I dreamed up this soup with picky eaters in mind and I know how picky eaters think because I was one. Well, am one. (Shh, don’t tell anyone. I’ve managed to keep it a secret so long.)
My first cookbook has no soup recipes because I didn’t consider myself a soup person, although this makes it sound like a failing of identity and it was really that I found soup depressingly monotonous: must every spoonful be exactly like the one before? A bowl felt a lifetime long. But my second cookbook (and my third, should I ever get to writing that thing, heh) has a big one because I finally figured out how to make soup that kept me interested: fixings. For me, when a soup is simple, it’s about the finishes. I love a salad bar of options and I love to be able to add more as I eat, so no two spoonfuls are exactly alike. This technique has come in handy with every variety of choosy eaters in my family — a husband who doesn’t like smooth soups, a son who can be convinced to eat most things if they have bacon, and a daughter who eats approximately nothing but is known to demolish bowls of kale chips and will steal the bacon off your plate without asking or expressing any level of remorse after. (She’s a cat. I gave birth to a cat.) (Although temporarily a spider.)
This soup started as a lightened-up baked potato soup, swapping beans for some of the potatoes, but it’s way more interesting than that, if you ask me. It’s perfectly cozy solo, but when you set out a little sour cream, parmesan, pancetta, and crispy kale, it’s… fun? Yes, I just called soup fun. You can make it vegetarian by skipping the pancetta, vegan by skipping the parmesan and cream (I’d use a squeeze of lemon), but more important is that no matter how you make it, you can do so quickly. We’re not soaking beans, we’re not making stock, not here, not this time. This is a 40-minutes-top soup, and it’s absolutely perfect for right now.
Good Morning America: What? Yeah, no big deal at all! I was invited to kick off Ginger Zee’s cooking club, where she’s attempting to get her (really cute) kids and husband out of their pasta-obsessed rut. I came to her house to demonstrate this recipe and also another kid favorite, the Pizza Beans from Smitten Kitchen Every Day and the kids and husband ate it all. (I came home and was like “Step it up, fam.”) You can watch me do just this on the show tomorrow (Wednesday 10/30) morning at 8:45am ET, barring any major news that bumps the segment. [Update: Indeed, some news — the worsening fires in California — bumped the segment. I’ll give you a heads-up when there’s a new air date for it. And please, be safe out there.] When there’s a link to watch it online, I’ll add it here.
Are you following SK on Instagram? Every couple Fridays (ideally, every other, but sometimes life gets in the way) I’m doing Live Story demos of a recipe from the archives. Last week, apple cider caramels, the best Halloween candy that is not storebought peanut butter cups. A week from Friday (11/8)? Not sure what I’m cooking yet, but it will be something warm and cozy.
Six months ago: Braised Ginger Meatballs in Coconut Broth
One year ago: Sunken Black Forest Cake
Two years ago: Bakery-Style Butter Cookies
Three years ago: Broken Pasta with Pork Ragu
Four years ago: Baked Potatoes with Wild Mushroom Ragu and Twinkie Bundt
Five years ago: Homemade Harissa and Cauliflower Cheese
Six years ago: Potato and Broccolini Frittata
Seven years ago: Butternut Squash Salad with Farro and Pepitas and Roasted Pear and Chocolate Chunk Scones
Eight years ago: Pear, Cranberry, and Gingersnap Crumble
Nine years ago: Cauliflower and Parmesan Cake and Spiced Applesauce Cake
Ten years ago: Cauliflower with Almonds, Raisins and Capers and Silky, Decadent Old-School Chocolate Mousse
Eleven years ago: Meatballs and Spaghetti and Cranberry-Walnut Chicken Salad and Pink Lady Cake
Twelve years ago: Pumpkin Bread Pudding and Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup
Thirteen years ago: Pumpkin Muffins and Easiest Baked Macaroni-and-Cheese