Souper Bowls

Can the cans! Making homemade soup is so easy, anyone can do it.

Virginia Living magazine photoshoot in Harrisonburg, Virginia with chef and TV personality Tassie Pippert

Photography by Tyler Darden. Pottery by 16 Hands.

Soup has been good food for something like 20,000 years. Archaeologists suggest that as soon as humans invented waterproof cooking containers, they were filling them with water, vegetables, meat scraps, nuts, and seeds, placing them near a fire—or dropping in some hot stones—and letting the whole thing simmer into a nutritious, and perhaps delicious, stew. 

These days, according to the folks at Campbell’s, there are two main types of soup—clear and thick—and hundreds of variations within each category. Here, we’re sharing four recipes for thick soups that feature our favorite foods by the warm, comforting spoonful: a hearty chili, a traditional goulash, a robust chowder, and a very Virginia peanut soup. Warm your table (and your tummy!) this winter with one of these delicious soups.


Virginia Living magazine photoshoot in Harrisonburg, Virginia with chef and TV personality Tassie Pippert

Virginia Peanut Soup. Pottery by Ellen Shankin.

Virginia Peanut Soup

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3 ribs celery, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 2 ¼ cups roasted and salted Virginia peanuts, divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish: scallions

In a stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the butter. Sauté the celery and onion until they are soft. Add the flour and cook for 5 minutes, or until the flour is cooked through. Slowly stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil, stirring well to eliminate any lumps of flour. Remove from heat and cool for 20 minutes. Place the mixture in a blender (in two batches) and blend until smooth. Return to the pan. Add the half and half and bring back up to a simmer. Place peanuts in a food processor and pulse until slightly chopped. Remove ¼ cup to use as garnish. Continue processing the remaining 2 cups of peanuts until they form a peanut butter; you should have around 1 ½ cups. Add the peanut butter to the simmering mixture and stir well. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes, then place in serving bowls. Garnish with chopped peanuts, thinly sliced scallions, and a sprinkle of paprika or cayenne pepper.

Serves 6 to 8


Virginia Living magazine photoshoot in Harrisonburg, Virginia with chef and TV personality Tassie Pippert

Corn and Crab Chowder. Pottery by Sarah McCarthy. 

Corn and Crab Chowder

  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • ½ cup diced celery (approximately 2 ribs)
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 quart strong chicken stock
  • 10 ounces frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 pound freshly picked crab
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, optional
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • Garnishes: bacon, minced parsley

In a stock pot or Dutch oven, sauté the bacon to render the fat. When the bacon is crisp, remove the pieces from the pan and add the diced celery, peppers, and onion to the drippings. Sauté until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, until the flour is cooked through. Slowly add the chicken stock. Blend well and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the corn and cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the crab, heavy cream, salt, Old Bay seasoning (optional), and pepper. Add additional salt if needed. Warm through and serve. Garnish with bacon and minced parsley. 

Serves 4 to 6


Virginia Living magazine photoshoot in Harrisonburg, Virginia with chef and TV personality Tassie Pippert

Hungarian Goulash. Pottery by Silvie Granatelli.

Hungarian Goulash

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ pounds lean beef, cut into 1-inch pieces and dried of excess moisture* (I use tenderloin tails I cut off my roasts and freeze)
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 3 cups strong beef stock
  • 3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • 2 green bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika (hot or sweet; both work well)
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 8 to 10 Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound egg noodles, cooked according to package directions

*Note: As Julia Child taught us many years ago, dry the beef of all moisture with paper towels. Wet beef does not brown!

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add the sesame oil and onions, and sauté for 5 minutes or until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and beef. Cook until the beef is browned on all sides but not cooked through. Stir in the tomato paste and allow it to cook for about 5 minutes, until the sugars from the tomato paste begin to brown and crystalize. (This is called the Maillard Reaction and gives depth to the sauce.) As you stir, be sure the paste is coating the beef cubes to intensify the flavor. Slowly add the beef stock, stirring to pull up the browned bits of tomato paste. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. 

Add the potatoes, peppers, and paprika, and cook until the potatoes are softened, about 25 minutes. Add the caraway seeds and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon over the egg noodles on individual plates and serve immediately, before the tomatoes cook through. 

Serves 4 to 6


Virginia Living magazine photoshoot in Harrisonburg, Virginia with chef and TV personality Tassie Pippert

Harvest Chili. Pottery by Wendy Wrenn Werstlein.

Harvest Chili

  • 2 pounds ground beef, chicken, or turkey
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped
  • 3 cans (14.5 ounces each) kidney beans (assorted light, dark, and white), drained, juice reserved
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) fire roasted tomatoes, drained, juice reserved
  • 3 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Garnishes: sour cream, thinly sliced green onions, crushed corn chips

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, sauté the ground meat sprinkled with 1 teaspoon salt. Drain off excess fat and add onion. Sauté 3 minutes, then add the peppers and the juice from the beans and the tomatoes. Simmer, stirring frequently, for 10 to 12 minutes or until the vegetables begin to cook through. Add the beans, tomatoes, corn, chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Simmer until the vegetables and corn are softened (about 15 minutes), and then serve. Garnish with sour cream, thinly sliced green onions, and/or crushed corn chips.

Serves 6 to 8 


Tassie Pippert

Tassie Pippert is a lecturer in the James Madison University Hart School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management, a certified chef, and a certified wine specialist. She also hosts cooking shows at wineries and Un-Wine’d on VPM-PBS, a series pairing Virginia wines with her own recipes. It is her third series in a 30-year TV career.


This article originally appeared in the February 2021 issue.

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