Potato-carrot soup
Tomato-basil soup
Beef & cabbage soup
Smoked sausage-lentil soup
Green bean soup
Beet soup
Vegetable-orzo soup
Hearty pumpkin soup
Beef-barley soup
Chuck wagon chili soup
Swedish bean & bacon soup
Strawberry soup
Our favorite vegetable soup
Elegant butternut squash soup
Ham & bean soup
Clam chowder - Southwestern style (spicy)
Ham & potato & leek soup
New England fish chowder

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S oups fill the house with their warmth and aroma as they slowly simmer on the stove, fulfilling a promise greater than just satisfying hunger. With soups, we feel comforted, we revive our spirits, and make a bad day much better. Try it today!

Jane Kolpen, cook, painter, and author of the enchanting illustrated fable and cook-book The Secrets of Pistoulet, knows well the journey from hearth to heart. Her understanding of the meaning behind ingredients----some based in folklore, some in mythology----and her instinctual ability to combine them, infuse her soups with a soulfulness that says as much abut vitality as it does about appetite.

“Soups are the humblest of fares; most are not very complicated either. Cooking soups combines ritual, compassion, and fresh ingredients to give back what the harvest has given to us.” Jana says. You could also suspect Jana of spell-casting; in truth, it’s her bubbling passion that makes her philosophy so believable. For example, Jana’s Potato-Carrot Soup is heady with garlic, which the ancient Egyptians and Greeks saw as a godlike food. Carrots and potatoes soften the powerful flavor. Appetite-satisfying because of its thick texture and its surprising final note—end-of-season figs roasted to bring out their sweetness----this soup offers a boost of energy that’s especially helpful when you’re emotionally tired.

When tomatoes first arrived in France, they were called “pommes d’amour,” or “love apples.” Jana is quite sure her Tomato-Basil Soup will inspire passion in anyone. “The rich tomato taste is further enhance by basil, which brings out friendliness, and a little touch of cream, which will make anyone happy.” she asserts. “Aemagnac is a special brandy whose long aging gives the soup depth and is said to arouse age-old passions. It’s a soup of long-term romance.” Then to finish, Gruyere cheese is blended into the soup and a chopped tomato garnish crowns the top.

Big, healthy Beef and Cabbage Soup will warm the cockles of your heart for the rest of your life,” Jana promises. “There’s a heartiness to the soup that is so nourishing, it will make you sing.” It’s a soup whose robust combination of ingredients—beef shanks, bacon, potatoes, vegetables—will definitely fill you up and even revitalize the faint of heart, A dash of thyme imparts courageousness. Use thick slices of crusty bread rubbed with garlic and olive oil to sop up the very last bits in the bottom of the bowl.

In the colder months, lentils are known as a symbol of good fortune—in fact, Italians eat lentils at New Year’s be bring on just that. To our good fortune, Jana added smoked sausage to a traditional lentil soup recipe to make it even heartier. There’s nothing shy about the flavor here or the delicious smell coming from the stockpot. There’s a rugged cast of country-soup characters: In addition to lentils and sausage, you’ll find carrots, fennel, onion, garlic, and even a splash of tangy red wine vinegar.

In turn, there definitely are occasions for delicate soups too.

When it’s time to say good-bye to loved ones, serve Jana’s Green Bean Soup laced with a touch of vanilla for a slight sweetness. The soup uses haricots vert, or tiny French green beans (substitute regular-size green beans if you like). With a texture both crunchy and silken, this soup reminds us that farewells are tenuous and sensitive. The comforting flavor of sourdough bread sticks helps to ease the pain of the separation.

Jana leaned to cook at her Russian-born grandmother’s New Jersey farm kitchen, and the rustic beets in her Beet Soup resonate with the grandmother’s compassion and care-taking. The flavor of the beets is delivered by preparing them three ways: pureed, to give a velvety texture; chopped, for a chunky contrast; and roasted for a strong, earthy, unforfeitable flavor. The recipe is as uncomplicated as the purest emotion.

Homemade pistou, a basil-based condiment similar to pesto, garnishes the Vegetable-Orzo Soup. Basil is known as the herb of friendliness; its job is to help you open yourself up to the world around you. Jana adds this herbal companionship to a mix of tomatoes, fennel, zucchini, green beans, and cannellini beans. The result is a rich soup that’s filling enough to be a real meal on its own and whose satisfying comfort brings openness and warmth to any table.

