The thought of hot and hearty soup can bring up notions of time gone by. Memories of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches just perfect for dunking, or homemade chicken soup made with love for that cold and stuffy nose. Well, those memories are well founded as history tells us that soup was once sold by street vendors in France, commonly referred to as ‘restaurants’ (meaning restoring) as an antidote to physical exhaustion. In fact, in the mid-1700s a Parisian entrepreneur started a business specializing in the sale of soup and prompted the modern version of the word ‘restaurant’ as the eateries we know today.
Soup can take many forms – hot or warm, cold or cool; clear soups known as bouillon, stock or consomme; and thick soups classified by the type of thickening agents such as purees (starch), bisques (pureed shellfish), and creams (cream, eggs, butter). Most often we think of soups as meat or vegetable based, but there are also fruit soups, dessert soups, and pulse soups (the edible seed from a legume plant) like split pea.
“I love working with students to create variations to these classic varieties. We define “Bisque” as a thick soup made from blended ingredients to create a smooth texture and creamy consistency. One of my favorite ingredients for ultimate creaminess is a cashew cream base, made simply with raw cashews soaked in water and blended into a sour cream texture. Students learn they can layer flavors with unique ingredients such as mushroom powder, marmite, liquid smoke, or kombu ( Dried kelp ) so their dishes don’t lack the strong umami flavor impact that generally comes from an animal product.”
McKenzie Johnson, Escoffier Online Plant-Based Culinary Arts Instructor
As we make our way through another cold January, we love taking full advantage of the vast array of soups. After all, it is the perfect time, being that January is National Soup Month. Some of the Escoffier chef instructors have even shared their favorite recipes so that you too can indulge in the warmth and seemingly healing powers of a comforting soup.
We hope you enjoy our recipes below for Tuscan Soup (based on the popular Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana) and Roasted Vegetable Soup with Goat Cheese Custard.
Online Baking & Pastry Arts Instructor Chef Nicole Lourie
“This soup is also known as Zuppa Toscana if you find yourself at an Olive Garden. Growing up it was my Noni’s favorite soup. She was a wonderfully talented Sicilian home cook and every now and again she would make it herself if going out seemed like a hassle. The recipe I make isn’t one that was passed down, since I don’t really recall her making this when I was a teen, and she was notorious for not writing anything down. It’s a favorite at home though, my sister always enjoys that I make it when the weather gets colder. I love making it because it takes me back to being a kid when my Noni was still with me and reminds me of why I fell in love with cooking in the first place.”
Chef Nicole Lourie
Soup Base: Chicken
Favorite Soup Characteristic: The potatoes are my favorite part, the texture is nice and soft and they’ve taken on so much flavor from cooking in the stock. The Italian sausage is the next favorite though, with such a great flavor and spice!
Serving Suggestions: Make sure you cut the kale up small enough to make spooning the soup easy. If the kale is too large, serving and eating can be a little difficult.
Chef Nicole’s Personal Notes: I make this recipe the way I feel is closest to what I know and love, but like with anything, you can change it up to make it yours.
- 8oz Bacon
- 1lb Hot Italian Sausage
- 10 cloves Garlic
- 1 ea Medium Yellow Onion
- 6 cups Chicken Stock
- 4 cups Water
- 5 ea Russet Potatoes
- 1 bundle Kale
- 1.5 cups Heavy Cream
- Red Pepper Flake to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Slice bacon into ½ inch pieces
- Remove any casing from sausage
- Wash potatoes and cut into ½ inch cubes (leave skins on)
- Mince garlic
- Dice onion
- Wash kale, remove from stems, rough chop
- In a large Dutch oven cook bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally to render the fat. Once the bacon is crispy, remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the sausage to the pan, breaking it down into chunks until cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside to drain any excess fat.
- Add potatoes, garlic, and onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally until the potatoes have softened slightly. Season with salt and pepper.
- Deglaze the pan with water to get the fond off the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock and increase the heat to high until it reaches a boil. Reduce heat to medium/low and allow the potatoes to simmer for 10-12 minutes until tender. Potatoes may finish sooner depending on size, don’t be afraid to check early so they don’t fall apart.
