Soup Night (Cookbook Review)

Have you ever had a house full of people to feed and run out of ideas? What about soup? I received an ebook copy of Soup Night by Maggie Stuckey for review. The premise behind the book is to have large groups of people get together for soup. Soup is not traditionally thought of as party food, but I have actually done this before and it works really well, especially in the wintertime. I had a holiday party one time where I just served soup and chili (along with some light snacks) and people loved it! It's warming, hearty, and still healthy and somewhat light at the same time.

I wasn't planning a party, but I think this book would be great for family dinners, too, especially on the weekend. Homemade soup usually provides balanced nutrition and lots of leftovers that freeze easily and can be taken to the office for lunch. So I decided to try out two of the recipes and just had a mini "Soup Night" for hubby and myself. I chose "Santa Fe Sweet Potato and Chipotle" and "Chicken Soup with Lentils and Barley."

When cooking multiple, complex dishes like this, it's important to prep the ingredients ahead of time and make things as easy on yourself as possible. So I cut up all the veggies and measured out the grains before even starting, making sure I had everything lined up just like my very own little cooking show. A quick tip for soup making: most grocery stores nowadays have rotisserie chickens, and you can get those and take the meat off for your soup rather than going through the trouble of cooking a chicken yourself. Then you do need to buy the broth at the store as well, but it's way easier than making your own chicken and broth. My grocery store even has packages of meat that they took off of the rotisserie chicken.

Get pre-cooked chicken from the rotisserie or deli section of the grocery store!
The recipes in this book are pretty easy to follow and have fairly normal ingredients that you can find at any grocery store. The only thing I had a hard time finding was barley for the chicken soup, but I did find some bulghur instead, and it worked very well. Of the two recipes I chose, the chicken soup was a little easier to prepare, because the sweet potato soup required pureeing, which I did in the food processor.

Pureeing hot liquids is always a risky proposition, and shouldn't be taken on lightly. You want to make sure that you have everything covered and no little holes are open in the top of your blender or food processor. Hot liquid explosions are not fun - it's actually happened to me in the past; I suffered burns several years ago when I was blending a soup and the lid flew off the blender. The trick is to blend it in batches and don't fill up your machine. Of course that means you are handling several batches of hot liquid. This time, I had no incidents, and even thought of a clever way to catch the (hot) blade when it came out each time. I let it fall onto the handle of this silicone brush I have.
Use something with a handle to take out the food processor blade.
I really liked the aspect of Soup Night that focused on sharing with community. As we sat down to our own "Soup Night," I kind of wished I had invited people over.
Soup night for two
The Santa Fe Sweet Potato and Chipotle soup was smoky and delicious. The book suggests serving it with sour cream, so we did, but it really wasn't needed. This soup could be easily made vegetarian by swapping out the chicken broth in the recipe with vegetable broth, and it could be vegan if you don't top with the sour cream.
Santa Fe Sweet Potato and Chipotle Soup
The Chicken Soup with Lentils and Barley (actually Bulghur) was soooooo yummy. On the surface, it wasn't anything too unique- I mainly only picked it to have a contrast with the blended sweet potato soup. But there was a great balance of flavors and textures because it contains several veggies, the lentils and bulghur, the chicken, and a few different spices.  I'm not even sure the chicken was necessary- there are so many ingredients in this soup that it could easily be made vegetarian as well.

Chicken Soup with Lentils and Barley (I subbed Bulghur)
The book also contains recipes for breads, salads and desserts to go along with your soup on Soup Night. I haven't tried any of those yet, but based on the quality of these two recipes, I probably will. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to take dinner up a notch with fresh, homemade yet still somewhat simple food. If you're not having a get-together any time soon, even better- More for you!


Disclaimers! 
I received this book to review for free from the publisher. 
Also, the thingy below is an affiliate link to Amazon.


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