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January 2004 Issue
Soup's On
by Ronda L. Halpin
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I love soup. Nothing is more effective in helping take away a chill. It seems to warm you from the inside out and even my toes seem toastier after a piping hot bowl. And when it comes to soup, it's not hard to make me smile. I love everything from pumpkin bisque to chicken noodle soup to french onion soup. I even love the traditional accompaniments to soup -- various breads and salads. So you'll find it no surprise that this month's topic is devoted to soup, soup, beautiful soup!!!

Instead of diving into a variety of traditional soup recipes, I thought I'd take us off the beaten path to look at a few recipes that are among my favorite and really offer a splendid variety for this time of the year. What's even better is that each can be made in about 30 minutes ... that means that soup is no longer something that needs to simmer for hours. It can be a mid-week meal!

We start with a simple beef broth soup that is speckled with red peppers and mushrooms. I love the combination and the result is a satisfying bowl of soup that has an Asian influence and pairs beautifully with many favorite Asian appetizers and little bites. The beef broth brings a deep, savory flavor to the mix, but you could also use a vegetable broth or, better yet, a mushroom broth if you are looking for a vegetarian version of this soup. When I make this soup, I usually double the recipe and ladle out a bowl for lunch and have a simple cucumber and red onion salad with rice wine vinegar dressing alongside. If I've got a lunch companion, we might share an egg roll or two as well. It's a lovely way to take a break.


Mushroom-Pepper Soup

This simple Asian-inspired soup is a delightful first course or, paired with some warm egg rolls, makes a creative and satisfying lunch.
  • 8 oz. mushrooms -- choose your favorite variety or, better yet, use a variety
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic -- minced
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. butter
  • 3 (14 oz.) cans beef broth
  • 1 T. teriyaki sauce -- choose your favorite variety
Slice the mushrooms into bite-sized pieces and dice the red pepper. Sauté the mushrooms, pepper and garlic over medium-high heat in the olive oil. Near the end of the cooking, add the butter and mix to flavor the vegetables. Add the beef broth and teriyaki sauce and heat to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes before serving.
  • Yields: 6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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