- Add meats back into the soup along with the heavy cream and kale. Simmer for 5 minutes to ensure the kale is cooked through. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to your heat liking.
- Serve with fresh cracked pepper or parmesan cheese. Garlic bread makes an excellent addition as well to enjoy every last drop of this soup.
Roasted Vegetable Soup Recipe with Goat Cheese Custard
Online Culinary Arts Instructor Chef Eric Jenkins
“I actually created this soup by accident while training for a culinary competition. One of my teammates roasted too many vegetables for one of his dishes, so we were going to use the leftover vegetables as lunch. I made Goat Cheese and Mushroom Custards for an appetizer platter and had a few left over while I was thinking about first courses for my Chef of the Year competition. During my practice run, I was given an unclarified chicken consommé to create my soup with. I spent way too much time on my entrée and dessert and had about 10 minutes to get my soup done and plated. I started heating up the consommé and realized that it would take too much time trying to clarify it, so I saw the vegetables, took them and the consommé added them to the Robot Coupe and pureed them into a nice smooth vegetable soup. Realizing I needed another component for the soup and did not have enough time to make crackers, I remembered the custards! I placed a couple of them in a steamer basket, heated them up, and added one to the soup. My practice judges raved about the soup, so I knew that I had to recreate it at the competition. At the competition, my mystery basket included veal stock and from there this final recipe was created. I placed second in the Chef of the Year competition and one of the judges stated that my soup was the best he’s tasted at a competition. I’ve tweaked it over the years trying different vegetables, but I always end up coming back to the original recipe.”
Chef Eric Jenkins
Soup Base: Other
Favorite Soup Characteristic: The aroma is phenomenal, but you have to make a superbly rich veal stock for this soup to come out perfect. The combination of the soup and the custard makes this a perfect dish.
Serving Suggestions: Serve hot and time the baking of your custards with the cooking of the soup.
Chef Eric’s Personal Notes: Sometimes leftovers create the best soup…
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings
- 4 cloves garlic
- 7 rainbow carrots, peeled and cubed
- 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into six pieces
- 1 large zucchini, diced (set aside)
- 1 large yellow squash, diced (set aside)
- 4 Roma tomatoes, cut in half roasted separately
- 1 ea Large red and orange bell pepper, cut in half, roasted separately
- 6 cups Veal, Vegetable, or Chicken stock (2 cups reserved for thinning soup if necessary) –Recipe below
- ¼ tsp cayenne Pepper
- Sea salt to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Olive Oil (roughly 3 tablespoons)
- Goat cheese custard – Recipe below
Brown Veal Stock
makes 3 Quarts
- 8 lb. Veal Bones (cracked)
- 3 Carrots, chopped
- 3 Onions, chopped
- 3 stalks Celery, chopped
- 2 tbsp. Tomato Paste
- 2 cups White Wine or Water
- 2 Plum Tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic, peeled
- 2 dried Bay Leaves
- 10 Black Peppercorns
- 3 sprigs Parsley
- 16 cups water
- Preheat oven to 400°. Place veal bones in a large roasting pan. Roast bones until they begin to brown, 1-1 1?2 hours, then add carrots, onions, celery, and tomato paste. Mix well and continue roasting until vegetables and bones are well browned about 40 minutes.
- Place a roasting pan on top of the stove and transfer bones and vegetables to a large stockpot. Heat a roasting pan over medium-high heat, add wine or water, then scrape up browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Simmer for about 1 minute, then add deglazing liquid to the stockpot.
- Add tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, parsley, and 16 cups of water. Simmer over medium heat, skimming occasionally, for 3 hours.
- Strain stock, chill, and skim off fat. Stock can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 6 months.
Goat Cheese Custard
- 3 ½ fl oz Milk
- 3 ½ fl oz Heavy Cream
- 3/4 oz Sugar
- 5 oz Eggs
- 4 oz Goat Cheese, in pieces
- 3 oz Sauteed Mushrooms, chopped
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Warm the milk and cream and half of the sugar on the stovetop and remove from the heat.
