Five Fall Soups for Vegetarians (and Everyone Else)

Here at the Chophouse we like to cook. Whether it’s something as simple as putting together a good sandwich or as complicated as laying out a four course dinner for six, we do more high quality home cooking than the average bachelor.

When the Fall rolls around, we really kick it into high gear. Once the weather turns cool we don’t mind putting in the time and work to stand over the stove for dishes like risottos, squash casseroles, and giant batches of chili and gumbo. But above all, around here Fall means soup.

We follow a pretty regular pattern with soup production; go to the Waverly Farmers’ Market and get a ton of veggies, save the stems, ends and stalks in a bowl in the freezer, boil off a pot of stock, make a batch of soup, eat most of it and freeze a quart or two. In this way we’re making a new homemade soup about every 10 days, and filling our freezer to keep it stocked for the Winter.

A visual approximation of the Chop in Autumn.

With Hurricane Sandy blowing through and making everything wet and miserable, everyone around here is basically stuck inside for most of the week. Many Marylanders are cooking up a storm in their own kitchens, and using the storm as an excuse to hit the fridge harder than the gym. So today seems like the perfect time to share five of our favorite fall soups.

Now, these are not our recipes. The Chop is a strict no-recipe cook, and bothering to sit down and write 5 recipes for a blog post is just not something we’re willing to do. if you ask us how to make something we can only give you a crude ingredients list and say ‘What? You don’t know how to cook?” So while these are all soups that we make and eat, the recipes are culled from across the Web. We’re just going to link to them and add our comments.

Potato Leek Soup This recipe is adapted from Julia Child’s recipe in The Art of French Cooking. It calls for an immersion blender, but you don’t actually need one of those. if you cut your potatoes small enough and cook them long enough they’ll become all starchy and melty and golden and delicious. The leeks will all but disappear. You also don’t need creme fraiche.

Butternut Squash Soup This one can be a lot of hassle, but it’s very much worth it. The technique described in the recipe will work, but we think it’s easier to make a squash paste and go from there than to try to put hot soup through a blender. We’d also add allspice and a bit of nutmeg.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup We make bigger pots of soup than this but the technique here is a good one. Making a cheese sauce in a separate pot allows you to see a little better what you’re working with and be a little more careful (because butter and cheese can break pretty easily). She says not to use pre-shredded cheddar and that is good advice. Buy good quality sharp cheddar and grate it yourself by hand.

Roasted Red Pepper and Chickpea We couldn’t find anything very close to our recipe but this one is pretty good. At least it talks about roasting peppers. This is also a labor-intensive soup as it involves roasting peppers and chickpeas, peeling their skins, making pepper paste and in our case ‘cracking’ the garbanzos. We also dispense with yogurt or any dairy and add a can of tomato paste.

Corn Chowder This is very close to our recipe. We can vouch for its deliciousness. Also might be the easiest soup on this list to make. You can use canned corn if you like. You may even prefer the taste of it.

Soup making is a topic that could easily encompass its own blog, and we’re sure there are probably any number of blogs out there devoted entirely to soup. These are five of our favorites, but that’s the trouble with the ol’ top five post: it leaves no room for black bean soup, veggie chili, cream of mushroom, tomato basil, wild mushroom and barley, carrot ginger, pumpkin harvest, minestrone, etc etc etc.