January is National Soup Month!

During the long, cold winter, nothing warms you up like a hot bowl of soup.  The word “soup” comes from the French word, “soupe” (or broth).   As far back as 20, 000 B.C., this liquid meal has nourished and comforted people throughout the harsh winter season.  Since current weather and events are keeping us homebound, we could all use a whole lot of comfort.  The YPL staff thought it would be fun to pair our best homemade soup recipes with some of this year’s popular titles. 

We encourage everyone to join our Winter Reading Warmup Challenge and to log the books you read between January 1st-March 15th.  Every entry earns you a virtual ticket into a $50 Amazon Gift Card Raffle.

Without further ado, here are the combos we are serving up…

State of Terror by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny
A Thriller written by and paired with another Senate Favorite:

Kale-White Bean Soup – Shauna Porteus

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small white or yellow onion chopped or 2 shallots chopped
2 Garlic cloves minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced (optional)
2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans drained and rinsed or 1.5 cups dried beans, soaked overnight
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups water
2 cups kale stems removed and torn into 1” pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Optional: Cooked ground Italian sausage

1. Heat the oil in a 3 quart saucepan over medium heat until shimmeringAdd onion, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, mash one can of beans in a small bowl. Add mashed beans, broth, and water to saucepan. Bring to a boil. 
3. If using dried beans, then simmer over low heat for ~ 60 minutes until just tender.
4. Stir in remaining beans (left whole) and kale. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer about 20 minutes, until kale is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper
5. If using ground sausage, add right before serving
*Serve and garnish with parsley or a squeeze of lemon

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray
Historical Fiction paired with a classic:

Cream of Carrot Soup –
Eileen Fusco

1 Tablespoon of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Stalk of Celery
1 Medium Onion
3 – 32 oz. Cartons of Chicken Broth 
1 lb. Carrots, peeled and sliced
1 half pint of heavy cream

1. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in soup pot.  Chop onion and celery, and saute in oil. 
2. When vegetables are soft, pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Then add chopped carrots and boil for 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool. 
3. When it’s cool, blend half portion in blender with a splash of heavy cream.  Put in another container and blend the second portion of soup with splash of heavy cream.  Return both portions to soup pot and heat. 
4. You can blend the remaining heavy cream into whipped cream.  Serve the soup in a bowl with a dollop of whipped cream.

Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind by Judson Brewer
Food to heal the body paired with a book to heal the mind:

Chicken and Dumplings Soup – Mary Robison

Ingredients (Soup):

1 rotisserie chicken (or cut-up whole fryer or small whole chicken)
3-4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cut up (peeled or with skins)
Celery, several stalks, sliced 
1 yellow or white onion, chopped
Small bunch carrots, sliced
Garlic to taste
2-3 tbsp. butter


1-2 batches biscuit dough, made with prepared biscuit mix (such as Bisquick), canned “pop” biscuits, or your favorite homemade biscuit recipe
Seasonings: chicken bouillon, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, cumin (season more heavily if starting with a raw chicken)

1. In a slow cooker, or in a stock pot on medium heat, boil the chicken in water or chicken stock until the meat falls off the bones. 
2. Pick out bones and skin and discard; return meat to the pot. 
3. Add potatoes, garlic, carrots, butter and seasonings to taste. 
4. Simmer at low-medium heat until carrots and potatoes are soft, add celery and onion. 
5. Add water, check seasoning, adjust if necessary. 
6. About 20 minutes before serving, bring soup to a boil. 
7. Drop small spoonfuls of biscuit dough into the broth, so that the dumplings are completely covered and don’t stick to each other. 
8. Boil gently until dumplings are cooked and sink into the soup.
9. Stir in chopped parsley before serving.

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
A Hot Romance paired with a hot dish from one of the most romantic places in Europe:

Tuscan Farro Soup – Tina Lucchese

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 celery stalks, trimmed and finely chopped
2 large or 3 medium carrots, finely chopped
Salt and pepper1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup farro (you can also substitute barley or pearl pasta)
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 can chopped tomatoes (do not drain)
6 cups vegetable broth, stock, or water, more as necessary
A few big handfuls of baby kale, arugula, or spinach, optional but recommended
Generous pinches of dried parsley, dried basil, and dried oregano, to taste


