Learning to Use Herbs and Spices: Soups for the Family

Learning to Use Herbs and Spices: Soups for the Family
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Herbs and Spices for SoupsSoups are something that I never seem to make the same twice. I'm always throwing in a new herb, or trying out a blend I think will enhance the flavor. The following recipes are no exception.

Think of them as a base, but change according to what's in your garden or pantry. Each family, especially if you have kids at home, also has things that are loved or hated-you know best what everyone's tastes are, so cook accordingly.

Lentil Herb Soup


1 Tbsp. olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup carrots, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups white or yellow onion, chopped

8 cups water

3 cups beef broth, (canned or homemade)

2 cups uncooked lentils, rinsed and drained

14 1/2 ounce can stewed tomatoes

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground

10 ounces frozen spinach, chopped, thawed

1/2 tsp. dried mint leaves, (optional)

In a large, deep pan, heat the olive oil and sauté garlic, carrots and onions for about 5 minutes, until just softened. Add the water, broth and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 45 minutes until the lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. Process the stewed tomatoes in a blender or food processor til chopped-as fine or course as your family prefers. Add the tomatoes and juice along with the herbs and seasonings. Stir and add the spinach and simmer uncovered for another 15-20 minutes.

Herbal Split Pea Soup


1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. finely minced garlic

2 cups chopped onions

1 tsp. each dried basil, oregano and rosemary-crumbled

1 tsp. whole fennel seeds

1 bay leaf

2 large carrots, diced

2 large celery ribs, diced

6 cups boiling water

2 cups dried green split peas, picked over and rinsed

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large pan or Dutch oven. Add the garlic and sauté over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until brown. Add the onions and continue to cook for 1 minute. Add in herbs, carrots, celery, water and split peas. Simmer for 45-60 minutes until the split peas are tender. Stir in salt and pepper to taste, and the minced parsley. Notes: You can add chopped ham at the same time as the vegetables-one or two cups. If you have leftover ham broth or gravy you can also add that. Remove bay leaf before serving.

White Bean and Herb Soup


2 15 ounce cans navy or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

1 cup diced carrots

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary or 1/4 tsp. dried

7 cups chicken stock

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1 tablespoon red wine or herbal vinegar (any basil blend)

1 green pepper, diced

salt and ground black pepper to taste

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions, and carrots for about 10-12 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic and rosemary and continue to cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the beans and stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the green pepper, parsley, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside. Remove beans from heat, cool slightly. I like serving as is, but you can puree about a third of the beans and add back to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls. Place a spoonful of the oil and vinegar mixture in the center of each bowl. Serve immediately.

Julienne Vegetable Soup


1/2 cup julienne carrots (thinly sliced sticks)

1/2 cup julienne turnips

1 stalk celery, minced

1/2 small onion, minced

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

1 cup shredded potato

1 tomato, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth-canned

3 cups water

minced fresh parsley

minced chives or green onion if they aren't available

Salt and pepper to taste

Place all vegetables, except the potato, into a pan with the butter and 1 teaspoon salt, and allow them to cook in the olive oil, covered over a low heat for about 10-15 minutes. Stir and check often. Add the shredded potato, the tomato and peas, the broth, and water with salt and pepper to taste. Boil gently until all the vegetables are tender. Add chopped parsley and chives, then serve. You can add shredded cooked chicken or turkey if you wish to this, or other vegetables that are thinly sliced or minced.

Image: Wikimedia.org


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.


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