmark of home cooking across cultures. It soothes the sick, and nourished the poor– and it can trick children into eating their vegetables. And, alone among foods, a pot of soup can be a powerful tool to both draw people together and help them reach out to others.”
Now in it’s fifth year, Soup & Bread is a weekly free community meal at Chicago’s The Hideout, which the New York Times has dubbed “soup and sociability for a worthy cause.” Each week from January through April, chefs, caterers, musicians, writers, artists, and home cooks of every persuasion donate pots of homemade soup, which are served free to all who attend, along with fresh bread donated from a local bakery and the occasional pie or batch of cookies. It was designed to be an easy, low-key way to get folks out of the house and socializing in the dead of a dark Chicago winter– because, as Martha says, at times these past few years it seemed the entire city could use a nice hot bowl of soup. While the meal is free, each night a donations bucket is set out, into which people are free to toss in a dollar or two or ten to help get food to those truly in need. Through events at The Hideout and across the country Soup & Bread has raised over $30,000 for hunger-relief organizations, such as the Greater Chicago Food Depository, in Cook County and nationwide. One of Martha’s friends described Soup & Bread as ” ‘permaculture’- a mutually sustaining project that gives back to all that partake in it”. Patrons get food, food pantries get money, the bar gets business, and the cooks get the gratification of sharing their soup creations with strangers all while having a good time.
“What makes soup and bread meaningful to hundreds of people who have shared soup from our Crock-Pots may just be its democratic essence,” Martha wrote on her blog in June. “It’s capacity to encompass a plurality of ideas and expectations. By being not-quite ministry; not-quite politics; not-quite social service; not-quire art, Soup & Bread may allow all of the above to happen at once. By resisting the act of naming, I- along with everyone who participates — am able to re-create, and redefine the act of sharing soup with strangers over and over again, transforming the plain moment of a meal into something vital and alive. ”
We expect to include the following in our Fresh Picks Soup & Bread Box :
Onions, Leeks, Garlic, Carrots, Parsnips, Potatoes, Fresh Pumpkin, Fresh Black Beans, Spinach, Cilantro, Parsley, Thyme, Chicken Stock, Pureed Tomatoes, Butter, and a French Baguette.
Seasonal & Year-Round Soup Recipes:
Black Bean & Pumpkin Soup (Served by the staff at Gapers Block at Soup & Bread on 2/25/2009):
Ingredients: Black beans, 1 cup pureed tomatoes, 3/4 cup diced onions, 1/4 minced shallots or leeks, 2 minced garlic gloves, 1/2 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 4 tablespoons butter, 2 cups stock, fresh pumpkin, 1/4 cup dry sherry, 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, small container sour cream, toasted pumpkin seeds to garnish
Instructions: Slice your pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, and set aside. Arrange them flesh side down on a baking pan and cover with 1/4-inch of water. Roast in a 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes. Once cooled, scoop out the flesh, puree, and set aside. The beans can either be soaked over night or boiled in salted water over medium-low heat for about 60 minutes, or until soft. Drain, then puree in a processor or blender with the tomatoes until smooth. In a large stock pot, cook the onions, leeks, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper in the butter. Once the onions are soft and begin to brown, stir in the bean puree. Add the stock, pumpkin puree, and sherry and simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Just before serving, stir in the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and toasted pumpkin seeds (Boil 2 cups of water for every 1/2 cup of seeds, add 1/2 tablespoon salt, and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain out the water, toss in olive oil, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, and roast in a 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.)
*For a meatier version, use beef broth and add diced ham. This recipe adapted from the Soup & Bread Cookbook.
Autumn Root Vegetable Stew ( This recipe by Miki Greenberg and served by Sarah Dandelles at Soup & Bread on 1/19/2011)
Ingredients: 1 onion diced, 3 diced carrots, 2 diced parsnips, 1 pound potatoes, 1 peeled & diced turnip, 1 peeled & diced beet, 1/2 cup fresh herbs (tarragon, cilantro, and/ or parsley), stock or water, balsamic vinegar to taste, and salt and pepper to taste.
Instructions: Add the veggies to a large stock pot, pour enough stock or water to cover the veggies, season with salt, pepper, and herbs, and bring to a boil. Add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, stir, and taste test. Add more vinegar to taste.
