If your family is stuck in a soup rut, you may just need an infusion of creativity. To that end, we consulted Lisa Wright, a student at the Culinary School of Fort Worth and a local personal chef, whose business is called Living Wright at Home. Her job involves finding inventive ways to incorporate clients' favorite foods into new dishes, whether she's teaching cooking lessons or staging dinner parties for private groups.
Wright, a Grand Prairie native whose kids are Haley, 18, and Hunter, 13, created three new soups to share with you and your family. There's something for every palate and diet, sure to keep you warm in winter.
Big Easy corn and seafood chowder
Here's the ideal soup for Mardi Gras parties.
1 slice smoked bacon, diced
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
Half a red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons white wine (may substitute clam juice)
1 (14-ounce) can cream corn
1 (14-ounce) can corn kernels, drained
1 (32-ounce) box chicken stock
1/2 pound jumbo lump crab (carefully cleaned)
1/2 pound medium shrimp (peeled and cleaned)
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon Tony Chachere's seasoning blend
5 drops of Tabasco sauce (optional)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine
Zest of half a lemon
1. Heat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add bacon and let cook until almost done. Add butter and allow to melt. Add shallot, celery, bell pepper and garlic; cook for about 4 minutes or until translucent or soft.
2. Add flour and mix into vegetables. Cook for 3 minutes.
3. Add wine (or clam juice) slowly, mixing as you pour. Add all corn and chicken stock and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Add crab, shrimp and cream. Let soup come to a simmer. Do not allow to boil. When shrimp has turned pink, season with paprika, Old Bay, Tony Chachere's and Tabasco. Add Parmesan, cilantro and lemon zest. Allow to cook 3 more minutes before serving.
This soup stars meatballs, which can be made ahead of time and "are a perfect task for little hands," says Wright.
For the meatballs:
5 strips of bacon, cooked and diced, plus extra for garnish
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Montreal Steak seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
For the soup:
2 tablespoons meatball pan drippings
1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 (16-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1 cup grated cheddar cheese, plus extra for garnish
Salt and pepper
1. Make the meatballs: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix bacon, beef, Worcestershire, Montreal Steak seasoning and salt. Form meatballs in quarter-size balls and place on a nonstick cookie sheet. You should have 17 to 20 meatballs. Bake for 20 minutes and remove from the oven, reserving 2 tablespoons of the meatball pan drippings.
2. Make the soup: Place the reserved drippings in a 4-quart pot. Add onions and cook, stirring, over medium heat until almost translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute for about a minute. Add meatballs, beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and ketchup. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, spinach and cheese. Let simmer 5 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with crumbled bacon and a little extra grated cheese, if desired.
Tuscan roasted vegetable soup
Half a head of red cabbage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
15 fresh green beans, ends trimmed, cut in half
10 to 12 grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
For the soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 carrots, sliced
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
10 cups vegetable stock or canned vegetable broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Zest of half a lemon
1. Prepare vegetables: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place vegetables on a cookie sheet; drizzle with olive oil; and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Toss well and place in oven for 10 to 15 minutes to roast. Remove from oven and set aside.
2. Make the soup: Heat olive oil in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery and carrots and cook for about 3 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning and the kosher salt. Add roasted vegetables and mix well.
3. Add thyme, cannellini beans and vegetable stock. Allow to simmer 10 to 12 minutes. Then add basil, Parmesan, remaining Italian seasoning and lemon zest. Serve with crusty bread.