Hot soups are especially delicious during transitional days of the year when not even the weatherman knows what to predict. If you prefer, you can wait for a cool, rainy day to get out the soup kettle. But hot soup made from fresh farm vegetables or the pickings of your own garden will do credit to your soup tureen any time of year.
According to food historians, one of the first foods the Narragansett Indians shared with the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock was a chowder composed of seafood and squash. It may not sound appealing, but vegetables are good in many combinations.
Squash of various kinds such as zucchini, crookneck and butternut make excellent soups and chowders. Tomatoes, corn, peas, beans, and root vegetables are also congenial mixers in the soup pot.
A soup made of several kinds of vegetables is traditional in many countries, such as the familiar Italian minestrone.
For fish soups, use scallops, shrimp, or haddock if it's available Any white fish, fresh or frozen, will be a fine complement to vegetables.
Teaming fish and a vegetable makes a light but hearty soup similar to the fish stews of France and other countries. Serve it with salad and hot rolls or homemade cornbread. Fish Stew With Vegetables 1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, fully ripened 2 cups chicken broth 2 cups zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch slices, halved 1 cup green pepper, cut into 1-inch squares 1 cup coarsely chopped onion 2 teaspoons paprika 3/4 teaspoon crushed thyme leaves 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic 1 bay leaf 1 pound fish fillets, fresh or frozen and partly thawed, cut into 1-inch pieces
Cut out stem ends and chop tomatoes to make 3 3/4 cups. In a large saucepan, place tomatoes, chicken broth, zucchini, green pepper, onion, paprika, thyme, garlic, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Add fish and simmer, covered, until fish is opaque, about 3 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Serves 4.
Curried foods are especially suited to hot weather. Homemade muffins and a summer fruit dessert are ideal accompaniments to this tasty soup. Curried Cream of Corn Soup 6 large ears of corn 1/2 cup chopped onion 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 1/2 teaspoon curry powder (or more, if desired) 1 1/2 tablepoons flour 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 2 13 3/4-ounce cans chicken broth 1/4 cup heavy cream
Scrape corn from cobs (you should have 3 cups); reserve. Saut'e onion in butter in a large saucepan until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in curry powder, flour, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil, stirring until smooth, and slightly thickened. Add the corn. Lower heat and cook, partly covered, until corn is tender, from 3 to 5 minutes. Cool.
Pur'ee, part at a time, in container of electric blender. Return pur'ee to saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir in cream. Serves 6. Pick-of-the-Garden Vegetable Minestrone 3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil 1/2 cup minced onion 1/3 cup chopped celery 1 small clove garlic, chopped 1 teaspoon rosemary 4 cups chopped raw vegetables (combination of your choice: carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, corn, cabbage, escarole, zucchini) 1 1-pound can tomatoes 2 13 3/4-ounce cans beef broth 1/4 cup uncooked pasta (spaghetti rings or other small shapes) 2 tablespoons minced parsley 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in large saucepan. Saut'e onion and celery until soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and rosemary. Stir in vegetables and cook over medium heat 5 minutes to blend flavors.
Add broth. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add pasta. Cook 10 more minutes or until tender. Combine parsley and cheese in small bowl. Serve with minestrone. Makes 6 cups. Hot Weather Borsch 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots 1 cup finely chopped onion 1 cup finely chopped beets 1 cup finely chopped celery 1 finely chopped parsnip (optional) 1 tablespoon butter or margarine 2 cups beef stock or broth 1 cup finely shredded cabbage 1 cup tomato pulp Salt and pepper to taste Sour cream Fresh dill (garnish)
Place first five ingredients in a 3-quart saucepan and barely cover with boiling water. Cover pot and allow vegetables to simmer for 20 minutes.
Add butter, stock, cabbage, and tomato pulp. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour soup into bowls.
Garnish with a teaspoonful of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh dill. Makes about 8 cups.