As temperatures drop and the days grow shorter, we turn to feel-good foods and habits to bring warmth back into our lives. One of the most comforting winter warm-ups is a steaming bowl of homemade soup, preferably by the fire with a cozy blanket and friends or loved ones. While it’s up to you to set your perfect winter scenario, we have some excellent wintertime soup recipes to warm you from the inside out during the coldest time of the year.
Wild Rice Soup
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 4 carrots, sliced
- 2 celery sticks, sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
- 3 cups cooked wild rice
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup dry sherry
Heat a large stockpot over medium low heat and fry bacon until crisp (about 5 minutes). Remove bacon from pan and set aside.
In the bacon fat, sauté onions, carrots, celery, salt, and pepper until tender and translucent (about 7-8 minutes). Add mushrooms and cook an additional 5 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and raise heat to bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Uncover pot and stir in chicken and wild rice. Cook until heated through (about 5 minutes). Stir in heavy cream and sherry and simmer for 5 minutes.
Ladle into bowls and top with crispy bacon.
French Onion Guinness Soup
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 3 large, sweet yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 sprig thyme, stems removed and leaves chopped
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 cups low sodium beef broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 11-ounce bottle Guinness (or other stout beer)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 4 ounces aged Irish Cheddar, grated
- 2 small whole wheat dinner rolls, cut in half lengthwise
Heat a large stockpot over high heat. Add oil and onions. Add garlic, thyme, brown sugar, and salt. Stir and reduce to medium heat. Cook 20-25 minutes, stirring often until the onions begin to brown.
Add beef broth, Guinness, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes until onions are very soft and begin to break apart.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toast bread in oven for 4-5 minutes until it browns lightly. Divide soup into oven-safe bowls and place them on a baking sheet. Place the bread slices on top of the soup and sprinkle cheese evenly over them. Bake 10-12 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and brown. Serve immediately.
Baked Winter Squash Soup
- 2 acorn squash (about 2 pounds each)
- 2 butternut squash (about 2 pounds each)
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 teaspoons dark brown sugar
- 3 carrots, peeled and halved
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 10 cups chicken stock
- ¾ teaspoon ground mace
- ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Crème fraîche and fresh chives for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the four squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place squash halves, skin side down, in shallow roasting pan. Place 1 tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar in the cavity of each squash half. Arrange carrots and onions in roasting pan around squash. Pour 2 cups of stock in the pan. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 2 hours.
Remove pan from oven and allow vegetables to slightly cool. Scoop squash pulp out of the skins and place in a large soup pot. Add carrots, onions, and cooking liquid. Add remaining 8 cups chicken stock, mace, ginger, cayenne, and salt. Bring to a boil and stir well. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Puree soup in blender or food processor until smooth. Return to pot and heat through. Serve with dollop of crème fraîche and sprinkle with chives.
Cheesy Vegetable Chowder
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup diced celery
- ½ cup diced onion
- ½ cup diced carrots
- 1 cup broccoli
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- ½ cup butter
- 2/3 cup flour
- 4 cups milk
- 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
In a large stockpot over medium heat, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter. Add celery, onion, and carrot and cook until softened (about 5-7 minutes). Add broccoli and broth and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
In another pan, melt the ½ cup butter. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk. Cook until thickened (about 8 minutes), stirring to prevent burning. Add to vegetable pot.
Stir in shredded cheddar cheese and cook until melted.
Split Pea Soup
- 2 cups split peas
- 8 cups water
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- A few sprigs of thyme and parsley and a bay leaf tied into a bundle with cheesecloth and string.
- 1 ham hock
- salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients into a large stockpot over high heat. Cover the pot and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 1 ½ hours or until split peas are tender and broth is silky.
Remove ham hock and slice into shards with fork and knife (discard fat and skin). If you prefer a smooth soup, before returning ham to soup, puree soup with an immersion blender or in a conventional blender or food processor (remove thyme bundle first). Return soup and ham to pot. Heat thoroughly and adjust seasoning to taste.
What is your favorite winter soup recipe or winter soup-eating tradition? Let us know in the comment section below.