- Combine the eggs and the remaining sugar. Temper by gradually adding about one-third of the hot milk and cream, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add the remaining hot milk and cream.
- Strain and divide into silicone molds.
- Divide the goat cheese and mushrooms evenly between the custards. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the filling is set.
- Cool at room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place the rack in the upper third of the oven.
- Peel and cut fresh vegetables. Place all vegetables (except zucchini) onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or a silpat. Drizzle vegetables with olive oil, and toss. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, toss again. Set the oven timer for 40 minutes. When the timer goes off, sprinkle the diced zucchini across the roasting veggies on the cookie sheet and roast for ten more minutes.
- Remove veggies from the oven. Leaving vegetables on the cookie sheet, use a spatula to divide veggies into three equal sections. Place 1/3 third of the veggies into a blender, add two cups stock, half the roasted tomatoes, and half of one roasted red & orange pepper. Blend until not quite smooth. Pour into a stock pot. Repeat (excluding the red & orange bell pepper) with another 1/3 of the vegetables, tomatoes, and stock. After blending the second batch, add to the pot. Place the last 1/3 of veggies on a cutting board and use a knife to dice. Add the diced vegetables to the blended soup in the pot and heat until warm. If the soup is too thick, use reserved stock to thin to desired consistency (a half cup at a time). Add Cayenne pepper, tasting after adding. Add salt and pepper to taste if needed, and serve in bowls with goat cheese custard.
Tom Kha Goong
Online Culinary Arts Instructor Chef Anthony Frazier
“I Love all soups but this soup is perfect on cold or hot days so it makes it more versatile… packed full of flavor and very filling! It doesn’t take long to make so it can be thrown together fairly last minute for a quick meal.”
Chef Anthony Frazier
Soup Base: Other
Favorite Soup Characteristic: The initial flavor is ginger and lemongrass heavy, but then the fat from the coconut milk almost erases that and allows for the curry and lime juice to shine.
- 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp. Ginger, grated
- 2″ stalk of Lemongrass, minced
- 1 tbsp. Red Curry Paste
- 1 qt. Chicken Stock
- 1 tbsp. Brown Sugar
- 3 tbsp. Fish Sauce
- 40 oz. Coconut Milk
- 1 lb. Mushrooms, sliced
- 1 lb. Shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3 tsp. Lime Juice
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add ginger, lemongrass, and curry paste, and whisk until fully incorporated.
- Add stock and whisk until fully blended.
- Add brown sugar and fish sauce. Whisk and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Add coconut milk and whisk until no clumps are visible.
- Add the mushrooms and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the shrimp and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Adjust the temperature to low, and add the lime juice. Taste again and adjust seasoning if needed.
Celeriac Puree with Apples and Walnuts
Boulder Campus Executive Chef Bob Scherner
“This is a soup version inspired by a Waldorf salad. I put it on my fall/winter menus although celery is underappreciated. Delicious on cold nights and a great Vegan option.”
Bob Scherner, Escoffier Boulder Campus Executive Chef
Soup Base: Vegetable
Favorite Soup Characteristic: I love the creaminess of this soup without adding cream, and the crunchy element of the garnish.
- 2# Celery Root (Celeriac) peeled, rinsed and large diced
- 2 qts + or – Vegetable stock made with 40% onion, 30% celery, 30% carrot
- 8 oz Onion
- 3 each Honey Crisp apples, peeled and large diced
- Whole butter or safflower oil as needed
- Heavy Cream to taste (optional)
- 8 oz Walnuts or Hazelnuts, toasted
- 2 Honey Crisp apples, peeled and small diced
- 3 each Celery stalks, small dice or brunoise, blanched
- Grated nutmeg to taste
- In a large soup pot, sweat onion in butter (or oil), add celery root and apples. and continue sweating.
- Add stock to 2″ over celeriac.
- Simmer to tender.
- Puree in a blender, in small batches, until smooth (blender should move freely) and pass through chinois back into a soup pot.
- Adjust consistency with stock, and add 1.5 cups tempered heavy cream, if desired.
- Season, to taste, with salt only (black pepper is unsightly)
- Present in soup dish garnished with walnuts, apple, celery, and nutmeg