3 Savory, Souped-up Soups and Stews to Stave off Winter’s Chill

The days are starting to get a little longer, so at last it’s starting to feel like we’re turning a wintery corner. However, record snowfalls are still very much in evidence, so for the next few weeks, I’ll be making my favorite winter soups and stews to keep warm and nourished. But not just any soup or stew will do. Mine have to meet this essential criterion: they have to be “souped-up” with lots of veggies so each bowl is filled with nutrition and healthy belly-filling fiber.

Here’s how to do it: 
•    Set aside an hour or two on the weekend to make-ahead two or three big pots of soup or stew. 
•    Grab a friend, significant other or older children and put them to work as your sous chefs, washing and chopping veggies. 
•    Have a selection of containers (ideally, tempered glass) and airtight lids standing by so you decant your work into individual portions and freeze after cooling. 
•    In the morning, take a portion or two out of the freezer and transfer the fridge to defrost and cut re-heating time when you get home. 

Though I don’t like to play favorites when it comes to soups and stews – I love them all – here are three that I find myself making all winter long for friends and family: 

Turkey Burger Vegetable Soup
Prep Time: 15 minutes 
Cook Time: 30 minutes 
Serves: 8 (1 1/2 cups per serving)

3 cups water 
1 yellow bell pepper, diced 
1 red bell pepper, diced 
1 green bell pepper, diced 
4 carrots, diced 
1 small fennel bulb, diced 
2 pounds lean ground turkey 
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes 
5 red or purple potatoes, diced into 1-inch cubes 
2 cups shredded green cabbage 
3 tablespoons tomato paste 
1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes 
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Step 1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add 1 cup of the water. Add the peppers, carrots and fennel and cook for about 5 minutes, until al dente.
Step 2. Add the ground turkey to the vegetables and cook for about 8 minutes, until the turkey is no longer pink.
Step 3. Add the remaining 2 cups of water, the tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, tomato paste, salt, pepper, parsley, oregano and cayenne. Stir to combine, and then bring to a boil.
Step 4. Reduce the heat to low, then cover the pot and simmer the soup for 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender but not mushy. 

Lauren’s Lentil Soup
Prep Time: 15 minutes 
Cook Time: 45 minutes 
Serves: 8 (1 1/2 cups per serving)

2 cups dried lentils 
9 cups water 
1 onion, diced 
1/2 fennel bulb, diced 
2 large carrots, diced 
2 stalks celery, diced 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano 
2 teaspoons garam masala 
1 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes 
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar 
2 cups chopped fresh spinach or 1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and drained 
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Step 1. Rinse the lentils under running water and pick through them to remove any bits of soil or rocks.
Step 2. In an 8-quart stockpot over medium-high heat, add 1 cup of the water. Add the onion, fennel, carrots, and celery and cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. 
Step 3. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, oregano and garam masala and cook for 2 minutes. 
Step 4. Stir in remaining 8 cups of water, the lentils and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add the vinegar. Simmer for about 35  minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Remove and discard the bay leaf. 
Step 5. Add the spinach and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. 
Step 6. Add a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste. 

Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Prep Time: 10 minutes 
Cook Time: 4 to 12 hours, depending on the heat setting 
Serves: 4

1 pound grass-fed tenderloin or sirloin beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium onion, diced 
2 sweet potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch cubes 
4 carrots cut into 1-inch cubes
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium parsnip, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup sliced Portobello mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced 
1 tablespoon gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
2 bay leaves or 1 teaspoon crushed bay leaf 
2 teaspoons dried rosemary 
2 teaspoons dried parsley 
2 1/2 cups cold water

Step 1. Place all of the ingredients in a slow cooker.
Step 2. Cook for 10 to 12 hours on low or 4 to 6 hours on high.

Kathie SwiftComment