toggle navigation

Soup Season

November 2, 2011

Image: Courtesy of

Fact: fall and soup go together like drag queens and fake eyelashes. Seriously, there’s something about the leaves falling from trees that makes you want to cozy up with a bowl of steamy goodness.

Three soups I’ll be stocking the freezer with this fall come from Art Smith, Sophie Dahl and Jacques Pepin, respectively. The first: Mr. Smith’s chicken noodle from his book Back to the Table: The Reunion of Food and Family. I was recently gifted this at the opening of Smith’s restaurant in Atlanta, Art and Soul (which is fabulous, by the way), in which he signed, “food is love” and I couldn’t agree more. But, pretty sure I’ll be altering his “everything from scratch” version by buying a rotisserie chicken and prepared stock.

I love everything in Dahl’s cookbook, especially her chestnut and mushroom soup. It sums up the November weather in one slurp. I think I made this soup three times in one month last year. The third: Pepin’s recipe for bread and onion soup, featured on NPR’s “Splendid Table.” But, I’ll be experimenting with this one (I know, gasp, how dare I tinker with an expert?) because my husband, while he likes onion, hates soggy bread in soup.

Though, how can I talk soup without mentioning my grandmother? James Beard or not, the best of the bunch (at least in my house) is my grandparents’ recipe for tomato cheese soup. My grandfather made it until he couldn’t, then my grandmother took over stove duties. Here it is.

Templeman’s Tomato Cheese Soup
2-3 stalks of celery
2 onions
1 carton of chicken broth
8-10 fresh chopped tomatoes (or 2 big cans of chopped tomatoes)
1 can Ro*tel
2 tsp. baking soda
1 T sugar
1 lb. Velveeta cheese

Cook celery and onions until tender, then add one carton of chicken broth over vegetables. Add tomatoes (either canned or fresh). Add Ro*tel and sugar (this is noted in the recipe as an addition from my grandmother, not from my grandfather’s mother). Simmer and add the baking soda, salt and pepper (to taste). Turn off stove and let cool for 10 minutes then add the Velveeta cheese to melt in soup.  Enjoy!