Welcome to 2022! Italian Wedding Soup was on the menu after seeing this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, IowaGirlEats. I had the ingredients on hand and needed to take a meal to my daughter after giving birth to my 5th grandbaby. Be careful that you don’t eat all for the tiny meatballs when they come out of the oven. They are delicious! Next time I would make a double or triple batch of the meatballs, so I would have them in the freezer when I want to make the soup. Serve with a hearty Italian bread.
Italian Wedding Soup
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced (~1 cup)
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced (~1 cup)
1 large shallot or small onion, chopped
salt and pepper
10 cups chicken stock
1 parmesan cheese wedge rind (optional)
3/4 cup dry gluten free orzo
3oz fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
For the Pork Meatballs (makes ~75 meatballs):
1/2 cup small-torn pieces of soft gluten free white bread (crusts removed first)
1/4 cup finely grated onion + juices
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, whisked
2 cloves garlic, microplaned, pressed, or finely minced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste
1lb ground pork (I used Italian Sausage)
For the Meatballs: Preheat oven to 400 degrees then line a half sheet pan with parchment paper or non stick sprayed foil. To a large bowl add torn bread and grated onion then mix to combine and let sit for 1 minute. Add parmesan cheese, egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper then stir to combine. Crumble ground pork over the top then use your hands to mix until just combined.
Use a teaspoon to portion meatballs out then gently roll in your hands and place on prepared baking sheet – meatballs can be very close together but not touching. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Set meatballs aside – can be done a few days ahead of time.
Meanwhile, heat extra virgin olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and shallot/onion, season with salt and pepper, then saute until the vegetables are tender, 8-10 minutes. If the vegetables are taking too long to soften, I like to add a glug of extra chicken broth to the pot then place a lid on top and let them steam for a few minutes.
Add chicken stock and parmesan cheese rind (if using) then turn heat up to high to bring liquid to a boil. Add pasta then turn heat down to medium-low and simmer until pasta is al dente, 20 minutes or so. Add cooked meatballs then stir to combine. Bring soup back up to a bubble (may need to turn heat up a touch) then add spinach and cook until wilted and tender, 2-3 minutes.
Whisk egg and parmesan cheese together very well in a small dish. Give the soup a couple of big stirs to get the liquid swirling in one direction then slowly stream in egg mixture. Continue to stir to create small threads of egg (NOTE: the eggs are NOT curdled, they are COOKED – like egg drop soup!) Taste then add more salt and/or pepper if desired. Let soup sit and thicken for 10-15 minutes before removing parmesan cheese rind, scooping into bowls, and serving.
Butternut Squash is a fall favorite. Roasting the squash for this delicious soup sounded amazing, and it was. I did not roast the Squash with bacon but chose to keep it a bit healthier, only adding bacon bits to the final product. It is delicious with goat cheese but I also tried it with shredded Monterey Jack (shown below) and it was equally as good. Think of this soup as a spoonful of autumn in your mouth. Yum!
Roasted Butternut Squash & Bacon Soup
1 butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut in 1-inch chunks
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 slices bacon, diced (I did not add bacon to the roasted squash)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 slices bacon, diced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 1/2 cups chicken stock, or more, to taste
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
Place butternut squash, onion, bell pepper and bacon in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Add olive oil and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Gently toss to combine.
Place into oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until butternut squash is tender, stirring at halftime.*
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add butternut squash mixture and thyme, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in chicken stock and puree with an immersion blender.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5-10 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add more chicken stock as needed until desired consistency is reached.
Serve immediately, garnished with bacon, goat cheese and chives, if desired.
Over the past year, I have tried several versions of Hungarian/Slovak/Czech Goulash. This recipe used pork and a lot of paprika and marjoram. At first I was hesitant to use that much spice but, trust me, it’s worth it. This flavorful Goulash soup is wonderful paired with a crusty bread.
1 ¼ lb. pork shoulder (you may substitute with beef or use half pork and half beef) into 1-inch cubes
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp. lard or cooking oil
2 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp. paprika
1/2 tbsp. ground caraway seeds
1 tbsp. marjoram
12 oz. potatoes
1 medium carrot diced
2 stalks of celery chopped
1 medium parsley root diced (I substituted 1 chopped red pepper)
1 large tomato chopped (I substituted a 16 oz. can diced tomatoes)
1.5 liter (or 4.2 cups) water
Salt and pepper
Heat oil or lard in a large pot and cook the onions until translucent.
Add the meat and fry until it is pale brown and sealed.
Add parsley, carrot, celeriac, paprika, marjoram tomato and simmer over low heat until the meat is half cooked. (I added garlic at this point vs. later
Add water and simmer gently for another 30-40 minutes.
Add potatoes and cook for further 10-20 minutes until the potatoes are cooked.
At the very end, add the crushed garlic and cook for another minutes.
Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper.
Cheeseburger Soup on a cold, Colorado day, hit the spot. I love soups and I love cheeseburgers…so what’s not to like?
I modified the recipe a bit and added green beans so there was something green in the soup. After eating it, I decided I will add broccoli next time for a Cheeseburger Broccoli Soup, combining another favorite.
