To me there are few things better than a hearty bowl of homemade soup. Such soup steams comfort and reassurance after the day’s tribulations, and it provides consolation and companionship like no other food. In deep winter, this is exactly the Rx for cabin fever, achy joints or a broken heart.
After clearing out mystery blocks of food in my freezer (leftovers from the holidays) I found some pretty good stuff to work with. Roasted butternut squash, cooked turkey meat, chicken stock and puree of parsnip. Hum. I started my soup dance and surprised my family with a comfort soup that easily doubles as the base for a healthy turkey pot pie.
Try to use homemade chicken stock if at all possible– it is rich in magnesium, calcium, and many trace minerals that are easy for the body to absorb. The gelatin promotes healthy cartilage and supports the connective tissue that fights joint disease.
I served the soup with toasted honey-oat gluten-free bread from Barre’s Vermont Gluten Free Bakery. It is so delicious that regular bread-eaters will enjoy it, too; it has a biscuit-like quality that beautifully complements the creamy soup.
Turkey Pot Soup
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pot. Add 1 large chopped onion and sauté on medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Deglaze with 1/2 cup of sherry and scrape up the brown bits on the pot’s bottom with a wooden spoon. Add 6 cups of homemade chicken stock, 2 cups chopped carrots and 2 cups chopped celery. Simmer 10 minutes.
Fill another pan with 5 chopped potatoes (skin on), barely cover with water, and simmer for 25 minutes. Add 4 tablespoons butter and salt & pepper to taste. Gently smash the potatoes with a potato masher until slightly lumpy. Add the potatoes and liquids to the soup pot.
Rough chop 4 cups cooked turkey or chicken meat. Add to soup pot. (I added 1 cup butternut squash and 1 cup of parsnip puree here, but this step is optional.) Simmer the batch for 10 minutes. Add 2 cups frozen peas. Adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Serves 12, or more.
Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three twenty-something daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.