Simple Soups for Autumn | WYPR

Simple Soups for Autumn

Oct 11, 2017

Credit Brittany Lindsey

Soup - a liquid dish, typically made by boiling meat, fish, or vegetables, etc., in stock or water  

That cool snap in the air is so welcome after a particularly hot summer.  And it may be my imagination but I think that cool air carries the aroma of cooking food in a way that puts a smile on my face.  This is the time for soup making, ideally a day-long process that puts a keen edge on your appetite. Here are some of Jerry and Chef Amy von Lange's ideas for simple soups.

New England Clam Chowder


  • 1 1/4 pound canned clams, minced, juices reserved
  • 2-3 cups bottled clam juice
  • 2 bacon slices, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled, diced
  • 3 cups heavy cream or half and half
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Tabasco sauce, to taste
  • Worcestershire sauce, to taste
  • Oyster or saltine crackers, as needed
  1. Drain the clam juice from the minced clams and combine with enough bottled juice to equal 3 cups of liquid.
  2. Cook the bacon slowly in a soup pot over medium heat until lightly crisp, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Whisk in the clam juice, bring to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The liquid should be the consistency of heavy cream. If it is too thick, add more clam juice to adjust the consistency. Add the potatoes and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, place the clams and cream in saucepan and simmer together until the clams are cooked, about 5-8 minutes.
  6. When the potatoes are tender, add the clams and cream to the soup base. Simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Season to taste with salt, pepper, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce. Serve in bowls with the crackers on the side.


French Onion Soup

(serves 6 to 8)

  • 6 large sweet onions, sliced into ¼ inch half moons
  • 4 cups good quality beef broth (see note below)
  • Large thick slices of baguette, toasted
  • 1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
  1. In a 2.5 qt. sauce pot, caramelize the onions over medium heat by allowing them to brown and continually scrapping that brown bits of onion off of the bottom of the pan with a heat proof rubber spatula.
  2. Once the onions are brown and fragrant, add the beef stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the soup for 30 minutes. Ladle the soup into oven proof bowls. Add toasted bread and cover with cheese. Place the bowls under the broiler until the cheese is brown and bubbling.
  3. A not on beef broth – you can buy this these days in the store but making your own is always better. The success of the soup relies heavily on the quality of the broth. If you buy beef broth in the store you can fortify it as follows:
  4. Cut the following into ½ inch dice – 1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 rib celery and 4 cloves of garlic. In a large sauce pan sauté the vegetables over medium high heat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until they are browning on the edges, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add 1 dry bay leaf, 4 sprigs fresh thyme, 10 whole black peppercorns and the store bought beef stock. Bring the liquid to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the broth and discard the solids.


Italian Tomato & Swiss Chard Soup


  • 3 cups whole canned tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • Chicken stock as needed
  • 10 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped into ¼ inch dice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb. Swiss chard, leaves removed from the stems, stems chopped into ¼ inch dice, leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Salt, crushed red pepper flakes and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  1. In a large sauté pan set over medium high, heat the oil until just smoking.
  2. Add the onions, Swiss chard stems and garlic and cook with constant stirring until the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes
  3. Add the lemon juice, zest and white wine and reduce the liquid until only about two tablespoons are left.
  4. Add the tomatoes and tomato juice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes with occasional stirring.
  5. Using the chicken stock, adjust the thickness of the soup to your liking.
  6. Add the Swiss chard leaves, season with salt, crushed red pepper flakes and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Serve with good extra virgin olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese.


Julia Child's Potato Leek Soup


  • 1 large or 2 small leeks, about 1 pound
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream


  1. Trim the green portions of the leek and, using 2 of the largest and longest leaves, make a bouquet garni by folding the 2 leaves around the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme.
  2. Tie into a package-shaped bundle with kitchen twine and set aside. (Alternately, tie 2 leek leaves, bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme together in a piece of cheesecloth.)
  3. Using a sharp knife, halve the white part of the leek lengthwise and rinse well under cold running water to rid the leek of any sand. Slice thinly crosswise and set aside.
  4. In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the bacon. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is very soft and has rendered most of its fat. Add the chopped leeks and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the reserved bouquet garni, chicken stock, potatoes, salt and white pepper, and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are falling apart and the soup is very flavorful.
  7. Remove the bouquet garni and, working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blender. (Alternately, if you own an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the pot.) Stir in the creme fraiche and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
  8. Serve immediately, with some of the snipped chives sprinkled over the top of each bowl of soup.


Chicken Noodle Soup


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 quarts chicken stock, recipe follows
  • Freshly made egg noodles, recipe follows
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Chicken Stock:

  • 5 lbs of chicken bones or scraps such as winglettes
  • 2 carrots, cut in large chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
  • 2 large white onions, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, halved
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Egg Noodles:

  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 yolks
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and thyme. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned.
  2. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Allow the soup to simmer for 30 minutes. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes until tender; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Chicken Stock:

  1. Place the chicken on two sheet trays and roast in a 400°F oven for 45 minutes or until a rich dark brown color. Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat.
  2. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours, partially covered.
  3. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.
  4. Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the chicken & vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.

Egg Noodles:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and work into a dough.
  2. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes.
  3. Cover with a clean, damp cloth and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
  4. Make the noodles either with a pasta machine or extruder according to the manufacturer’s directions. 

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