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1-3/4 pounds (about 4 cups) cubed peeled potatoes
4 cups chicken broth (and I added 2 additional cups of water)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 to 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
Optional: Add frozen green beans or fresh broccoli when you add the potatoes
In a large soup pot, over medium heat, cook and crumble beef until no longer pink; drain and set aside.
In same saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Saute onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, potatoes, ground beef, and optional green beans or broccoli; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt remaining butter. Add flour; cook and stir until bubbly, 3-5 minutes. Add milk, slowly, to make a white sauce.
Add sauce to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to low. Stir in cheese, salt and pepper; cook until cheese melts. Remove from heat; blend in sour cream.
Czech and Slovak heritage is of great interest to me, given my Father’s family roots. Late 2020, I participated in ‘Czech & Slovak Christmas’ offered through Global Slovakia Academy. It was a wonderful class, offering education of the Slovak advent and holidays, celebrations and food.
One of the recipes shared was this Slovak Christmas Sauerkraut Soup. It is traditionally made for Christmas Eve. I was not willing to wait until next December to make the soup! The ingredients are things our ancestors would have had on hand: wild dried mushrooms, sauerkraut, smoked sausage, etc.
I love to tweek recipes and decided to add homemade egg noodles for the last hour of cooking and loved the addition. The soup was thick enough, so I chose not to add the flour and additional water. This is a hearty soup and great paired with a hearty roll or rye bread.
SLOVAK CHRISTMAS SAUERKRAUT SOUP
1 package (32 oz) sauerkraut
2 quarts chicken or beef broth
6 whole black peppercorns
4 bay leaves
2 cups of dried wild mushrooms
1 klobásaor chorizo (Note: I used Kielbasa)
½ cup pitted prunes
1 large onion chopped
3 tsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Optional: 2 tbsp plain flour and 1 cup water
Salt and pepper
Optional: I added homemade egg noodles to the soup about an hour before serving
If you are not keen on the sour flavor of the sauerkraut, you can wash it before proceeding with the recipe. However, we do recommend keeping it as it is – this is when it contains the most goodness and gives the iconic flavor and smell to the soup. Fry the onion in a large pot over medium heat. Traditionally, Christmas Eve dinner was strictly meat-free. Leave klobása out if you wish to stick with the tradition.
Place the sauerkraut, broth, peppercorns, bay leaves, salt and mushrooms into a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the sausage, prunes, and paprika. Lower the heat to gentle simmer and allow to cook for at least 2 hours. Our grandmas used to set the soup on lowest heat and keep it simmering until dinner time. It fills the entire house with quintessentially Slovak Christmas smell. (Note: I simmered the soup on low for 4 hours).
Remove the bay leaves from the soup and discard. Season to taste. Serve.
Hungarian Goulash is different from the Midwest Goulash I grew up with. The Midwest version was always elbow macaroni, hamburger, tomatoes and sometimes, cheese. I experienced the traditional version in a Hungarian restaurant in Denver and again in Eastern Europe. Goulash (Gulyasleves) is one of the national dishes of Hungary. It reminds me of our traditional Beef Stew, although not as thick as stew and uses different spices.
This recipe is an adapted version of the recipe from a tour guide, Food Tour Budapest. We had a marvelous tour of wonderful restaurants, meandering the streets of Budapest experiencing traditional food and drink in historic and unique restaurants. How I wish I could travel again and experience such a tour. Some day… In the meantime, I can recreate the food memories in my own kitchen.
2 tablespoons lard or cooking oil (I used Olive Oil)
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika; add a bit of spicy paprika if desired
1 pound cubed beef stew meat or pork shoulder
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons caraway seed
4 cups water (I added a bit more as the goulash cooked)
1 whole red pepper, chopped
1 whole tomato, peeled and chopped (or a can of tomatoes)
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, halved and sliced
1/2 cup chopped celery
Optional: small bits of pasta
Add the lard or oil to the stew pot.
Add onions to the hot lard or oil. Cook the onions until they are glossy and saucy.
Remove from the fire and add the paprika. Mix with the onion. Add a bit of water, to prevent from burning.
Add the meat cubes and put back on the fire. Sprinkle with salt and caraway seed. Add more or less, depending on your tastes
Add the chopped carrots and celery.
Once the meat has a bit of color, add water, chopped pepper and tomatoes. Lower heat to simmer and cover. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
After one and a half or two hours, check the meat. Add the chopped potatoes and cook through, about 20 minutes.
Add the pasta pieced (optional) when the potatoes are almost done.
Taste the broth and adjust seasoning as desired.
Serve with bread (white or rye). Optional: add freshly ground paprika or spicy green pepper.
I discovered the Czech Cookbook and author, Kristýna Koutná, a few years ago. I was thrilled when she published her cookbook and I bought it immediately! It is great fun reading her book and trying new recipes of my Father’s heritage in Bohemia, now, the Czech Republic.
