Soup or bisque is a perfect choice on a damp or snowy winter evening

Kasey Wilson warms us up with two of her favorite recipes for those dreary winter days

Article content

Nothing warms the soul and fills the senses better than the aroma of homemade spiced onion and ale soup or a spicy squash bisque wafting through the house and steaming the windows.


Article content

The pale ale and smoked ham gives the onion soup a sweet richness and if you add smoked sausage to the squash bisque, it’s a perfect choice on a damp or snowy winter evening.

Article content

Both soups are wonderful served along with the winter greens salad and hot corn muffins.

Serve a hearty ale with the spicy onion and ale soup.  Photo: E.Jane Armstrong.
Serve a hearty ale with the spicy onion and ale soup. Photo: E.Jane Armstrong. Photo by icy onion and ale soup. Photos: /jpg

Spiced Onion and Ale Soup

Try this hearty soup with garlic croutons, a sprinkle of sharp cheddar melted on top and of course, a hearty ale to wash it down.

2 tbsp (25 mL) butter

4 yellow (brown) onions, cut into thin slices

1 cup (250 mL) diced smoked ham

3 tbsp (50 mL) minced garlic

¼ tsp (1 mL) ground allspice

1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme

¼ cup (50 mL) Dijon mustard

1½ cups (375 mL) pale ale

8 cups (2 L) chicken stock

2 tbsp (125 mL) cornstarch mixed with ½ cup (125 mL) cold water


Article content

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups (500 mL) grated cheddar cheese

1/3 cup (75 mL) sliced ​​green onions

In a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter and cook the onions, ham, garlic, allspice and thyme, stirring frequently until the onions are evenly caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the mustard, ale and chicken stock and bring to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Whisk in the cornstarch and water mixture and boil gently for 4-5 minutes to thicken. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and add salt and pepper.

Served garnished with grated cheddar and green onions.

Serves 6 to 8

Garlic Croutons

½ cup (125 mL) olive oil

1 tsp (5 mL) Asian (toasted) sesame oil

4 cups (1 L) 1/2-inch French bread cubes

¼ cup (50 mL) chopped fresh coriander


Article content

Add olive oil and sesame oil to a skillet over moderate heat. Add bread cubes and cilantro and stir for several minutes or until they are crisp and golden. Spread on paper towels to cool.

Makes 4 cups

Spicy Squash Bisque with Root Vegetables

For a hearty main-course meal, add slices of smoked sausage to the bisque and accompany with Winter Greens with Spicy Walnuts, Apples and Cranberry Vinaigrette.

Cranberry Vinaigrette

2/3 cup (150 mL) fresh or frozen cranberries

1/4 cup (50 mL) sugar

1/2 cup (125 mL) cider vinegar

1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard

1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh orange juice

3/4 cup (175 mL) vegetable oil

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Spicy Walnuts

1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) butter, melted

1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) cayenne pepper


Article content

1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground cinnamon

2 Tbsp (25 mL) honey

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

1/2 cup (125 mL) coarsely chopped walnuts


1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated

4 cups (1 L) mixed winter greens such as kale, escarole (curly endive) romaine, torn

1 large red apple, (something sweet and tart like Honey Crisps), cored and sliced ​​into 1/8-inch wedges

1/2 small red Spanish onion, thinly sliced

To make the vinaigrette: Place the cranberries, sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the cranberries pop, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Puree the cranberry mixture in a blender.

Pour the puree into a medium bowl and whisk in the mustard and orange juice. Gradually whisk in the oil a little at a time. The dressing should become smooth and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until needed.


Article content

To make spicy walnuts: In a small skillet, combine all the walnut ingredients and toss well to coat. Cook over medium heat until the nuts are lightly browned. Remove from heat and let cool, stirring frequently to keep the nuts from sticking together.

Arrange the butter lettuce on individual salad plates. In a large bowl, combine winter greens, apple and spicy walnut. Toss with enough of the cranberry vinaigrette to coat lightly. Divide among the lettuce beds. Top the salads with sliced ​​red onion and pass extra vinaigrette.

Serves 4-6

kitchen hack

Keep soups and stews warm on a buffet table for more than an hour by serving them in an attractive insulated ice bucket.

More news, fewer ads: Our in-depth journalism is possible thanks to the support of our subscribers. For just $3.50 per week, you can get unlimited, ad-lite access to The Vancouver Sun, The Province, National Post and 13 other Canadian news sites. Support us by subscribing today: The Vancouver Sun | The Province.



Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Leave a Comment