Pumpkins just might be the worry dolls of the vegetable patch: Their big, round, orange, chunky exteriors seems to be made to hold secrets, and their soft insides coddle our tenderest intimacies. Jana’s Hearty Pumpkin Soup has an aromatic blend of cinnamon, turmeric, and cumin, all of which have healing qualifies. Cumin, especially, brings on peace of mind. This combination of spice and vegetable helps you feel comfortable with what you keep inside you. If fresh pumpkin is unavailable, choose butternut, acorn, or any other variety of winter squash

For all of us, Jana’s soups carry a special message that goes beyond their expressive flavors. The spirit of the cook manifests itself in each and every dish, from simple Tuesday night supper to holiday dinners, or from a batch of cockies named for a favorite aunt to the elaborate preparations of the spun-sugar confections. We relish the reaction to our cooking as much as we enjoy the taste.(almost). The empty bowls and the heartfelt “thank you” give back the love we put into it. That is the magic of soup.




Potato–Carrot Soup

If fresh figs are not available in your neighborhood markets, reconstitute dried figs b pouring boiling water over them. Let set for 10 minutes, drain and cool. Halves the figs and saute them with a small amount of olive oil. (Prep. 15 minutes) (Cook. 20 minutes.)

                    2 medium garlic bulbs (about 16 cloves)

                    4 14-oz. chicken broth (reduced-sodium if desired)

                    3 medium potatoes, peeled ½- inch pieces

                    3 carrots, peeled & chopped

                    1/3 cup whipping cream

                              salt & pepper to taste.

                    1 recipe Roasted Fresh Figs (optional)

                              Snipped fresh chives (optional)

Separate. garlic bulbs into cloves. peel them.

In large saucepan

Combine. broth, garlic, potatoes, and carrots.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat.

Simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes (until vegetables are tender

Cool slightly.

In a blender container or food processor bowl

Puree soup. 1/3 at a time, until smooth.

Return. To saucepan

Stir in whipping cream slowly

season to taste

Cook until heated through.

Serve with Roasted Fresh Figs and chives.

Roasted Fresh Figs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Halve six fresh figs lengthwise.

Place fig halves, cut side up,

on baking sheet lined with parchment or foil

Brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil

Bake. 15 minutes (or until halves are softened and heated through)

Tomato-Basil Soup

If you prefer, let everyone add their own cheese, cream, Armagnac, and chopped tomato-basil mixture by serving these at the table. You should really know your guests ability in the kitchen to try this though. ( Good Luck.)

                  3 ½ lb. Ripe beefsteak or globe tomatoes

                    2 Tbsp. Unsalted butter

                    2 cloves garlic, minced

                    2 - 3 small onions, diced

                    1 ½ cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves

                    1 ½ tsp. sea or kosher salt

                    1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper

                    6 oz. Gruyere or Emmentaler cheese, grated

                    ½ Cup whipping cream

                  1 Tbsp. Armmagnac or brandy (optional)

Set aside 1 tomato

Peel remaining tomatoes (by dipping in boiling water for 30 seconds. or

skins start to split. Dip in cold water. When cool enough to handle, remove skins and core tomatoes.)


Coarsely chop; and set aside.

In a 4- quart Dutch oven melt butter over high heat

Add: garlic; cool 30 seconds

Add; onions, cook 4 to 5 minutes (or until tender)

Add: chopped tomatoes, bring to a boil, then

simmer, covered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Puree tomato mixture in food processor or food mill.

(Discard seeds and onions if using food mill)

Return liquid to pan

Meanwhile finely chop basil, reserve 1/4 cup.

 Stir basil, salt, and pepper into tomato mixture.

Heat thoroughly.

Add: cheese, whipping cream, and Armagnac

Heat, while stirring, until cheese is just melted.

(Natural, or unprocessed cheese may result in a slightly grainy texture.)

Chop remaining tomato, combine with reserved basil.

Sprinkle on top of each serving of soup.

(Prep. 30 minutes) (Cook. 40 minutes)








Beef and Cabbage Soup


A bouquet garni is a useful item in a cook’s bag of tricks. It’s a variety of herbs and spices wrapped in cheesecloth that is simmered along with soups and stews. Vary the amount and kind of herbs and spices as you. like.


                  1 Bouquet Garni

                    1 lb. Country bacon or prosciutto, diced

                    1 ½ to 2 lb. Beef shank, cross cuts.

                    6 cups water

                    1 ½ lb. new potatoes, quartered

                    2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped (1 cup)

                    4 medium carrots, peeled and quartered crosswise.

                    2 turnips, peeled and quartered (12 oz. Total)

                    1 15-to-19 oz. can navy or cannellini (white kidney) beans

                    4 cloves garlic, minced

                    4 cups coarsely chopped cabbage

                              Kosher salt to taste

Thickly sliced crusty country bread,

                                          toasted & rubbed with olive oil and garlic.


Prepare Bouquet Garni; set aside

In a 10-to-12 gt. Stockpot or Dutch oven

Cook bacon or prosciutto until crisp, stirring frequently

Remove. (With slotted spoon)

Drain on paper towel.

