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Soups with apples, sweet potatoes and artichokes to warm your heart

10/15/2012 12:04 EDT | Updated 12/15/2012 05:12 EST
Sharon Hapton, founder of Soup Sisters and co-editor of "The Soup Sisters Cookbook: 100 Simple Recipes to Warm Hearts ... One Bowl at a Time" has nurtured and nourished friends and family all her life with soup.

She says soup is easy to make and can be prepared easily with whatever ingredients you have on hand.

"Don't be afraid of making soup. I'll look in my fridge and that's what I have and I make soup. What I love about soup is you can really make it on taste as you go.

"And if the recipe calls for a certain number of carrots and that's not what you have it doesn't really matter. ... I just love that it's easy, it's forgiving and it's therapeutic to make it."

Here are some recipes from the cookbook to get you started.

Okanagan Orchard

"This soup is a celebration of the Okanagan’s harvest season and a love letter to my orchard roots," writes Jennifer Schell, Soup Sister and food writer. "It was important to me, as someone born and raised on an apple farm, to contribute a recipe that stars this beautiful fruit. The apple is not only nutritious and delicious — for me it symbolizes home, family and love. I've also added walnuts, sage, thyme and parsley from my own backyard."

1 head celeriac, peeled and diced

2 Okanagan Ambrosia apples, peeled, cored and diced

1 onion, diced

10 fresh sage leaves

5 sprigs fresh thyme (leaves only)

30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil

1.5 l (6 cups) chicken or vegetable stock

Salt, to taste

Blue Cheese Crostini (recipe follows)

In a large pot over medium heat, saute celeriac, apples, onion, sage and thyme in oil until onion is softened.

Add stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, until celeriac is tender, about 15 minutes.

Puree soup until smooth. Reheat and season with salt.

Float crostini on each serving.

Makes about 6 servings.

Blue Cheese Crostini

1/2 baguette, thinly sliced

Olive oil

Fresh sage leaves

Blue cheese

Toasted walnuts

Bake baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 180 C (350 F) oven until dry and crispy, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add sage leaves and cook for a few seconds or until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Top each baguette slice with a smear of soft blue cheese, some toasted walnuts and crisp sage leaves.

Source: Jennifer Schell, Soup Sister and food writer, for "The Soup Sisters Cookbook: 100 Simple Recipes to Warm Hearts ... One Bowl at a Time," edited by Sharon Hapton and Pierre Lamielle (Appetite by Random House, 2012).

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Curried Sweet Potato, Carrot and Red Lentil Soup

"This smooth soup is mellow and slightly sweet, with a bit of spice. It is delicious to sip out of a to-go cup in the car or at my desk," writes Julie Van Rosendaal, cookbook author and blogger (dinnerwithjulie.com).

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

15 ml (1 tbsp) grated fresh ginger

15 ml (1 tbsp) canola oil

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

125 ml (1/2 cup) red lentils, rinsed

5 ml (1 tsp) curry powder (or more to taste)

1 l (4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock

250 ml (1 cup) water

125 ml (1/2 cup) plain yogurt or whipping cream (35 per cent M.F.)

Salt, to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, saute onion, garlic and ginger in oil until onion is softened.

Stir in carrots, sweet potato, lentils and curry powder.

Add stock and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes.

Puree until smooth. Add yogurt. Reheat over medium heat (without boiling), and add salt to taste.

Makes about 4 servings.

Source: Julie Van Rosendaal, cookbook author and blogger (dinnerwithjulie.com), for "The Soup Sisters Cookbook: 100 Simple Recipes to Warm Hearts ... One Bowl at a Time" edited by Sharon Hapton and Pierre Lamielle (Appetite by Random House, 2012).

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Sweet Garlic and Sunchoke Soup

Michael Allemeier, chef and culinary instructor at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary, created this soup, which Sharon Hapton calls "velvety and smooth and rich. It is so delicious. I just love it. He made it for the (Soup Sisters) launch here in Calgary and he grew all the sunchokes in his backyard, which was just amazing."

Sunchoke is another name for the Jerusalem artichoke. This tuber is actually a member of the sunflower family and not an artichoke at all. It has an earthy flavour, reminiscent of sunflower seeds.

1 kg (2 lb) Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed

75 ml (1/3 cup) canola oil

2 large onions, diced

2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, washed and sliced

15 whole cloves garlic

30 ml (2 tbsp) unsalted butter

2 l (8 cups) chicken or vegetable stock (approx)

Salt, to taste

Sunchoke chips, for garnish (recipe follows)

Heat oven to 200 C (400 F). Toss artichokes in oil and spread out in a single layer in a large roasting pan. Roast until artichokes are golden and tender, about 30 minutes.

In a large pot over medium heat, saute onions, leeks and garlic in butter until onions are softened. Add roasted artichokes.

Add in enough stock to cover artichokes. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, until garlic is tender, about 30 minutes.

Puree soup until smooth. Reheat over medium heat and season with salt.

Serve with crunchy fried sunchoke chips.

Makes about 6 servings.

Sunchoke Chips

Scrub 2 or 3 Jerusalem artichokes and cut them into very thin slices (use a mandoline slicer if you have one). Pat slices dry. Heat a little canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry artichoke slices until crisp and golden brown. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate and sprinkle liberally with salt.

Source: Michael Allemeier, chef and culinary instructor at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary, for "The Soup Sisters Cookbook: 100 Simple Recipes to Warm Hearts ... One Bowl at a Time" edited by Sharon Hapton and Pierre Lamielle (Appetite by Random House, 2012).

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