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10 soup recipes to try as winter weather remains in Arkansas

by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | February 18, 2021 at 9:12 a.m.
Potato and bean soup. (Kelly Brant/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

During a week of frigid temperatures and heavy snowfall, keeping warm is key and a bowl of soup can help. Here are 10 recipes, created by food editor Kelly Brant and pulled from the archives, to try as Arkansas weathers the cold.

Chicken Taco Soup

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 1 envelope ranch dressing mix
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 can Ro-tel tomatoes, pureed
  • 11/2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 (14- to 16-ounce) can chili beans
  • Chicken broth
  • Optional garnishes: crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheese, minced green onion and/or cilantro

In a large pot, over medium heat cook chicken and onion, stirring frequently, until chicken is no longer pink. If necessary, drain and return to pot. Add ranch dressing mix, taco seasoning, pureed Ro-tel, corn and chili beans. Continue cooking until heated through. Thin, if necessary, with chicken broth to create desired consistency. Serve with desired garnishes.

Makes about 4 servings.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

  • 1 bunch fresh broccoli (1 to 1 ¼ pounds)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced OR 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups broth — vegetable or chicken
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon onion base such as Better Than Bouillon Sauteed Onion Base (see note)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced or julienned carrot
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • Ground black pepper
  • ½ cup half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Trim off any leaves or brown spots from the broccoli stalks and then, using a paring knife, separate the crown from the stalk. Separate the crown into florets. Cut off and discard the bottom inch of the stalk, and then peel and thinly slice the stalk. Set sliced stalk and florets aside.

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic (and diced onion, if using fresh onion) and saute until tender. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk until flour is completely coated in butter and the flour is lightly browned. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the broth and then the milk, whisking until incorporated. Add the onion base (if using), broccoli, carrot and celery seed. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook until broccoli and carrots are tender, about 8 minutes.

Remove from heat and puree to desired consistency using an immersion blender or working in batches with a traditional blender. Return to low heat and stir in the half-and-half, and then add the cheese, one handful at a time, stirring until cheese is completely melted between additions. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Note: Look for onion base with the broth and bouillon at the supermarket. If you can’t find onion base, saute 1 small diced onion with the garlic until tender and golden brown.

Bean and Potato Soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil OR 1 tablespoon bacon drippings
  • 1 leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced OR 6 green onions, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced OR 1/ 2 small sweet onion, diced
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces to 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 3/ 4 to 2 cups cooked beans such as lima or cannellini
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • Optional garnish: cooked crumbled bacon, shredded cheese or snipped fresh chives

Heat the olive oil or bacon drippings in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and a small pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently for 3 minutes. Add the potatoes and beans and stir to coat. Add the broth and enough water to just cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, 25 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Using an immersion blender, puree soup to desired consistency, adding more water or broth if necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with bacon, cheese or chives, if desired.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Avgolemono Greek Egg and Lemon Soup

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ¼ cup long-grain white rice
  • 4 egg yolks
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and ground white pepper, to taste
  • Flat-leaf parsley, for optional garnish

Bring the broth to a simmer in a pot. Add the rice and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until thick and pale. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the lemon juice, whisking until frothy. Reduce heat on broth-rice pot to low.

Gradually ladle the hot broth rice mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. When about half to three quarters of the broth mixture has been whisked into the yolk mixture, whisk the yolk-mixture into the remaining broth mixture in the pot. Cook over low heat just until heated through. Do not let mixture boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately garnished with parsley, if desired.

Makes 2 main-course servings or 4 first-course servings.

Quinoa and Bean Stew

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ cup diced onion
  • ¾ cup sliced carrots
  • ½ cup sliced celery
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans OR kidney beans, lightly drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, optional
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced, for garnish
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for garnish

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and saute until onion is translucent. Stir in the spices, oregano, salt and pepper and cook 1 minute. Stir in broth, tomatoes, beans, corn (if using) and quinoa. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Thin with additional broth or water, if necessary. Serve garnished with avocado, cilantro and lime.

Makes 6 generous servings.

Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup

  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (14- to 16-ounce) can creamed corn
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ½ -inch cubes OR 2 cups shredded leftover cooked chicken
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten

In a medium pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir in the creamed corn. Add the cubed chicken and cook 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. (If using leftover chicken, cook 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through.)

Add the sesame oil, then add the salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Slowly pour the egg into the soup in a steady stream, stirring or whisking constantly. The egg should cook immediately and look like long yellowish-white strands. Remove from heat as soon as you see the strands appear. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 main-course servings or 4 appetizer servings.

Recipe adapted from The Chinese Takeout Cookbook: Quick and Easy Dishes to Prepare at Home by Diana Kuan

Roasted Red Bell Pepper-Tequila Soup

  • 2 pounds red bell peppers (about 3 peppers)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 to 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tequila OR mescal
  • 2 tablespoons half-and-half Fresh cilantro, for garnish

Heat broiler. Have ready a large bowl of ice and water. Cut each pepper in half through the stem. Remove and discard stems, cores and seeds. Arrange peppers, cut-side down, on a foil-lined broiler pan. Broil peppers, rotating occasionally, until skins are uniformly blackened.

Transfer peppers to the bowl of ice water to cool for 10 minutes. The skins should come right off. Pat peppers dry and coarsely chop.

In a large pot, heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-low. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the chopped peppers, 2 cups of the vegetable stock and a pinch of salt and pepper. Using a hand blender, puree the pepper-stock mixture, then bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Add tequila and half-and-half; taste for seasoning. Thin with remaining broth, if necessary. Cook just until heated through. Serve immediately with chopped cilantro, or chill soup and serve it cold.

Makes 4 first-course servings.

Variation: Roasted Red Pepper-Tequila With Corn Soup. Stir 1 cup pan-seared corn kernels into the soup after pureeing and simmer as directed.

Recipe adapted from Elise Pierce/Fort Worth Star Telegram

Cheddar-Ale Chowder

  • 2 pounds red potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle blonde or brown ale
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for serving
  • Snipped green onions or chives, for garnish

In a 6-quart slow cooker, combine the potatoes, beer, broth and black pepper. Cover and cook on low 7 hours or 4 hours on high, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove and reserve about 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Mash potatoes using a masher or immersion blender. If mixture is too thick, whisk in the reserved cooking liquid. Stir in the cheeses and cook on low until cheeses melt. Serve garnished with green onions and shredded cheese.

Makes about 6 servings.

Recipe adapted from 5 Ingredients or Less Slow Cooker Cookbook by Stephanie O’Dea

Caramelized Onion Soup

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 pounds onions, sliced into 1 /4-inch crescents
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 6 cups beef stock or broth
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Optional garnishes: Shredded cheese, croutons

In a large, heavy pot over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add onions and shallots. Cook 5 minutes or just until onions are beginning to soften. Add salt, pepper and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, golden brown and beginning to caramelize, about 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with flour and stir. Add the sherry, beef stock and chopped thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Leek and Potato Soup

  • 2 to 3 leeks
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ¼ pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 ¼ to 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup whole milk OR half-and-half
  • Chives, for garnish

Cut off the root tips and the tough green tops of the leeks. Cut each leek in half lengthwise, then cut into ½ -inch thick slices. Place sliced leeks in a bowl of cold water and swish thoroughly, letting the sand and grit sink to the bottom. Using a slotted spoon, remove leeks from water to a tea towel or several layers of paper towels to drain.

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. When it foams, add the potatoes, onion and drained leeks and toss them in the butter until they are well coated. Season with salt and ground black pepper and toss again. Cook, covered, over a gentle heat for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft but not browned.

Add 3 ½ cups stock and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. Working in batches, puree soup until silky smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Return the soup to a clean pan and stir in milk. If the soup is too thick, add enough of the remaining stock to reach desired consistency. Cook until hot, but not simmering.

To serve: Ladle soup into small bowls. Top with a scattering of chives and black pepper and serve at once. Makes 4 to 6 servings. Recipe adapted from


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