Soup Nights: Satisfying Soups and Sides for Delicious Meals All Year is the second title devoted to this comforting subject written by Betty Rosbottom. Twenty-five years ago, the author started a cooking school and declares that her soup classes were the first to fill up. Makes perfect sense to me – I think making a good soup with just the right balance of flavors and broth consistency is not as easy as one might think. It also makes sense to the author, who states “soup is a universal staple, thanks to its versatility and adaptability to seemingly endless variations.” It appeals to everyone.
In Soup Nights, Rosbottom delivers a full range of updated classics to those soups that feature fresh combinations of ingredients and garnishes. What I love about this title is that many of the soups have a global influence – Onion Soup Gratinée, Vietnamese Shrimp and Noodle Soup, and Brodo with Asparagus and Gnocchi. For those nights when “soup is not a meal” (for those Seinfeld fans among us), there are recipes for salads and sandwiches along with some tasty treats.
My family loves soup nights now that I have mastered the art of soup making. Soup is comforting, warming and is satisfying in a way other meals are not – at least in my opinion. Even if it is a rich soup such as a chowder – it always feels lighter than an entrée selection. There are many delicious soups in this title but I am drawn to the garnishes. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Cream, Cauliflower Soup with Toasted Hazelnuts & Gruyère, Cream of Celery Root Soup with Celery Leaf & Hazelnut Gremolata, and Broccoli Soup with Curried Crème Fraîche, for example. You can serve your family a bowl of Cream of Celery Root Soup and they would be happy but add the gremolata and you have leveled up. Garnishes really elevate any meal but especially soup.
The salad and sandwich chapters have delicious offerings. Ham & Cheese Panini with Apple Slaw, Frisée Salad with Walnuts, Pears & Goat Cheese Dressing, and Romaine, Mint, and Creamy Ricotta Salad – it’s the “with” that grabs you. And to gild the lily, Delicious Endings shares desserts such as Lime & Ginger Cream Cheese Bars, Three-Layer Chocolate Caramel Bars and a Rustic Apricot Tart. Soup Nights is truly an approachable, yet beautiful book.
For this review, I made the “After Thanksgiving Turkey, Sweet Potato & Bacon Chowder.” We can always edit that recipe title to After Fill-in-the-Holiday Turkey, Sweet Potato & Bacon Chowder (and even make this soup on a Monday night after Sunday night’s roasted chicken. I will be using the bones of this recipe to make many a pot of soup. It was fantastic and easy to bring together – I did add carrots to my version as we all love carrots in our house. Everyone in the family loved it – and I shared two quarts of the soup with elderly friends who raved about how wonderful it was – and I agree, it was incredibly tasty – but then again bacon makes everything better.
Soup Nights is a fantastic cookbook with plenty of variations to make soup an option for more meals, not just for using up those holiday leftovers.
- 5 slices smoked bacon
- 1 cup chopped onion
- ¾ cup chopped celery
- 2 cups (about ¾ lb) cubed sweet potato cut into ½-inch dice
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 TBSP flour
- 4 cups chicken or turkey broth or stock
- ½ tsp dried rubbed sage
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- 1 ½ to 2 ½ cups of cups of half-and-half
- Roasted turkey, cut into ½-inch dice
- Fresh sage and thyme sprigs, for garnish (optional)
- IN A LARGE, HEAVY POT over medium heat, sauté bacon until browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove to drain on paper towels. Crumble it coarsely and set aside. Leave 2 tablespoons of drippings in the pan and discard the rest.
- ADD onion and celery to the pot, and sauté, stirring, 2 minutes. Then add sweet potatoes, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring, until slightly softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and stir constantly to cook the flour for 1½ minutes.
- ADD broth, sage, and thyme, and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer until vegetables are tender but not mushy, about 10 minutes.
- WHISK IN HALF-AND-HALF, bring the soup to a simmer, and cook 1 minute.
- Add turkey and cook to heat through, about 2 minutes. Taste and season chowder with more salt and pepper if needed. (The chowder can be prepared one day ahead. Cook to this stage, then cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat, stirring often.)
- LADLE CHOWDER INTO BOWLS. Garnish each serving with crumbled bacon and, if desired, a fresh sage and thyme sprig.
Recipe printed courtesy of Rizolli Publications. ©2016 Betty Rosbottom
Editor’s note: This recipe is printed courtesy of the publisher. The author of this review received a copy of the cookbook, Soup Nights: Satisfying Soups and Sides for Delicious Meals All Year. No other compensation was received from the publisher. Links to the cookbook are affiliate links.
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Weekday Supper recipes are great for when life gets busy! It’s easy to find them. Search the #WeekdaySupper hashtag across social media or click here for more on our Sunday Supper website. Also check out the Weekday Supper Pinterest board for plenty more ideas and inspiration.
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