First Soup of the Fall

Last week we had our first bout of cool fall weather. The kind of temps that make one think longingly of soup. As it happened, I not only had the desire for soup, I also happened to have the time to cook (not that the soup I chose to make was time consuming, its not). So, what was my first soup of the fall?

Black-eyed Pea, Kale and Ham Soup

Whether the photo immediately appeals to you or not, one thing I can say is that the soup is absolutely delicious – flavorful, filling, warming. The recipe originated in a Cooking Light specialty publication (unfortunately I don’t recall which one). It called for frozen black-eyed peas, which I couldn’t find in the grocery stores here, so I used canned. The other substitution I made was Tobasco sauce in lieu of cayenne pepper, which I had forgotten to replenish in my spice cupboard. This gave the soup a nice, light spicy kick.

One note about the kale. If you plan to use prewashed and chopped bagged kale, keep in mind that they typically don’t remove the fibrous center stalk from the kale leaves, and most cooks using fresh kale do. I didn’t mind; however, the stalks can be stringy and less palatable than the leafy potions.

I divided the soup into 1 cup portions (158 calories per serving). I froze two servings, while keeping three in the refrigerator for no-fuss meals throughout the week. Even when the days warmed again, I was content to eat this soup for dinner. I ate the soup with toast, but cornbread would have been the perfect accompaniment!

Apple-Parsnip Soup

Imagine, if you will, the day after a major blizzard. You have spent just over four hours with your trusty shovel, clearing 13 inches of snow including drifts reaching almost three feet high. The sun sets in a blaze of color, as the temperature is plummeting to an overnight low of -12 degrees.

You go inside, unpeel sweaty layers of clothing, and grasp a cup of hot tea to warm your frozen fingers. Suddenly, you remember it is parsnip week at your house! Warm apple-parsnip soup, made in the midst of the blizzard, is only minutes away from filling your empty stomach with velvety goodness. Bliss!

This soup is so good, I braved the worst of the blizzard on Tuesday night to deliver a container to my friend Layne (she lives about 300 yards away). We agree that a little more heat might improve the soup, but it is wonderful made faithfully to the recipe, too (which can be found on the recipes tab, above). I have one serving left, which I plan to savor after a little snow shoeing later today!