Garlic Soup, or Česneková polévka, sounded interesting to me. It’s a very simple recipe and full of flavor. I toasted rye bread for croutons, a delicious addition. Next time, I will be creative with the recipe, adding leftover chicken, pork, beef or adding additional vegetables. It would be a wonderful soup to have when you’re not feeling well. This recipe is definitely a new favorite for the Fork-Lore kitchen.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
7 garlic cloves
7 cups water
1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
3 large potatoes
1 tablespoon chicken or beef base (or bouillon)
2 teaspoons marjoram
Instructions are shown in the attached video from CzechCookbook.
Butternut Squash and Chicken Chowder is a wonderful comfort food, especially paired with a nice biscuit or crusty bread. Squash is plentiful, the weather is cool, and soups are my favorite fall and winter comfort foods.
It’s great fun to experiment with new recipes. Growing up the standard soups and stews were Chile, vegetable soup, potato soup, bean soup, oyster stew at Christmas (still not a favorite), and an occasional ham and split pea soup. Now the sky is the limit, trying new combinations and flavors!
Buttternut Squash and Chicken Chowder
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely minced
½ pound carrots peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small bite sized pieces
½ teaspoon kosher salt Few grinds black pepper 2 tablespoons butter
1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs (or both), all fat removed and cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups onion, diced
1 cup celery diced (I substituted 1 chopped green pepper and 1/2 teaspoon celery seed)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons flour
2 14.5-ounce cans chicken stock
1 pound all purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 14.5-ounce can kernel corn with liquid
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Few shakes of Tabasco sauce
2 cups half and half cream
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Toss one tablespoon of the oil in a small bowl with the sage and carrots and pour out onto a small sheet pan. Roast for ten minutes.
Add squash and another tablespoon of oil along with salt and pepper to the small bowl and pour out onto the carrots and flip with a spatula to mix.
Roast for ten more minutes.
Remove from oven and set aside.
While vegetables are roasting, in a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil with the butter over medium high heat.
Once the fat is hot, add about a third the chicken and cook about five minutes to brown and cook through. Remove to a bowl and cook the another third then finally the last third, adding to the bowl after each batch. Set aside. The chicken should be fully cooked through at this step.
Turn the heat to medium and add the onions and celery. Cook, stirring often until the onions are translucent, about five to ten minutes. Add garlic and cook for one more minute.
Add flour and cook for two more minutes, stirring often.
Add stock and stir with a wooden spoon.
Bring to a boil and add potatoes along with roasted vegetables and all pan drippings. Cook for 5-10 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Add corn with juice along with Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces.
Add cooked chicken with any liquid that collected in the bowl, stir and add all of the half and half cream.
Taste and adjust seasoning and bring just to serving temperature.
Wonderful, yummy Spicy Peanut Soup with Sweet Potato and Kale is a new favorite. I first enjoyed this soup at a Bunco gathering a few years ago and I asked for the recipe. The source, Pinch of Yum, is a favorite site for my daughters and I and this recipe doesn’t disappoint.
The title says ‘spicy’ but with one chopped jalapeno, it was not hot at all. If you truly want it hot, I would suggest adding 2+ jalapenos. With this batch, I only added the curry powder, but next time I will add the tumeric.
This soup is Vegan and Vegetarian. If you would like protein, adding some shredded chicken would be delicious. It’s fall y’all, and I’m cooking up a soup storm!
SPICY PEANUT SOUP WITH SWEET POTATO & KALE
2 tablespoons olive oil
half an onion, diced
1 jalapeño, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes1
14-ounce can light coconut milk
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry and/or turmeric
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
1/4 cup peanut butter
1–2 cups kale, stems removed, chopped
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Saute until soft and fragrant.
Add sweet potatoes. I like to brown them a little bit with the aromatics to get them nice and flavorful.
Add tomatoes, coconut milk, water, spices, and peanuts. Simmer until sweet potatoes are fork-tender.
Add peanut butter and kale. Simmer until everything is thick, creamy, and delicious. Top with more peanuts and a little cilantro if you’re obsessed like me.
Instant Pot: Cook everything except peanut butter and kale on high pressure for about 3 minutes with a quick release. (Sometimes I reduce the liquid when I make it in the Instant Pot by a cup or so, and then just add more as needed when it’s all done. But that is optional – it should work fine either way.) Stir in the peanut butter and kale after cooking. Voila!
Slow Cooker: Cook everything except peanut butter and kale on low for 6 hours. Stir in the peanut butter and kale. Don’t cook the sweet potatoes too long or they’ll fall apart on ya! Just cook until they pierce easily with a fork.
One last note. This recipe is inspired by an amazing West African recipe called maafe, or groundnut soup. I did what I always do and changed/added some ingredients based on what I love and what I had on hand (kale, jalapeño, coconut milk, cilantro, etc.) making it more of a cultural mash-up. That’s why I’m not calling it a proper West African peanut soup even though those are its roots.
Freezer Meal Version
3 cups chopped sweet potatoes, fresh or frozen
2 jalapeños, minced
half of an onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
Instant Pot Instructions: High pressure 8 mins + 10 mins natural release
Slow Cooker Instructions: High setting 6 hours
Final Step: Stir in 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup chopped peanuts, and 1-2 cups chopped kale. Add water to thin to desired consistency.
Check out our full freezer meal posts with all recipes and instructions here!