Chase Away Chills (And Sniffles) With Soup

Soup is a staple anytime the weather is chilly or when a person feels like they are coming down with a cold. The warm, therapeutic effects of a delicious bowl of soup are hard to dismiss, and may sometimes work as well aSs the best medicines available.

While zucchini may be known as a summer vegetable, this popular squash is at home in a tasty soup any time of year. Top with giant, cheesy croutons for a filling and scrumptious crowd-pleaser.

This recipe for “Zucchini Soup with Cheddar Rusks” from “The Culinary Institute of America Book of Soups” (Lebhar-Friedman Books) by The Culinary Institute of America makes for a warming winter meal.

Zucchini Soup with Cheddar Rusks
Makes 8 servings

4 bacon strips, minced
2 onions, diced (about 21⁄2 cups)
4 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
4 medium zucchini, diced (7 to 8 cups)
6 cups chicken broth
4 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, (about 1 cup)
1⁄2 cup tomato puree
4 tablespoons tarragon or cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1⁄2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
8 cheddar rusks (see below)

1. Cook the bacon in a soup pot over medium heat until the fat is released and the bacon bits are crisp, 6 to 8 minutes.

2. Add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are a light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Add the zucchini, cover the pot and cook until the zucchini starts to become translucent, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the broth, tomatoes, tomato puree, and vinegar. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are very tender and the soup has developed a good flavor, 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Add the basil to the soup, and season with salt and pepper. Serve in heated bowls, garnished with cheddar rusks.

Cheddar Rusks
Makes 8

8 slices French or Italian bread (1⁄2-inch thick)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1. Toast the bread until golden brown on both sides.

2. Preheat the broiler. Scatter the cheese evenly over the toasted bread and broil until the cheese bubbles and begins to brown.

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