*This recipe adapted from the Soup & Bread Cookbook.
Basic Vegetable Stock
Ingredients: 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped parsnips, 2-3 chopped celery stalks, 2 chopped zucchinis, 2 sliced leeks (white and light green parts only) plus the green tops (add in whole and discard before serving), 2 unpeeled, quartered onions, 1 whole head of garlic, 1 cup halved mushrooms, 1 bay leaf, 5 whole sprigs parsley, 5 whole sprigs thyme, 1/2 cup pureed tomatoes, 10 cups water, salt and whole peppercorns to taste.
Instructions: Add the veggies to a large soup pot, add in the liquids and seasonings, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and low the flame to low and continue to simmer for at least 3 hours. The long the veggies simmer, the stronger the flavors will be. Add 1 cup of rice or quinoa and cook for another 30 minutes for a thicker, heartier soup or reserve for stock and use in other soup recipes or sautees.
Curried Pumpkin Soup
Ingredients: 1 fresh pumpkin, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 diced onion, 2 carrots, 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon fresh, chopped thyme, 2 1/2 cups stock, 1/2 cup heavy cream or half & half, toasted, candied pumpkin seeds (recipe follows).
Instructions: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Slice your pumpkin in half, scoop out and reserve the seeds, and dice the flesh into cubes. In a mixing bowl, toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the maple syrup, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until tender. Meanwhile, heat the last tablespoon of olive oil in a soup pot and saute your onions and carrots. Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add in the cilantro, chili powder, and thyme. Stir for 1-2 minutes before transferring the pumpkin into the pot. Stir together. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, then puree. You can use an immersion blender straight in the pot, or transfer your soup in batches to a blender or processor and return back to the pot. Reheat and stir in the cream. Leave on low heat while your toast your seeds.
Toasted Candied Pumpkin Seeds: Toss your pumpkin seeds in 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. Toast in a single layer on a sheet pan in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Enjoy as a snack or as a garnish for soup. Sprinkle on the top just before serving your soup.
Vegetarian Leek Soup (Served by Kristin Basta and Guy Massey at Soup & Bread on 3/11/2010)
Ingredients: Diced leeks (white and light green parts only), 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped celery ribs, Salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 cup butter, 2 small, diced potatoes, 1/2 cup white wine, 3 cups vegetable stock (see above recipe), 3 cups water, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, and creme fraiche or Greek yogurt for garnish (optional)
Instructions: Saute leeks, onions, carrots, and celery in half of the butter. Season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat for about 4-5 minutes. Add the potatoes, wince, stock, water, and bay leaf to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered for about 15 minutes, or until the veggies are tender. Stir in the parsley and cook for 5 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf and continue to cook. In a saucepan, melt the rest of the butter and stir in the flour over moderate heat for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, add in 1 cup of stock from your other soup pot, whisk vigorously, then stir in with the rest of the soup and bring to a simmer. Blend the soup in batches and check for seasoning. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a dollop of creme or yogurt.
*This recipe adapted from the Soup & Bread Cookbook
French Onion Soup with Gruyere Croutons
Ingredients: 1/2 cup butter, 1 pound sliced onions, 2 sliced leeks (white and light green parts only), 2 bay leaves, 2 thyme sprigs, salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 cup red wine, 3 tablespoons flour, 2 quarts beef broth, 1/2 cup grated cheese (Gruyere is best), and a few slices of baguette.
Instructions: Melt the butter in a large pot and saute your onions, leeks, garlic and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium-low heat until the onions have caramelized, for about 25 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a simmer and reduce until the liquid has completely absorbed. Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Add the flour to the onions and stir well to combine. Reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes so the flavors can blend together. Add the stock, increase the flame to bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Quarter each baguette slice and sprinkle with Gruyere cheese. Pop the bread under the broiler until golden and the cheese is melted. Fill your soup bowl about 3/4 of the way, add the baguette and Gruyere croutons, and top with another ladle of soup. Top with leftover grated cheese.
