If we were to come up with a new name for winter, it would be “soup season”. Nothing compares to the feeling you get when enjoying a bowl of hot soup after spending the day out in the cold. Or after catching a cold… Packed with the many benefits of vegetables and healthy fats, soups will boost your mood along with your health and delight your taste buds with complex flavor profiles. To maximize the effect, make sure to use a high-quality extra virgin Texas olive oil. Any variety from the Texas Hill Country Olive Company is a safe bet and you will surely find your favorite – whether you prefer bold flavors or more delicate ones.
Vegetables and Extra Virgin Olive Oil – A Heavenly Match
As winter descends, the marriage of vegetables and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) emerges as a heavenly alliance, providing a robust defense against the seasonal chill. Vegetables, laden with essential nutrients and vitamins, form the foundation of a nourishing diet. They are rich in antioxidants, combating oxidative stress and fortifying the immune system, crucial during winter months.
EVOO, a staple in the Mediterranean diet renowned for its health benefits, complements vegetables with its array of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. These fats not only provide a source of sustained energy but also aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins from vegetables, enhancing their nutritional impact.
The upcoming recipes spotlight the synergy of vegetables and Texas olive oil, promising not only a delightful culinary experience but also a healthful journey through the winter season. The protagonists of these soups are carefully chosen vegetables, each contributing its unique set of nutrients.
Recipes for Delicious Winter Soups Using Texas Olive Oil
Tomato and Sweet Potato Soup
This revamped classic intertwines the richness of tomatoes with the rustic sweetness of sweet potatoes, creating a hearty and warming experience. The ingredients, carefully chosen for their health benefits, include sweet potatoes, Vidalia onions, garlic, and a generous dose of EVOO.
Start by heating 1/2 cup EVOO on the stove in a medium-sized pot over medium/high heat. When the oil is hot, add 1 cup of sliced Vidalia onion and 2 tbsp of chopped garlic to the pot and cook them until they are translucent and fragrant. Next, add a 128 oz can of crushed tomatoes, 2 cups of water, and 1 medium sweet potato (peeled and sliced). Season to taste with salt, pepper, turmeric, smoked paprika, and allspice.
As the aromatic blend simmers on the stove, stir regularly. After 25-30 minutes, the sweet potato tenderizes, having absorbed the flavors of the spices. Now is the time to transfer the soup to a blender and blitz until smooth. Add the final touch in the form of a drizzle of robust Texas olive oil for a peppery note, enhancing both flavor and nutritional value.
This soup not only delights the taste buds but also serves as a nutritional powerhouse, offering a dose of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. As this recipe is suitable for freezing, why not make a big batch and save some for busy days when you don’t have time to cook?
Greek Chicken Soup
Embark on a Greek-inspired journey with a chicken soup that transcends the ordinary. Bursting with flavors of dill and lemon, this soup boasts not only a tantalizing aroma but also a host of health benefits. The inclusion of hearty chicken, fresh vegetables, and a generous pour of EVOO transforms it into a winter elixir.
The careful preparation involves simmering 2 whole chickens (approximately 3 1/2 pounds in total) in 8 cups of chicken broth and 4 cups water. Season with 1 whole head of garlic (crushed), 3 dried bay leaves, 4 whole dill sprigs, 1 whole lemon (zested into strips), salt, and pepper, infusing the soup with rich flavors. Simmer at a low temperature for 4 hours or until the meat is cooked, then remove it from the pot and shred it. Pour the broth into a large bowl. Set the chicken and the broth aside for now.
Add 1/4 cup of mild EVOO to the same pot and heat it. Cook 1 chopped onion, 2 cups of baby carrots, and 2 cups of chopped celery for 5 minutes. Add the stock you just made back to the pot and boil the vegetables until tender (20-30 minutes). Add the shredded chicken to the pot and make sure everything is warm before serving with freshly chopped dill and a lemon wedge. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
The addition of mild EVOO in the final stages elevates the soup to new heights, contributing not just to taste but also to the overall health quotient. This soup is a testament to the harmony achievable when wholesome ingredients and Texas olive oil unite.
Tips for a clear broth: simmer the ingredients rather than boiling them, skim any fat that rises to the top of the pot, and strain the broth through a mesh strainer when transferring it to a bowl.
Mediterranean White Bean Soup
Rounding off this trilogy of warmth and health is the Mediterranean White Bean Soup – a thick, hearty concoction that embraces winter with open arms. Loaded with cooked white beans, kale, and an abundance of EVOO, this vegan creation promises both taste and nourishment with plenty of plant-based protein.
Add 1/4 cup of EVOO to a large pot. While the oil is heating, chop up 1 medium yellow onion, 1 medium carrot, 2 celery ribs, and 2 garlic cloves. Add all the vegetables to the pot and season with 1 tbsp of fresh rosemary, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp of sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Cook the vegetables in 4 cups of vegetable broth until they soften, then add 4 1/2 cups of cooked white beans (drained and rinsed) and simmer for 20 more minutes.
Pour half of the soup into a blender and blitz until smooth, then return the puree to the pot. This will give the soup a thick consistency without needing to use cream. If you find that the end result is too thick for your liking, stir in 1/2 cup of water at a time. Add 6 cups of chopped kale and cook until the leaves have wilted. Season with more salt and pepper if needed, plus 2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice and fresh parsley. Before serving, drizzle some Texas olive oil to turn this soup into a celebration of taste and well-being.