A few Soupy ideas

A few weeks back the mom of one of my students asked me for soup recipes that are dairy free. This is the time of year when we all need to have a soup recipe or two ready to go, so here are some of my favorites:

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First up is a recipe from my mother-in-law. She gave all of her kids/in-laws a family cookbook years ago. It's a white binder with recipes inside page protectors. Many of those page protectors are now splashed with food- especially the pizza page! So this is a spicey sausage soup. The name of the recipe is

Spicy Sausage Soup

2 lbs bulk spicy sausage*

1- 28 oz can + 1- 15 oz can diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 Tablespoons minced garlic

4 cups diced potatoes

3- 16 oz cans small red beans

1 quart water

2 large onions, diced

1 large green pepper, diced

*(I like to buy the bulk sausage from Central Market in Shoreline. I get half Spicy and half Sweet Italian. I use it in lots of pasta dishes too)

Instructions: In a large pot brown the sausage. Add onions and peppers. Cook until soft. Add garlic. Cook 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 20-30 minutes. 

This soup is fast and super easy. You can make tons of substitutions. Add macaroni noodles instead of potatoes, add a different kind of bean, use a different kind of sausage. Leave out the green pepper, use beef or vegetable stock instead of water. It's also the kind of thing that's great to make ahead and reheat. It just tastes better the next day! Also, this recipe makes a very large pot of soup. Half the recipe if you're making for a small group, or if you don't want to eat it over and over again!

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My next suggestion is Tyler Florence's Mexican Tortilla Chicken Soup. This recipe includes instructions for making your own chicken stock. If you're not up for making your own stock, there are plenty of good stocks available for sale. (Just don't use boullion cubes!) This is a great way to use up the left over chicken from a rotissery chicken! If you don't have a rotissery chicken and you're not going to make the stock I would recommend roasting 2 chicken breasts (skin on, bone in will give you the best tasting meat) ahead of time. 

The best thing about this soup is the array of toppings you can add in! While you can use corn chips instead of frying your own tortilla strips, I would say this step is absolutely worth the extra time! I buy small corn tortillas, slice them very thin and then fry them and pile them high in my bowl of soup. I also love to dice up a ripe avocado and put that in my soup bowl as well. Other add ins are shredded cheese and sour cream (unless you don't eat dairy), cilantro and a squeeze of lime. 

Give these a try and tell me what you think!