Roasted Potato Leek Soup
Ingredients: 1 1/2 pounds quartered Yukon Gold potatoes, 3 sliced leeks (white and light green parts), 2 chopped garlic cloves, salt and pepper to taste, 1/4 cup olive oil, 5 cups stock, 2 cups roughly chopped spinach, 1/4 cup dry white wine, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and Greek yogurt (a dollop per serving)
Instructions: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. On a sheet pan, toss your potatoes, leeks, and garlic in salt, pepper, and the olive oil. Roast in a single layer for 40-45 minutes, then add the spinach to the pan, toss and pop back in the oven for another 7-9 minutes. If you can, transfer your pan to the stove top, over two burners, and add in the wine and 1 cup of the stock. Otherwise, transfer to a large pot and add the liquids (by doing this, you will miss our on any roasted drippings from the veggies which often have the most flavor). Transfer the ingredients to a pot and stick an immersion blender in your pot to blend the soup, or transfer the soup in batches to a blender or processor, puree until smooth and pour into a large pot. Pour in the rest of the stock and keep the pot on medium-low heat. Add the cream and stir. Check for seasoning. Just before serving, add in the Parmesan cheese and combine well. Ladle into bowls and top with a dollop of Greek yogurt, more grated cheese, or slice onions.
Black Bean Soup with Leeks and Feta
Ingredients : 1 pound black beans, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 onions- 1 quartered and the other sliced, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 3 cups stock, 3/4 cup pureed tomatoes, 1 teaspoon chili powder, salt and pepper to taste, the juice of half a lime, 1/4 cup thinly sliced leeks, and crumbled feta to garnish.
Instructions: Begin by pouring your dried beans and quartered onion in a medium pot and covering them with water. You want just enough water to cover, then bring to a boil and simmer for one hour. Once the beans are almost cooked and tender, begin the second phrase of this soup. Heat your olive oil in a large soup pot. Add in the sliced onions and saute for 5-6 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Add in the garlic and stir for one minute. Once the garlic is fragrant, toss in half of your cilantro and stir. Season with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Add the stock and tomatoes. Drain your beans and toss them in the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the flame and simmer. for about 25-30 minutes. Ladle into soup bowls, stir in the lime juice just before serving and top with thinly sliced leeks and crumbled feta cheese.
Spiced Carrot Soup
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons butter, 2 diced onions, 1 pound peeled and diced carrots, 1/2 pound peeled and diced parsnips, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 cup cream, 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger (optional, the soup works well without it too), salt and pepper to taste, 3 cups stock, 1/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt, and 2 tablespoons cilantro.
Instructions: In a soup pot, saute your onions in the melted butter. Stir and cook until the onion become translucent, for about 7-9 minutes. Add in your carrots and parsnips and stir. Season with allspice, ginger, and salt and pepper. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer. Once the veggies are tender and the liquid has simmered for at least 20 minutes, blend the soup either with an immersion blender or by transferring the soup in batches to a food processor or blender. Return it to the pot to reheat for about 3-5 minutes over low heat. Ladle into bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt and chopped cilantro.
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 sliced onion, 3 chopped garlic cloves, 2 diced celery stalks, 2 diced carrots, 1/2 cup cooked beans* (black, white or red will work here), 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme, 1 teaspoon chopped parsley, 2 cups pureed tomatoes, 1 14-oz can crushed tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, 4 cups stock, 1 cup elbow pasta, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and extra parsley for garnish.
* Leave your beans to soak in just enough water to cover them overnight. Or you can add them to the water in a pot, bring to a boil, and gently simmer with 1 quartered onion for about 60 minutes.
Instructions: In your soup pot, heat your olive oil and saute your onions for 5-7 minutes. Add in the garlic and stir until fragrant. Stir in your celery and carrots and season the pot with salt and pepper to taste. Add your cooked, softened beans and herbs, and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the pureed and canned tomatoes along with the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce your heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Toss in the pasta and a sprinkle of salt and cook for another 10 minutes. Once served, garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
Mexican Chicken Soup with Spinach & Herbs
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 chopped onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 diced carrot, 1 diced parsnip, 1 roasted chicken breast (optional), 1/2 cup spinach, 3 cups stock, salt and pepper to taste, avocado slices, and the juice of a lime.