Reserve; 2 tablespoons drippings in stockpot. (If using prosciutto, add oil to equal 2 tablespoons)


 Brown beef shanks on both sides in reserve drippings.

Add: water, potatoes, onions, carrots, turnips, undrained beans, garlic, and Bouquet

Bring to boiling, reduce heat Simmer, covered, 30 minutes more (until meat is tender)


Discard Baouquet Garni.

Remove beef shanks; cool slightly

Remove meat from bones Using 2 forks, shred meat, return meat to soup.


Skim fat from soup. Heat through

Stir in cooked bacon or prosciutto.

Season to taste


Transfer soup to tureen.

Place slice of bread in bottom of soup bowl. Ladle soup over bread

                    (Prep. 50 minutes) (Cook. 2 hours)





Cut a 10-inch square of double-layered 100-per-cent- cotton cheesecloth.

Place 8 sprigs parsley, 2 bay leaves, 12 lightly crushed whole black peppercorns, and 4 or 5 sprigs (each) of fresh thyme and marjoram on the center of cloth. Draw up the corners of square to create bag, tie with clean kitchen string.






Smoked Sausage-Lentil Soup


Fennel’s mild flavor is similar to anise. Snip the delicate fronds to ass a last-minute garnish.


                  1 small fennel bulb. Fronds reserved

                    4 cloves garlic, minced

                    1 Tbsp. Olive oil

                    1 medium onion, chopped (½ cup)

                    2 carrots chopped

                    6 cups water

                    1 1/4 cups green lentils, rinsed & drained

                    2 tsp. Kosher or sea salt

                    1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

                    6 oz. smoked sausage, cut into ½ -inch-thick pieces

                    3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar


In Dutch oven

Cook garlic in hot oil over medium heat for 1 minute

Add: onion. Cook till golden brown

Add: fennel and carrots, cook (stirring occasionally, until tender)

Add: water, lentils, salt, and pepper; bring to boiling.

Reduce heat, simmer, uncovered, about 25 to 30 minutes. (Until lentils are tender)


Meanwhile; in a large skillet brown sausage on all sides.

Remove sausage from skillet – with slotted spoon.

Add: sausage to soup along with red wine vinegar.

Top with fennel fronds. (Prep. 20 minutes) (Cook 25 minutes)









Green Bean Soup


Store the unused half of the vanilla bean in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic wrap, in an airtight jar for up to 6 months.


                    2 14-oz. cans vegetable broth.

                    1 medium onion, chopped (½ cup)

                    ½ of a vanilla bean. split lengthwise.

                    3 Tbsp. butter, softened

                    3 Tbsp. All-purpose flour

                    1 lb. Haricots vert, or green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces.

                              (3 to 3 ½ cups)

                              Steamed Haricots Vert (optional)

                              Herbed Sourdough Breadsticks (optional also)


In a large saucepan;

Combine: broth, onion, and vanilla bean.

Bring to boiling, reduce heat

Cover and simmer 10 minutes. (or until onion is tender)

Discard vanilla bean.


In a small bowl:

stir together butter and flour

Whisk into broth mixture.

Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly.


Add: beans, return to boiling

Reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 to 7 minutes (or until beans are crisp-tender)

Ladle into bowls. Add Steamed Haricots Vert. Serve Herbed Sourdough breadsticks


Steamed Haricots Vert:

Place ½ lb. Haricots vert in a steamer basket. Cover; steam over boiling water 5 minutes (or until tender)


Herbed Sourdough Breadsticks

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut half of a 12-inch sourdough baguette lengthwise into ½ inch slices

Cut into 1-inch-wide sticks.

Brush cut surfaces with 2 tablespoons olive oil

Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon snipped fresh thyme.

Place on baking sheet.

Bake for 16 minutes (or until golden brown)

                           (Prep. 25 minutes) (Cook. 15 minutes)







Beet Soup


                  1 3/4 lb .small beets

                    1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced

                    1 large russet potato, peeled, diced (1 ½ cups)

                    1 Tbsp. olive oil

                    2 14-oz. cans chicken broth

                              Salt & pepper to taste

                    1 recipe Roasted Baby Beets (optional)


Cut off all but 1 inch of beet stems and roots; wash (Do not peel.)


In a large covered saucepan, cook beets, covered in boiling salted water

35 to 45 minutes (or until tender)

Drain. Cool slightly. Slip skins off beets. Dice beets.


In the same saucepan cook garlic in olive oil over medium heat for 1 minute.

Add: potato; cook and stir for 5 minutes

Add: beets and broth, bring to boiling.

Simmer, covered 20 minutes.


Transfer half of the mixture to a blender container or food processor bowl

(Process in batches if using food processor)

Cover and blend or process until smooth.

