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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

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Archive for Soups

PRODUCT: Bertolli Premium Meal Soups For Two

Beefy goodness: our favorite from the new
Bertolli Premium Meal Soups. Photo courtesy


Have you seen the “soup opera” chefs in TV commercials, extolling the virtues of Bertolli Premium Hearty Soups?

The soups look just as good in person as they do on TV, and live up to the advertising claims that they’re chock full of fresh-tasting ingredients.

Indeed, the large chunks of mushrooms and zucchini we bit into tasted just-cooked and were full of flavor. All frozen foods included in the soups are flash-frozen to “maintain peak freshness.” As Bertolli has proved, when the ingredients going into the flash freezer taste great, they taste just as good when cooked.

Cooking is simple: Add the contents of the bag into a cup of boiling water and simmer. Five minutes later, you’ve got a pot of hearty soup.

We recently went to a tasting of the new line of soups, introduced by one of our favorite Top Chef contestants, Fabio Viviani. Having added professional spokesperson to his résumé, Fabio said that he’s now on the road 300 days a year.


Yet despite the unenviable travel schedule, Fabio was as energetic and charming as he was on Top Chef (or even more so, since he wasn’t battling other cheftestants and facing panels of judges).

Here’s the soup menu (garnish with fresh herbs and/or a spoonful of grated Parmesan cheese):

  • Chicken Minestrone: Roasted white meat chicken, beans, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, tomatoes and pasta in a hearty vegetable broth.
  • Roasted Chicken & Rotini Pasta: Roasted white meat chicken, pasta, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots and celery in a chicken broth.
  • Tomato Florentine & Tortellini with Chicken: Cheese tortellini, large chunks of white meat chicken, spinach and tomatoes in a rich tomato bisque with a hint of basil (basil freak that we are, we topped it with a chiffonade of fresh basil).
  • Tuscan-Style Beef with Vegetables: Large chunks of beef, mushrooms, yellow squash, zucchini, carrots and celery with bowtie pasta in a beefy broth.
    We happily consumed them all. The two we’ll buy again are the velvety Tomato Florentine & Tortellini with Chicken and the hearty Tuscan-Style Beef & Vegetables.

    Why not the chicken soups? We make a large pot of chicken soup every other Sunday and prefer our own. But those who buy chicken noodle soup now have a more sophisticated option.

    Three points about the soups:

  • “Meal” Soups: The 24-ounce packages, with the addition of one cup of water, yield 32 ounces of soup—enough for two adults. But unless you’re a light eater, you’ll need more to fill up on: a large salad, for starters. Bertolli paired the soups with different artisan breads, a nice touch.
  • Price: The soups aren’t inexpensive: The bag will cost $8.59 or so. But the price is justified by the quantity and quality of the ingredients you’ll be digging into.
  • Sodium: As with almost all prepared foods, there’s a ton of salt—mostly hidden, as the soups taste just fine. But one serving comprises 45% of your DV of sodium.
    Still, with the cold days of winter approaching, you know that you can walk into the house, open the freezer and enjoy hot and hearty soup in about 10 minutes. Start boiling the water before you hang up your coat.

    Learn more at

    Find more of our favorite soups and recipes in our Gourmet Soup Section.

    How many types of soup have you had? Check out our photo-filled Soup Glossary.


  • Comments

    COOKING VIDEO: Chilled Cucumber Soup Recipe


    We love elegant, chilled cucumber soup.

    It’s refreshing and low in calories—we use nonfat Greek yogurt instead of the whole milk yogurt and sour cream used in the video recipe. And it’s less costly to make than gazpacho.

    Cucumber soup is customizable in texture, from chunky to smoothie-like (you can drink the latter from a glass or cup). While the video host uses an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender or food processor for a finer texture.

    Cucumber soup is receptive to a broad variety of favorite seasonings. While garlic, dill and mint are traditional, you can change the recipe by adding basil, celery seed, curry powder, minced jalapeño, minced onion, shallot, tarragon, thyme and/or sage.

    Serve the chilled soup in plastic cups for parties—either with a spoon or as a puréed, drinkable version.

