Soup served in a tureen, a culinary achievement

By , Food editor of The Christian Science Monitor

More people got soup tureens for Christmas this year than ever before, according to reports from one large national department store. From silver and pewter, fine porcelain and antiques to ceramic and earthenware, beautiful serving bowls for soups, chowders, and stews were on the top of list for many good cooks and people who enjoy fine dining.

They are good to have because they make serving soup more efficient and keep it hot and ready for second servings. They also make the soup more important, which helps when this may be the main dish of the meal.

When you make soup at home you can take as much pride in a steaming hot tureen with its beautiful aroma as in any other culinary achievement.

Recommended: Soup's on! Warm up with these soup, chowder, and stew recipes

Served in cups as a first course or in big, roomy soup bowls as a main dish, a hearty, homemade soup is always a taste pleaser. Here is one that is heartly but has no meat and will delight everyone with its delicate cheese flavor and handsome color.

The color comes from the orange of the carrots combined with celery and leeks , then accented with Danish natural cheese and egg yolks. From its name you have probably guessed it is a Danish specialty. Sunshine Soup (Solskin Suppe) 1 1/2 cups diced celery 2 cups sliced carrots 2 small leeks, thin slices 6 cups hot water 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1/4 teaspoon white pepper 1 cup half and half (half milk, half cream) 1 cup firmly packed shredded Danish Cheese (Tybo, Esrom, Samsoe, or Havarti) 3 egg yolks

Chopped chives or parsley

In a 3 to 4 quart kettle with tight cover, combine celery, carrots, leeks, water, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil on high heat; reduce to low and simmer 20 to 25 minutes, or until vegetables are very tender.

Put cooked vegetables with liquid through a sieve or food processor. Return to soup kettle and before serving heat just to the boiling point.

Reduce heat; stir in half and half and shredded Danish cheese, stirring well to blend. At last minute add a little of the hot mixture to the slightly beaten egg yolks and stir eggs into hot soup.

Pour into a soup tureen; sprinkle chopped chives or parsley on top and serve.Serve cheesy, curly toast with the soup. Makes 8 to 10 servings. Curly Toast

Have a loaf of pumpernickel or whole wheat bread sliced 1/4 inch thick or a bit thinner. Place on broiler pan and toast 4 to 6 inches from broiler until both sides are dry, but not brown, and bread is curled.

Remove and brush lightly with melted butter. Sprinkle on just a bit of shredded Danish cheese. Return to warm oven to allow cheese to melt slightly.

Barley, a familiar basic in Scotland, Scandinavian countries, and Eastern Europe, deserves more attention from American cooks. It has a firm, meaty texture and is fine in soups. Served with lamb, chicken, or other meats it adds character to a meal. When cooking it to go with chicken, chicken stock can be used for the liquid along with a pat of butter and salt and pepper. Here it is teamed with beef in an oxtail soup. Beef Barley Soup 1 beef oxtail (about 2 pounds), disjointed 1/2 cup chopped onion 8 cups water 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/4 cup chopped parsley 1/2 cup chopped carrots 1 cup chopped celery 1/4 cup barley 1 can (12 oz.) tomato juice 1/2 teaspoon marjoram 1/2 teaspoon basil

In 5 to 6-quart Dutch oven or stock pot cook oxtail pieces over medium heat until lightly browned. Add onion and cook until it is soft. And water, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, about 4 hours to blend flavors and reduce volume by half. Add all remaining ingredients. Simmer until barley is cooked, about 45 minutes. Skim off any excess fat before serving, if desired.

Lamb and eggplant combined in a soup with cinnamon and nutmeg give this soup a flavor typical of Morocco. It is a pleasant recipe that's a bit different from the usual lamb stew. Lamb and Eggplant Soup 1 large eggplant 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup olive oil 2 large onions, thinly sliced 2 pounds boneless stewing lamb, cut in 1-inch cubes 3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 1 28-ounce can tomatoes, drained 1 lemon, juice 1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon or 1 stick 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg Freshly ground pepper 1/2 cup water

Do not peel eggplant, but wash, dry, and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in a colander and salt lightly. Let it sit for about 30 minutes while salt drains out the water from the eggplant. Rinse and dry.

Heat about 1/4 cup oil in a skillet and saute eggplant pieces a few at a time until they are tender. Remove and reserve, then add remaining oil and saute onions. Add lamb and stir until brown. Add tomatoes, cover ad stimmer 20 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook slowly about 1 hour, checking occasionally to see if more water is needed. Serves 6.

The following mushroom recipe has lots of good things in it to make it the kind of soup you like as a main dish. Served with salad, hot rolls or bread, and a familiar dessert, it is an easy family dinner. Very Special Mushroom Stew 1/4 cup oil 2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck or shoulder, cut in 1-inch cubes 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic 1 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/3 cup flour 1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed beef broth 1 cup apple juice or water 1 carrot peeled or halved 1 celery rib, halved 1 sprigs parsley 1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves, crushed 1 bay leaf 1 pound small white onions, peeled 1 pound fresh mushrooms or 2 cans (6 to 8 oz. each) sliced mushrooms 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1/2 cup heavy cream or light cream 2 eggs yolk

In a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven heat oil until hot. Add meat and brown well on all sides, about 15 minutes. Stir in garlic, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle flour over meat; stir to blend. Add broth, apple juice, carrot, and celery.

Tie parsley, thyme, and bay leaf in a cheesecloth bag and add. Simmer covered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add onions, cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, rinse, pat dry, and slice fresh mushrooms or drain canned mushrooms. Add mushrooms and cook 15 minutes longer.

Remove and discard cheesecloth bag, carrot, and celery.Stir in lemon juice. Beat together cream and egg yolks. Stir in some of the hot liquid mixture into the egg yolk mixture and return all to saucepan, stirring constantly. Heat until hot. Serve with buttered noodles and French bread, if desired. Serves 6 to 8 people

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