Instructions: Start by roasting your chicken. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Brush your chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes. Once cooled, you can remove the skin and bones if there are any. Using clean hands, shred the chicken into strips and set aside. In a stock pot, heat up your olive oil and butter and saute your onions for 5-6 minutes over medium heat. Add in the carrots and parsnips and season with salt and pepper. Once the veggies are tender, pour in your stock and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken to the pot along with the spinach and cook for 10 minutes or until the spinach just begins to wilt. Check for seasoning. Serve and garnish with a splash of lime juice and avocado slices. If you have tortilla chips available, crush a few of these over your bowl for a little crunch!
Fresh Bread Recipes
Milk Bread Rolls (Served by Rae Lynn Hill at Soup & Bread on 4/1/2010 )
Ingredients: 1 package active dry yeast, 3 tablespoons warm water, 1 cup warm milk, 5 tablespoons melted butter, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 cup bread flour, 2 tablespoons melted butter for greasing, and 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour.
Instructions: In a large bowl mix together the yeast and flour. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Beat the milk, butter, sugar, egg, and salt together. Knead in the bread flour then add and knead the all-purpose flour until the dough is moist but not sticky. After about 10 minutes, the dough should be smooth and elastic. Transfer it to a buttered bowl and let it rise in warm water until it has doubled in size. Remove it from the bowl, use your fist to push down the middle of the dough and knead again for 5 minutes. Form small balls, 2-3 inches in diameter. Place the balls on a greased baking sheet to rise again and double in size. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Brush your rolls with a little melted butter or milk or bake for 15 minutes. Their bases should sound hollow when tapped and the crusts should be golden.
Perfect Garlic Bread
Ingredients: Half a baguette loaf (sliced long ways), 4 minced garlic cloves, a pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Instructions: Combine garlic, butter, olive oil, and salt in a small sauce pan and cook for 1-2 minutes over low heat. Toast your baguette half under your broiler until lightly golden brown. Liberally smear on the garlic and oil mixture on the bread. Sprinkle with cheese and return back to the broiler for 30-60 seconds. Sprinkle with parsley and cut into chunks.
Baguette with Herb Butter and Lemon
Ingredients: Half a stick butter at room temperature, 1 tablespoon chopped thyme, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste, 1 baguette half (sliced long ways)
Instructions: Toast your baguette half under your broiler. In a small bowl, combine your room temperature butter with the chopped thyme, lemon zest, and salt and pepper. Once toasted, remove your bread and smear liberally with the flavored butter.
Honey, Ricotta & Thyme Toast
Ingredients: 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta, 3 tablespoon good honey, 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh thyme leaves, sliced baguette rounds
Instructions: Toast your sliced baguette rounds under your broiler for 3-5 minutes, or until lightly golden. In a small bowl, whisk together your ricotta, honey, and thyme. Smear on warm baguette rounds. Drizzle a little extra homey on the top of each slice.
Ingredients: Half baguette loaf (perfect with slightly stale bread), 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley, salt and pepper to taste, 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Instructions: Dice your bread half into cubes all about the same size so that they toast evenly. In a medium sized mixing bowl, toss the bread cubes with the olive oil, garlic powder, parsley, and salt and pepper. Heat a medium sized saucepan over medium heat and begin toasting your seasoned cubes. Stir occasionally and continue to cook for about 10 minutes until lightly golden and crispy on all sides. Toss in the grated cheese while they are still hot.
Trying our Fresh Picks Soup & Bread Box also means that you are supporting the greater mission of Martha’s Soup & Bread. Fresh Picks makes weekly donations of any unused or slightly blemished food to the Niles Food Pantry, an extension of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Click on the link as well if you would like to make a personal donation or to learn information. We’ve been donating to the Pantry since opening in 2006.
Do you have a favorite soup recipe? We’re taking submissions via Facebook messages and email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the best soup recipe! Enter in before the end of the month for a chance to win Martha Bayne’s Soup & Bread Cookbook: Building Community One Pot at a Time. Described by Time Out Chicago as “One of the top ten cookbooks for fall 2011″.
Soup & Bread stars January 2, 2013 and runs Wednesdays 5:30-7:30pm at The Hideout, 1354 West Wabansia, through mid-April. There’s never a cover charge and kids are welcome if accompanied by an adult.