Here are two wonderful hearty soups to fill your kitchen with the kind of aromas that no canned or packaged soup can even begin to duplicate. 


One thinks of the typical chowder as being made with seafood but in fact, New Englanders often used a similar bacon (or salt pork)-onions-potatoes formula using other ingredients, including chicken parts. This chowder, which is thickened only with the starchiness of floury all-purpose or Russet potatoes, is great with a salad of dark leafy greens and some of the good common crackers now available on the market.

Serves about 6

4 slices bacon

1 large onion, chopped

3 ribs celery, thinly sliced

4 cups water

1½ pounds skin-on chicken thighs

1½ pounds all-purpose or Russet potatoes, partially peeled and diced

3 cups frozen corn kernels

2 cups half-and-half

1½ teaspoons dried thyme

Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Cut bacon crosswise into ½-inch pieces and cook in a large soup pot over medium-low heat until fat is rendered and bacon bits are crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, and reserve.

Add onion and celery to bacon drippings and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add water and chicken to pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove chicken with tongs, and, when cool enough to handle, strip meat off bones and discard skin and bones.

Meanwhile, add potatoes to pot and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Add corn, half-and-half, and thyme, and return chicken to pot. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes, until corn is tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve in shallow bowls, sprinkled with reserved bacon bits if desired. 


This is a sort of Portuguese rendition of lentil soup, made with kale as well as linguica or chourico, the garlicky, paprika-spiked cured pork sausages that are now readily available in supermarkets. (Gaspar is the best brand.)  Linguica is the skinnier, milder sausage, while chourico is fatter and spicier, but the two can really be used interchangeably. If you like a hotter brew, just add a bit of cayenne pepper. Serve with lightly toasted Portuguese rolls and a sliced cucumber salad.

Serves about 8

4 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional tablespoon for sausage

1 large onion, chopped

1 large celery rib, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice

1 (15-ounce) can chicken broth

About 8 cups water

1 pound lentils, rinsed and picked over

1 bay leaf

12 ounces linguica, chourico, or other garlicky cooked pork sausage such as kielbasa

About 8 cups slivered kale

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add onion, celery, and garlic, and cook over medium heat until softened, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth, water, lentils, and bay leaf, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet. Cut sausage into ½-inch-thick slices and saut?ver medium-low heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Scrape into soup. Add kale to soup and simmer for about 15 minutes to cook kale and blend flavors. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust thickness if necessary by adding a bit more water if soup is too thick or reducing over medium heat if too thin.

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Lobster!” (Storey, 2012). She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at:


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