A Soup-er Idea (PDF Recipe included)Written by Glynis Neves
Family gatherings are big in my family! We will find any excuse to get together. It has kept us close as a family. We've seen our children grow up, get married and begin families of their own, and we've managed to keep everyone close.
Our latest B. F. F. (Big Family Feast)
Theme dinners are some of our get-together favorites. Over the years we've had nacho bars, baked potato bars, casserole bars and dessert bars. All have been fun! When you have such a large family, there tends to be lots of variety. Just last month we had a soup bar that became an instant favorite.
We were all together for a B.F.F. (Big Family Feast) to celebrate a niece who was heading to Japan for 18 months on a mission for our church. As we all gathered, we placed our soup pots on the counter (along with warm bread, since who can eat soup without a warm roll or breadstick for dipping?), and couldn't wait to dive in!
The counter was laden with steaming pots! From chili to chicken noodle; from split pea to ham and bean, there was something for even the pickiest palate. I was excited to have the family try my pot. 12 years ago, when I had my twin girls, my sister brought a pot of this soup over for our family. It became a family favorite. However, because it is a tad labor intensive, I don't make it often. When I do, I invariably hear, "why don't you make this more often?" from the rest of my family. Over the years we've had it quite a few times, and my son has dubbed it "Liquid Love." I'm pleased to say that it was well-received by the rest of the family as well.
3 C. whole tomatoes with their juice (I use one of the large cans)
1/4 C. vegetable oil
1 C. each finely diced celery, onion and carrots
4 Tbsp. fresh basil (1 Tbsp. dried)
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano (1 tsp. dried)
1/2 bay leaf
4 C. chicken stock
1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. butter
2 C. warmed half and half
1 C. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
Puree tomatoes and juice. Set aside. Heat oil in a 4-quart pot. Add celery, onions and carrots. Saute for 5 minutes. Add basil, oregano and bay leaf. Add tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender, approximately 15 minutes.
While soup simmers, prepare a roux: melt butter in a skillet over low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly 5 to 7 minutes. Slowly stir 1 cup hot soup into roux. Atirring constantly, add another 3 cups soup and stir until smooth. Immediately add roux back into the soup pot. Simmer, stirring constantly, until soup begins to thicken.
In a separate saucepan warm the half and half, set aside. Add parmesan cheese to the soup and stir to blend. Stir in the warm half and half. Add salt. Simmer soup 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to blend the half and half and cheese into soup as soup thickens.
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