1. Before you’re ready to start cooking, soak farro in cold water (you can add the water right in the measuring cup you measured the dry farro out in) and leave it for 20 to 25 minutes. 
2. Drain farro in a colander, add to a large pot (not the one you’re going to use for your soup), add water (about twice as much water as there is farro) and bring to a boil. Do not cover! The goal is to partially cook it before adding it to the soup; once boiled, leave it uncovered but balance a wooden spoon over the top of the pot. This is an important step as farro is starchy and prone to making water foam and spill over while it boils. Let this go for 15 minutes, drain in the colander, rinse, and set aside.
3. Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil and heat on medium; add onion, celery, carrots, salt and pepper, and a bit of dried basil, oregano, and parsley to start. Cook until vegetables are glossy and onions are softened (about 10 minutes). Add garlic, and stir; add farro, beans, and the tomatoes with their juice, and stir.
4. Add in broth, stock, or water; you can go with quite a bit more liquid than suggested if you like a looser soup. Bring to a boil, add more of the dried herbs, and cover, adjusting the heat so the soup simmers steadily. Cook, adjusting for seasoning and adding more broth or water if necessary/as desired, for 30 to 45 minutes. Test a piece of carrot or celery to make sure it’s really almost done; at this point add kale, arugula, or spinach, if using, and cook for another 5 minutes until the leaves have wilted down.
5. Taste and adjust seasoning, and serve with a snowy coating of pecorino romano or parmesan.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
A soon-to-be Hulu series paired with a classic Mexican dish

Tortilla Soup – Ana Gantzer (Traducción en español a continuación)







1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken broth
1 ¼ cups water
1 cup whole corn kernels, cooked
1 cup white hominy
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
crushed tortilla chips
sliced avocado
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
chopped green onions


 1. In a medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft. Stir in chili powder, oregano, tomatoes, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Stir in corn, hominy, chiles, beans, cilantro, and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Ladle soup into individual serving bowls, and top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices, cheese, and chopped green onion.

Gótico by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia
Una próxima serie de Hulu combinada con un platillo mexicano clásico

Sopa de pollo y tortilla


1 cebolla picada
3 dientes de ajo picados
1 cucharada de aceite de oliva
2 cucharaditas de chile en polvo
1 cucharadita de orégano seco
1 cucharadita de comino
1 lata (28 onzas) de tomates triturados
1 lata (10.5 onzas) de caldo de pollo condensado
1 ¼ tazas de agua
1 taza de granos de elote enteros, cocidos
1 taza de maíz blanco
1 lata (4 onzas) de chiles verdes picados
1 lata (15 onzas) de frijoles negros, enjuagados y escurridos
¼ taza de cilantro fresco picado
2 mitades de pechuga de pollo deshuesadas, cocidas y cortadas en trozos pequeños
totopos triturados
aguacate en rodajas
queso Monterey Jack rallado
cebollas verdes picadas


 1. En una olla mediana, caliente el aceite a fuego medio. Sofreír la cebolla y el ajo en aceite hasta que estén tiernos. Agregue el chile en polvo, el orégano, los tomates, el caldo y el agua. Lleve a ebullición y cocine a fuego lento durante 5 a 10 minutos.
2.  Agregue el maíz, la sémola, los chiles, los frijoles, el cilantro y el pollo. Cocine a fuego lento durante 10 minutos.
3. Sirva la sopa en tazones individuales para servir y cubra con chips de tortilla triturados, rebanadas de aguacate, queso y cebolla verde picada.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
Fantasy paired with a soup made of a vegetable/fruit named by Native Americans, who would bury their deceased with squash to nourish them on their next journey.  Read and see why we chose this pairing.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup – Z Baird







Ingredients (Sage Brown Butter):
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
6-8 large sage leaves 

Ingredients (Soup):
3 1/2 pound butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 cup sliced carrots
6 garlic cloves, peeled
sage-infused brown butter
2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
6 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or other vinegar)
cayenne to taste
creme fraiche and chive to garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Drizzle olive oil into large roasting pan. Add onion, carrots, garlic cloves, and a pinch of salt. Toss until coated in oil. Place squash halves flesh side up on the chopped vegetables. Sprinkle squash with additional salt.
  3. Roast in preheated oven until squash is tender and easily pierced with the tip of a knife, about 1 hour. Allow vegetables to cool a bit.
  4. Melt butter over medium heat. Butter will foam, and start to turn a golden brown. Reduce heat to low. When butter turns from golden to a light, nutty brown, remove pan from heat and immediately add sage leaves. Stir to infuse the butter with sage.
  5. Scoop out squash flesh and place in roasting pan with roasted chopped vegetables. Transfer mixture into large stock pot. Stir in chicken broth, brown sage butter, and maple syrup. Place pot over high heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low; slowly simmer to blend flavors, 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from heat.
  6. Blend until very smooth with an immersion blender, 3 or 4 minutes. Pass mixture through a strainer to remove any remaining fibrous bits.
  7. If soup seems too thick, add a few tablespoons of water or chicken broth. Stir in apple cider vinegar, a pinch of salt (or to taste), and cayenne pepper. Garnish servings of soup with a dollop of creme fraiche and chopped chives.