Return pureed mixture to saucepan, heat through

Add salt & pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls. Add half a Roasted Baby Beet to top.



Roasted Baby Beets:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Wash 3 baby beets and trim tops

Fold a 24 x 18 inch piece heavy duty foil in half.

Place beets in center of foil, drizzle with 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons olive oil

Fold foil up and around beets;

seal with a double fold, loosely, leaving room for steam to build up.

Place packet on baking sheet and roast for 35 to 40 minutes (until beets are tender) Cool slightly, slice beets in half. (Prep. 15 minutes) (Cook 50 minutes)








Vegetable-Orzo Soup


Use the basil and garlic condiment, pistou, in other ways; Stir it into pasta, spoon over vegetables, top a baked potato, use your imagination.


                              ½ cup dry cannellini (white kidney) beans

                              4 cups water

                              1 Bouquet Garni

                              1 medium onion, chopped (½ cup)

                              3 cloves garlic, minced

                              1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

                              3 cups chicken broth

                              8 oz. green beans, halved

                              ½ of a fennel bulb, chopped (about 2/3 cup)

                              1 medium zucchini, chopped

                              2 medium tomatoes

                              2 sprigs fresh thyme

                              ½ tsp. Salt

                              1/3 cup dried orzo (or any small pasta)

                              1 recipe Pistou

                              Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)


Rinse beans; drain.

In a large saucepan, combine beans and 2 cups water.

Bring to boiling; reduce heat, simmer for 2 minutes

Remove from heat. Cover; let stand 1 hour.

(Or; if time allows, just place beans in water in saucepan. Cover; let stand overnight. Drain, rinse beans couple times; set aside.)  


Prepare Bouquet Garni; set aside.

In a 4-quart Dutch oven,

Cook onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil until tender

Add: beans, prepared either way, and 2 cups remaining water

Add: Bouquet Garni and bring to boiling, reduce heat

Simmer, covered, for 55 minutes.

Remove Bouquet Garni and discard.


Add; chicken broth, green beans, fennel, zucchini, tomatoes, thyme, salt.

Bring to boiling; reduce heat.

Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Add; pasta and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes more.

Discard thyme sprigs.

Serve soup topped with Pistou and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

(Prep: 15 minutes) (Cook. 1 hour 25 minutes) (Stand. 1 ½ hours)





Cut a 10-inch square of 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth.

In the center place;

3 sprigs parsley, 2 bay leaves, ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns, and 3 sprigs thyme. Draw up corners of square creating a bag. Tie with clean kitchen string. (You now have made a Bouquet Garni.)





Add; 2 cups ( firmly packed ) basil; 6 cloves garlic, halved; 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; 2 tablespoons olive oil to a food processor or blender. Cover and process or blend until finely chopped. Thin to desired consistency with an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil. (Eureka! You have now made Pistou)          








Heart Pumpkin Soup


                              2 Tbsp. butter

                              2 tsp. ground cumin

                              3/4 tsp. ground turmeric

                              ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

                              2 leaks, chopped (2/3 cup)

                              2 ½ lbs. pumpkin (or butternut or acorn squash.

                                                                peeled, cut into 1 to 1½ inch pieces)

                              7 cups chicken broth

                           ½ cup white rice, uncooked

                            4 cups coarsely shopped green cabbage

                              1 Tbsp. snipped fresh tarragon

                              Hosher salt & pepper to taste


In a 5½ - to-6-quart stockpot;

Melt butter over medium heat.

Add: cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon;

Cook and stir for 1 minute.

Add: leeks; cook for 2 minutes.

(stirring to coat with spices.)

Add: pumpkin cubes and chicken broth.

Bring to boiling; reduce heat.

Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

Add; rice, covered, simmer for 10 minutes, more

Add: cabbage, covered, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more. (or until rice and squash are tender)

Season with salt & pepper. (Prep. 30 minutes) (Cook. 28 minutes)












“I love simple foods; there is something so pure and honest about them,”

author Jana Kolpen says. “I just love having people over and watching them enjoy themselves. To me, that’s the essence of cooking.”


Jana’s insight into soups is the result of her stay at the small French farm Pistoulet, which she “chronicles” in her first bok, The Secrets of Pistoulet. While visiting there, she started cooking with her hosts–making a variety of soups, in particular, because the oven didn’t work—and watched the effects the soups had on other visitors to the farm. “Guests would arrive worn and withered and leave refreshed.


Today, Jana prepares her soups for company at her New York City apartment, where she is working on her third book. Most recently, she has designed a full line of dinnerware and serving pieces based on The Secrets of Pistoulet and featuring her hand-painted designs.


If you’d like to discover firsthand other secrets and recipes from Pistoulet, you can order the 72-page hardback book. AF81250, for $17.95. To order visit Web site at

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