    We’ll be serving it as part of our Labor Day menu. Try it!




    JULY 4TH FOOD: Chilled Raspberry Soup With Blueberry Garnish

    This refreshing, chilled raspberry soup can be garnished with blueberries for a red, white and blue dessert. You can do the reverse as well: blueberry soup with a raspberry garnish. Make it in five minutes in a blender or food processor.

    The recipe is courtesy of, a great source of recipes with all kinds of dairy products produced in our second largest dairy* state.

    *The top 5 dairy producers, by total milk production, are California, Wisconsin, Idaho, New York and Pennsylvania.

    Makes 4 six-ounce servings.


  • 2 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup milk
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons
    juice and 1-1/2 teaspoons zest)

    A delicious summer soup. Have it for
    dessert. Photo courtesy


  • 1 to 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed, to taste
    1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
    2. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
    3. Garnish with additional yogurt and raspberries, if desired.

    More Fruit Soup Recipes

  • Chilled Papaya & Watermelon Soup
  • Melon Gazpacho
  • Fizzy Fruit Soup
  • Diet Fruit Soup


    CONTEST: Win A Gourmet Food Prize In The Gourmet Giveaway

    Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with tortilla soup,
    and enter the Gourmet Giveaway. Photo
    courtesy Wolfgang Puck.


    Fans of the Gourmet Giveaway know that our gourmet food giveaway went on hiatus in February, as we were building its new home on

    The Gourmet Giveaway is back, with three gift baskets from Chef Wolfgang Puck.

    All you need to do is enter your email address. To enter, go to, scroll down, and click the box right underneath the shopping cart.

    The gift basket is filled with Chef Puck’s Signature Tortilla Soup—which we’re going to enjoy again on Cinco de Mayo—plus other gift items from Chef Puck.

    The Wolfgang Puck soup line is delicious, certified organic and has several gluten-free choices. You know from the first taste that you’re dealing with top-quality ingredients.

    You can purchase the Wolfgang Puck soup line at fine retailers nationwide and online.


    We liked the three varieties we tried—Classic Minestrone, Signature Tortilla and Tomato Basil Bisque—so much that we can’t wait to try the rest of the 17 varieties of soups, including Creamy Butternut Squash, French Onion, Old Fashioned Potato, Roasted Red Pepper with Tomato, Thick Hearty Vegetable and Vegetable Barley.

    The gluten-free soup varieties include Black Bean, Hearty Lentil Vegetable, Free Range Chicken With White And Wild Rice, Signature Tortilla and Tomato Basil Bisque. See the full list.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Leeks

    Lovely leeks. Photo by Marlon Paul Bruin |


    On this past Sunday’s episode of Desperate Housewives, Susan Mayer had no idea what the long white vegetable that looked like a ginormous scallion was.

    While it seems improbable that anyone who has ever strolled through a produce aisle can’t recognize a leek, it gave us this Tip Of The Day idea.

    Leeks—a member of the onion species, allium—are in season now, and anyone who likes onions should cook some up.

    To those Latin students who know that allium is garlic: garlic is also a member of the onion species, as are chives, shallots and ramps (wild leeks).

    The edible portions of the leek are the white onion base and light green stalk. The bittersweet dark green portion at the end of the stalk is usually discarded.

    Some recipes use only the white base. Save the light green portion for salads, stocks, quiche, burgers, general garnishes and so forth. Or batter and fry them as fried onion stalks, instead of onion rings.


    Julia Child first introduced us to leeks in Mastering The Art Of French Cooking: leeks braised in butter (served with hot entrées, or served cold with cold meats and seafood), leeks browned with cheese and leeks in a ham quiche.

    We later learned to love leeks as a soup ingredient. Scotland’s cock-a-leekie soup (chicken and leeks), leek and potato soup and vichyssoise—that delightful cold summer soup made of potatoes and leeks—are the most famous leek soups. Leeks are also the main ingredient in three-onion soup, along with onions and shallots.

    Here’s a variation on that soup—a recipe for two-onion soup, made with leeks and sweet onions, also in season. Turn it into three-onion soup by adding a couple of minced shallots or garnishing it with chopped chives.

