April Jeppson: Glorious soup season has arrived in Minnesota

Published 8:45 pm Friday, October 15, 2021

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

It’s finally soup season. I’m not sure if that’s a legitimate time of year, but I feel if you’re from Minnesota, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s that time of year when the leaves are falling off the trees. When the temperature is cold enough to wear a jacket yet warm enough for only a sweatshirt, depending on the time of day. When it feels good to have the windows open all day and almost too cold to keep them open all night.

April Jeppson

The other evening I had to close my bedroom window a bit because it was too cold even for me and my two blankets. As I crawled back into my warm bed, a feeling of comfort came over me. Ahhhh, it’s soup season.

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One of my favorite soups of all time is potato. I love the way my mother makes it. A little bit of ham and a lot of potatoes. If you have the time to do it properly, you make a good roux with onion, garlic, carrots and celery. If you’re short on time and just want to eat, you can cheat a little with a can or two of cream of whatever soup. Top it with shredded cheddar cheese and a few oyster crackers, and hot dang that‘s delicious.

Another fan favorite in my house is cheesy wild rice. This is one of the soups that I bring everywhere. If there’s a potluck, and I have the option to bring soup, this is the one I’m making. It reminds me of the kind of wild rice soup they serve at the Renaissance Festival in those bread bowls. It’s so creamy, flavorful and ridiculously easy to prepare.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret, but you need to lean in. Get really close because I’m only going to share this with you once. I use the yellow Shore Lunch brand of Creamy Wild Rice Soup Mix as my starter. I make it as directed. Then at the end, I’ll add a large can of chicken, two cups of shredded cheddar cheese and enough milk to get it to the consistency that I want. Those little additions take it from being a good soup to an amazing one that will have your family requesting it regularly.

I’m going to add chili to this list. Some don’t consider it a soup but rather a category all on its own. I beg to differ. It needs to be warm, in a bowl and eaten with a spoon — I feel like that qualifies it as a soup. I don’t have an award-winning chili recipe, I just do what my family likes. We were tightly budgeted for so long that we learned how to cook with and enjoy eating beans. I like my chili to be pretty, so black, red and chili beans mixed with onion, tomatoes, corn and a lot of seasoning is all I need. Friends tease me that I don’t put meat in my chili, but frankly I don’t think it needs it. Chili is just another transport to get cheese in my belly.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.