Here at Mabel’s Labels, we love a friendly competition, especially when it involves food and charity!
This week, we held our annual soup fest. Mabel employees bring a crockpot full of soup, some money to donate to Living Rock, and an empty stomach. Everyone samples the soups and votes for their favourites. The winner gets bragging rights for a year – not a bad prize in a highly competitive office like ours!
Here are some of the soups we got to taste this year, including the winning soup! They’re the perfect solution for cold and busy nights. Enjoy!
Smoky Turkey Corn Chowder with Bacon *WINNER*
Makes 8 servings
- 6 slices bacon (4 ounces)
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds (halved lengthwise if large)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 medium jalapeño, finely chopped, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 6 cups (48 ounces) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken or turkey broth
- 1 medium sweet potato (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Two 4-ounce cans mild diced green chiles, drained
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 4 cups shredded turkey or rotisserie chicken
- 10 ounces frozen corn, thawed
- 3/4 cup half-and-half, plus more to taste
- Sliced scallions, for serving
- Chopped parsley, for serving
- In a large pot over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain on a paper towel and crumble into small pieces and set aside, reserving the fat in the pot.
- Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat, return the pot to medium heat, and add onion, carrot, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes more. Add jalapeño and cumin and cook, stirring, 1 minute more.
- Add broth, sweet potato, chiles, oregano, and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Cook until sweet potato is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the turkey or chicken and corn and cook until warmed through, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and half-and-half. Continue to cook until just warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning, thinning the chowder with another 1/4 cup half-and-half, if desired.
- Serve chowder topped with crumbled bacon, scallions, and parsley.
Mushroom Soup with Bacon and Croutons *RUNNER UP*
Makes 12-14 servings
- 2 pounds whole crimini mushrooms
- One pack of whole shiitake mushrooms
- ½ of a Spanish onion, diced
- 5 cloves of diced garlic
- 5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 tb fresh rosemary
- 1 tb fresh thyme
- 1 stick of butter
- 2-3 tb corn starch
- ½ pack of bacon cut into thin strips (optional)
- 4 slices of bread – any type will do, stale bread works best
- 2 tsp garlic power
- 2 tsp Italian season
- Salt and pepper
- Cut ½ pound of the mushrooms into quarters
- Sauté in stock pot or slow cooker over medium heat with a quarter of the butter until mushrooms have reduced in size – about 5 minutes
- Remove the mushrooms, put them aside for later
- Sauté diced onion in same pot or slow cooker with another quarter of the butter until the onions become see through – about 5 minutes
- Add diced garlic and to pot or slow cooker with the onions and let cook for a minute.
- Add the vegetable or chicken broth and bring to a simmer
- Mix the corn starch with the remaining 1 cup of broth to create a slurry
- Add the slurry to the pot of both once it has started to simmer and stir with a whisk until it is thick like a gravy.
- Add all the cream and stir.
- Add all the whole mushrooms, rosemary and thyme and stir everything together.
- Let simmer on low heat for 4 hours.
- Blend everything together using a blender or immersion blender.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, add more rosemary and thyme if needed.
- Fry bacon until crispy and drain the fat after done frying. Add to the soup.
- Let simmer on low heat for another 2 – 4 hours.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Cut bread in small cubes.
- Melt the remaining half of the butter and toss with the bread cubes.
- Added Italian seasoning and garlic powder and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Taste, adjust seasoning if needed.
- Bake in oven at 375 degrees until golden brown. Approximately 10 minutes, flip/toss mid-way through to brown all sides.
- Add to top of mushroom soup when serving.
And here are recipes for some of the other delicious soups we got to try: