Oprah says she finds comfort in a daily bowl of soup. Yes, she downs soup in some form—cold, hot, smooth, chunky— nearly every day, depending on her mood. The steamy elixir gives her a sense of well being. It’s “honest” sustenance, she says. The TV celeb even has her own line of soups and sides, created by teaming up with Kraft Heinz a few years ago.
Oprah in Your Kitchen
Looking back, I wish Oprah and I had been able to talk about soup making during our TV interview in 2001. But we focused on 9-11 and my house fire, that had occurred a few days before the national tragedy. Maybe during brighter times, we could’ve gotten into our mutual appreciation of year-round soup slurping.
I thought about all that as I made a minestrone this week, a soup I normally cook in the fall. But I yearned for a bowl of soupy soothiness now! My favorite version has zucchini, carrots, celery, potatoes, spinach, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, leeks, and onions. Normally, I keep it vegetarian, using only a bit of bacon or pancetta to season the soffritto. This time I upped the flavor by removing the casing from a few Italian sausages and throwing in the meat.
My meal turned out to be quite satisfying. I only had a few crumbs of homemade, jalapeno-cheese cornbread, that Martha and Paul made over the weekend, but a slice of ciabatta came to the rescue. Cyndy had given me a splendid chardonnay, appropriately named Chateau Jean, that paired perfectly.
Kitchen Note: As to Oprah’s soups. The soup and sides have no artificial dyes or flavors, but there are nutritional twists. The Potato Soup is part cauliflower and the Broccoli-Cheddar subs butternut squash for some of the cheese. Food and Wine tested all of Oprah’s soups and concluded their favorite was Butternut Squash.