Today is a very special day; it is the very first day of soup season! What is soup season you ask and why does it start on October 4th? Well soup season is the time of year when it is appropriate to serve soup for dinner. Here in Texas soup season is shorter than in other parts of the country, it lasts from October through March. It happens to start on the 4th this year because that is the first Monday of the month, and so I will make soup every Monday for the next six months.
I placed soup night on Monday for several reasons but the most important reason is that most soups have a liquid base that I make using the left over components from Sunday Dinner. So if I make ham I might make split pea and ham soup or if I make a chicken I make chicken stock that goes into chicken noodle soup or any of the other countless soup recipes that require chicken stock or broth. I keep a gallon size bag in my freezer for vegetable scraps for this purpose as do most people who are frugal and make homemade stock. Last night I made a batch of vegetable stock, 1/3 of which will be used for tonight’s dinner and rest went into the freezer for the next time I need it. When I first started making soup I always used broth from the store but when you need a quart or two every week it can get really expensive.
The other reasons soup night is Monday is because I find that Mondays are often stressful and busy, so what is more comforting than soup? It also breaks up the week because it is something completely different than we have any other night. Most soups are not that complicated to make so after cooking and baking all weekend I like to just through some stuff in a pot and let it simmer. The last reason is that many soup recipes make large quantities and therefore we have 3-4 servings of leftovers. I can send Paul to work with left over soup and a sandwich for lunch all week long, but if I were to make soup on say Thursdays then he would take one on Friday and the rest would get pushed to the back of the fridge over the weekend and most likely go to waste.
I do not make the same soup more than twice a season unless it is specifically requested; there are way too many great and interesting recipes that I want to try to keep making tomato soup and grilled cheese every month. To start off this year I decided to make cream of mushroom soup and serve it with toast points (toast cut into triangles). What I like to do is check out 3-5 different recipes for something and then make changes to suit our taste and of course to make something healthier when possible. A big bowl of this soup is less than 300 calories, which I think is great considering it is a “cream” based soup.
Add chopped onions and olive oil to a large soup pot and cook over medium heat until translucent. Add the sliced mushrooms, stirring while cooking until the mushrooms are tender. Depending on your preference you may want to place some or all of the cooked vegetables in a food processer to make for a smoother more uniform texture (and to hide the onions) Add flour to the mushrooms, stir to incorporate and let the flour cook for a few minutes before adding any liquid. Add stock, bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 min while stirring to ensure for proper thickening. If your soup has flour clumps use a whisk to break them up. Reduce heat to low and add the milk and sour cream. Add salt and pepper to taste, serve hot. This recipe makes 4-6 servings.
Much love, Aislinn and Emily