Simmer down: Soothing soups, from Bacon Corn Chowder to Hot & Sour


There’s nothing more comforting in winter than piping hot soup, and I have four varieties to share.

Easy Enchilada Soup, a no-fuss slow-cooker recipe, features lively Mexican flavors.

While most potato soups rely on tons of heavy cream, this lighter Smashed Potato & Leek recipe involves mashing potatoes to create a creamy texture.

Bacon Corn Chowder, with a beautiful balance of smoky, savory and sweet flavors, is delectable.

And if you love Hot & Sour Soup at Chinese restaurants, you won’t believe how easy it is to make at home. Enjoy!

Easy Enchilada Soup

Makes 6-8 servings.

Easy Enchilada Soup

1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce
1 (15-ounce) can refried beans
2 cups salsa
2 cups chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained
1/4 cup cornmeal
Sour cream
Shredded cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips

Place raw ground meat in a slow cooker, using a spoon to break up meat into chunks. Add cumin seed, red enchilada sauce, refried beans, salsa, chicken broth, corn and cornmeal and stir. Cook on high for 4 hours. Ladle soup into bowls and top with sour cream, cheese and crumbled tortilla chips.

Smashed Potato & Leek Soup                                     

Smashed Potato & Leek Soup

Makes 4-5 servings.

6 leeks, white parts only (see note)
4 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes
4 cups chicken stock
Heavy whipping cream to garnish

Cut the white parts of leeks in half horizontally, and  place in a bowl of water and shake. Allow to rest for 10 minutes to remove dirt. Slice the leeks like you would an onion.

Over medium-high heat, melt butter in a large pot. Add leeks and cook for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Add bay leaves, potatoes and chicken stock. Cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Smash potatoes with a masher to thicken soup. Discard bay leaves.

Spoon soup into bowls, adding a dollop of heavy cream to each.

Note: You will not use the green parts of the leeks for this recipe, but freeze and save them for later. The green parts are great to add when making chicken stock.

Bacon Corn Chowder                                       

Bacon Corn Chowder


Makes 4 servings.

8 slices of bacon, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup diced red potatoes
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 (14.5-ounce) cans creamed corn
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Salt and pepper

Cook bacon in a large, heavy-bottom pot. When bacon is halfway cooked, add celery and onion and cook 5 minutes. Add flour and cook 3 minutes, stirring often. Add potatoes and chicken broth, stirring to incorporate any brown bits from bottom of the pan. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add corn to the soup and stir. Slowly stir in heavy cream. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Hot & Sour Soup                               

This Hot & Sour Soup is not too spicy because I wanted it to be family-friendly. You can add more heat with chili sauce, red pepper flakes or even sriracha.

Makes 3 servings.

Hot & Sour Soup


4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups portobello mushrooms, sliced
2 green onions, sliced (plus more for garnish)
6 ounces raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger or ginger paste
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 teaspoons rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon sweet chili dipping sauce
1/2 cup firm tofu, diced
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
1 large egg
Black pepper
Cilantro (optional)

In a large pot, heat the broth over medium-high heat. When the broth begins to boil, add the mushrooms, onions, shrimp, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and vinegar. Reduce heat to a gentle boil and cook for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together cornstarch and hot water. Add cornstarch mixture to soup, stirring until it thickens. Stir in chili sauce, tofu and shredded chicken. Cook another 5 minutes. Turn off heat.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg. Using a fork, drop swirls of the egg into hot soup. (Do this a little at a time and you will end up with beautiful ribbons of egg in the soup.) Add pepper to taste. Garnish with green onion and cilantro and serve.