  • See the many types of soup in our Soup Glossary.
  • One last note: Leeks grow in sandy soil. Rinse them several times and look for sand.


    COOKING VIDEO: Pea Soup With Ham Recipe


    What do do with those Easter ham leftovers: make a fresh, spring pea soup with diced ham.

    Peas are in season, and soup never tastes better than when made with fresh peas.

    Fresh pea soup (you can substitute frozen green peas) tastes brighter and more luscious than split pea soup. Just watch this video with Chef Peter Sherlock.



  • Do you know your peas and legumes? Check them out in our Beans & Legumes Glossary.
  • Comments

    COOKING VIDEO: Spring Soup With Spring Herbs


    If you enjoy soup as comfort food, here’s a lovely and easy seasonal recipe, made with an abundance of spring herbs. The base is familiar—potatoes, onions and broth—but the quantity of fresh herbs makes it a completely different experience.

    The British chef provides both gram and ounce equivalents. Note that the products called double cream and single cream in the U.K. refer to heavy cream and half-and-half, respectively, in the U.S. We recommend using the half-and-half.



  • What other foods get lost in translation? See our “translation chart” of U.S. and U.K. food terms.
  • Check out the history of soup and the different types of soup (with beautiful photos). Not only did soup have to wait for fire to be harnessed; it also had to wait for a leakproof, fireproof vessel to be cooked in!
  • Find our favorite soups and soup recipes in our Gourmet Soups section.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Discover Pho Vietnamese Soup

    Add as many basil leaves, bean sprouts and
    scallions as you like. Photo © Simon
    Gurney | Dreamstime.


    Last night on “Top Chef,” contestant Dale Talde won the fondue Quickfire Challenge with his adaptation of the Vietnamese soup, phö (pronounced fuh).

    Phö is a symphony of flavors—one of the world’s great soups. It is a complex and flavorful beef broth seasoned with cardamom, chile, cinnamon, clove, coriander, fennel, ginger, onions and star anise.

    The broth is piled high with stewed beef, rice noodles, basil, bean sprouts, cilantro and scallions, and is topped off with fresh lime juice squeezed at the table. The ingredients create a heady aroma and flavor.

    Hearty enough to be served as a main course for lunch or a light dinner, the Vietnamese enjoy phö for breakfast. It’s a winner any time of the day.

    Learn more about phö and whip up a batch with this recipe.

  • Discover other types of soup and the history of soup in our Soup Glossary. Mankind is up to 43,000 years old; for the majority of our existence, we have had no soup!
  • Find more soup recipes.
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Healthy Soup

    It’s winter, it’s cold and soup is warm comfort.

    It’s also Healthy Food Month at THE NIBBLE; so combining both concepts, we’ve got healthy soup recipes for you.

    Starting with 10 tips for “enlightened soupmaking,” you’ll see that you don’t need to sacrifice flavor to make family favorites and dinner party soups.

    The Hot & Sour Soup in the photo is incredibly flavorful, is much more exciting than restaurant versions, and has only 143 calories per serving. It takes a mere half-hour to prepare.

    So, get out the stock pot and start cooking!

  • Find more soup recipes in our Gourmet Soup Section.
  • Check out our favorite garnishes for almost every type of soup.

    Hot & Sour soup. Photo courtesy Turner
    Publishing Company.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Serve Soup In Shots

    A large bowl of soup can be a filling first course at dinner. A shot glass of soup gives a satisfying two sips and leaves room for other dishes.

    It’s also a perky way to start off a meal. Simply fill shot glasses or small juice glasses with soup and add a garnish or two.

    Here, the first garnish on the tomato soup is a dab of crème fraîche (substitute nonfat Greek yogurt or sour cream). It’s followed by a julienne of vegetables—carrot, turnip and zucchini—fresh or lightly steamed, which make a beautiful pattern. Microgreens add the final touch.

  • Garnishes for soup.
  • Soup Glossary: types of soup.
  • 10 tips to make better soup.
  • Recipes, product reviews and more in our Soup Section.

    A glam soup shot. Photo courtesy, which sells plastic shot
    glasses and small party dishes.

    Comments (1)

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