Side Dish: Soup’s On!

HH

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“SOUP’S ON! 100 SAVORY SOUPS, STEWS, AND CHILIS MADE EASY”

Covenant Communications. $19.99.

173 pages. Hidden spiral hardcover.

With last-minute shopping and the hubbub surrounding Christmas and other end-of-the-year activities, it’s a wonder anyone finds time to prepare meals for their families. Valerie Phillips, a former Salt Lake City food editor, says she has the answer for a homemade meal on even the most harried nights: Soup.

She notes in her cookbook “Soup’s On! 100 Savory Soups, Stews, and Chilis Made Easy” that soups come in many styles, can be stretched to feed a crowd, are easy to personalize, are a good way to get vegetables into the diet and can be kept warm for latecomers. Many of her recipes take advantage of convenience foods and can be prepared in about 30 minutes.

“In a perfect world, we would all be eating freshly cooked, from-scratch meals,” she admits. But, for busy nights when you have less time to spend in the kitchen, a quick, hearty one-pot chili or stew made with shortcut ingredients is welcome, she says. Phillips does offer easy recipes for making chicken broth and turkey stock, but also provides information on packaged or canned broth and stock.

Each of the book’s 100 recipes is accompanied by a full-color photograph of the featured soup, but no nutritional breakdown. The recipes, divided into six sections, include those for poultry; beef and pork; seafood; vegetable; bean and nut; and fruit and cheese. Among the recipes are hearty chicken noodle soup, Hungarian goulash, cioppino, curried carrot bisque, spicy lentil and sausage stew and cheesy onion soup.

There are also two gumbo recipes. One is from a cookbook published by Utah Jazz basketball team’s wives that uses shrimp and scallops. The other is based on a recipe Phillips learned from New Orleans cooking instructor Poppy Tooker and seems to combine ingredients for both chicken and sausage gumbo and seafood gumbo.

The book’s table of contents lists each recipe by chapter, but I would have liked an index.

With this book’s eclectic collection of streamlined recipes for the ultimate comfort food, there will be no need to head to the drive-through or order out. The Quick Tailgate Chili will be a welcome choice on busy holiday nights or while watching football bowl games.

Cookbook signing

Julie Kay, who writes the weekly What a Crock! column in The Advocate’s Food section, will be autographing copies of her cookbook, “Slow Cookin’ in the Fast Lane,” from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble Perkins Rowe, 7707 Bluebonnet Blvd., in Baton Rouge.

Merry Christmas, and peace and joy to all.

Cheramie Sonnier is The Advocate’s Food editor. Email csonnier@theadvocate.com.

Advocate-tested recipe

Quick Tailgate Chili

Makes about 8 (11/2-cup) servings. Recipe is from “Soup’s On! 100 Savory Soups, Stews, and Chilis Made Easy” by Valerie Phillips, who says, “This Super Bowl-worthy recipe comes together within 30 minutes, and you don’t have to peel, chop or mince anything! Let everyone add their favorite toppings as desired.”

1 lb. ground beef, 85 percent to 93 percent lean

1 tbl. dried chopped onion

1 (7-oz) can chopped green chilies

1 (16-oz.) jar salsa

1 (10-oz.) can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes and chilies

1 tbl. dried cumin

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste

1 cup water

1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste

3 (15-oz.) cans red beans

1 (14-oz.) can beef broth

1 (14.5-oz.) can petite-diced tomatoes

Garnishes: Tortilla chips, sour cream, chopped cilantro, chopped tomatoes, chopped avocado

1. In a large stock pot, brown ground beef, breaking into small chunks with spatula or fork.

2. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well mixed. Simmer 20-25 minutes.

3. Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, chopped cilantro, chopped tomatoes, chopped avocado, and shredded cheese.

Options: For a smoky touch, add 2 chipotle chilies canned in adobo sauce plus 1 tablespoon of the sauce. You can also add fresh roasted chilies.