’Tis the season for soup

With the colder months approaching, a piping-hot bowl of soup is the ultimate comfort food.

A perfect pair: This recipe for bread sticks pairs well with any hearty soup.

By Donna Zitter Bordelon

November is the month of All Saints, All Souls and All Soups.

With the colder months approaching, a piping-hot bowl of soup is the ultimate comfort food, any way you make it. Any way, that is, that’s hot. Piping hot — that’s exactly how I like soup. Confession: I may have an asbestos tongue. Soup and crusty bread, soup and sandwich, soup and salad — any way you have it, soup is comfort food.

“Piping hot,” a food expression that was used at least since the late medieval times, meant “boiling hot.” The reference is purportedly to the steam that shot out of the spout of a tea kettle. Another plausible explanation, from Scotland, claims that foods frying made a whistling sound — which sounded like piped music.

The following recipe is a hearty, comforting soup that pairs well with the bread sticks recipe below.

HAMBURGER VEGETABLE SOUP

2 Tbsp. butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 carrots, diced

2–3 stalks celery with leaves, diced

¾–1 lb. ground beef — sirloin or round

1½ quarts water

¼ cup parsley, chopped

2 cups canned tomatoes, chopped

2 cups potatoes, cubed, scrubbed (no need to peel)

1/3 cup barley

1 cup peas, frozen

Salt and Pepper to taste

Shredded sharp cheddar (optional)

In a soup pot, melt the butter and saute the onion for 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, carrots and celery, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the onion is soft.

Add the beef, breaking it apart, and cook until there it is no longer red.

Add the water, parsley, tomatoes and their juices, potatoes and barley.

Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes.

Add the peas and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Taste. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Pass the cheese when serving. Add a tablespoon or two to make Cheeseburger Soup.

BREADSTICKS WITH BUTTERY TOPPING

1¼ cups warm water

1 packet rapid active dry yeast

2 Tbsp. sugar, divided

3¼–3½ cups flour, adding the additional, if needed

2 Tbsp. butter, melted

1 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, add water (use very warm water from faucet — but not hot), yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Stir gently and let it develop for about 10 minutes to dissolve and activate the yeast. The yeast mixture should look foamy.

Add 3¼ cups of the flour, the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, the melted butter and the salt to the yeast mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon or with a mixer on medium speed until combined. If mixture is too sticky, add additional flour.

(Food Processor Method: Add the warm water, yeast and sugar to the work bowl. When foamy, add the flour, remaining sugar and butter. Process a few times until flour is mixed and then allow machine to run until the dough starts to form a soft ball.)

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead only a few times until dough is smooth.

Divide dough into 16–18 balls, and roll each dough ball back and forth to form into ropes (each about 8 inches in length).

Grease or spray a cookie sheet(s) with cooking spray.

Transfer ropes to cookie sheet(s) and lightly cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place for about 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Buttery Topping:

½ cup butter, melted

1 tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. parsley flakes

Microwave butter until melted, and stir in the garlic powder, salt and parsley flakes.

Remove plastic wrap and towel and brush very lightly with butter topping.

Bake bread sticks for about 15 minutes until golden.

Remove from oven and brush with more buttery topping. Cool.

Eat well, live long, enjoy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the North­east Times, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002)

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