Readers’ Choice: Five fabulous soups

Mmm. Nothing says comfort like a hot bowl of soup. Whether it’s the start to a great meal or the main attraction, there are many ways to tempt your taste buds.

Look for something new? Simmer up one of these reader favourites from the archives.

Southwest Chicken Lime Soup

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 cups homemade or sodium-reduced chicken broth
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
4 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin slivers
1 small avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1/4 cup sliced green onion tops
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander
1 cup baked tortilla chips
salt and freshly ground pepper
hot sauce, optional

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Add chicken broth, lime juice, cumin oregano and chicken; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Place avocado, green onion, coriander and tortilla chips in soup bowls. Ladle soup over chips and add a dash of hot sauce, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

(Submitted by reader JSC788)

French Chicken Vegetable Soup

1/2 cup each diced: onions, carrots, celery, turnips, baking potato, leek (white part only), and tomato (fresh or canned)
6 oz. chicken breast cut in cubes (optional)
4 cups vegetable broth (No added salt)
1/2 cup dry spaghetti broken into 1 inch lengths
1 15 oz. can navy beans
1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt (optional) & pepper

In a large pot combine vegetables, chicken and broth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes.

Add spaghetti and 1 cup beans with their liquid. Cover and simmer until spaghetti is soft, about 10 minutes.

Combine the remaining beans and their liquid with the basil and garlic in a food processor and puree until smooth. Add the puree to the soup and stir until blended.

Heat, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Calories 233, Fat 2.5 g, Carbs 36 g, Sodium 186 mg (with no added salt), Fiber 0 g.
Points 5.

(Submitted by reader JSC788)

Mediterranean Grilled Vegetable Soup

2 small zucchini (1/2 lb. total), trimmed and quartered lengthwise
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and quartered lengthwise
3 large vine-ripened tomatoes (1 1/4 lbs.), cored and chopped
1 red onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and quartered lengthwise
1 tsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 cup shredded basil leaves
1 Tbsp. red-wine vinegar
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Prepare a grill or preheat the broiler. Grill or broil bell peppers, skin-side toward the flame, until the skin is blackened, 5 to 10 minutes. Place in a paper bag and set aside for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, brush zucchini and onion slices with oil and grill or broil until well browned and tender, about 5 minutes. Chop coarsely and set aside.

Peel the peppers. Coarsely chop the yellow pepper and set aside with the reserved zucchini and onions.

Place the red peppers in a food processor or blender along with tomatoes, garlic and oregano; puree until smooth.

Transfer to a bowl and stir in 1 cup water, basil, vinegar and the reserved chopped vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.

Cover and refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes. (The soup can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.)

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

(Submitted by reader JSC788)

Onion-Barley Soup

3 lbs. beef short ribs
6 cups of water
3 tsp. salt
2 bay leaves
2 cans (28 oz. each) tomatoes
3 large Spanish onions, chopped
1/2 cup pearl barley
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 lb. green beans (1″ pieces) or a 12oz. pkg. frozen cut beans

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large soup kettle. Bring to boil and skim off foam. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until meat is tender. Approx. 2 1/2 hours.

Strain ribs, saving liquid. Discard bay leaves. Return liquid to kettle and add all ingredients, except ribs and green beans. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 min.

In the meantime, discard bones and any skin and membrane from ribs. Cut meat into small chunks and refrigerate.

Add beans to soup and simmer until tender, about another 30 min. Cool soup, chill, then lift off and discard any fat on top. Return meat to soup, heat over medium heat to just boiling and serve.

(Submitted by reader wilsy)

Creamy Fennel-Potato Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium fennel bulbs
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 3/4 cups low-fat 1% milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
croutons (optional)

Wash fennel. Snip 2 tablespoons of the leafy tops; set aside. Cut off and discard upper stalks of fennel. Remove any wilted outer layers; cut off and discard a thin slice from the base of fennel. Halve, core and chop fennel bulbs.

In a 4-quart Dutch oven, heat olive oil and chopped fennel over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add potatoes and broth. Bring to boiling; reduce heat.

Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Mash slightly using a potato masher. Add milk, salt, pepper and caraway seeds. Heat through.

Stir in 2 tablespoons of snipped fennel tops. To serve, sprinkle individual servings with Parmesan cheese. If desired, serve with croutons.

Makes 4 servings.

(Submitted by reader JSC788)

Photo © Juanmonino

More warming soups:
Quebec Pea Soup with Garlicky Croutons
Onion Soup with Beer
The ultimate comfort food: slow-cooked soups
Vietnamese Beef and Mushroom Soup
Leek and Potato Soup

Plus see what else is cooking in our in recipes archive.