Classic Soups – With a Twist

By Christina Shepherd McGuire // Photography by Paulette Phlipot

For me, hearty winter soups bring back childhood memories of cozy Sunday nights and football games. With each spoonful of goodness, I can hear the announcers’ voices and the cheers from the crowd. I imagine orange and yellow leaves on the ground, or the very first snowfall, and the feel of family nestled around the kitchen enjoying a from-scratch meal.

A few regular recipes fell into rotation back then, including Chicken Pot Pie, a Pennsylvania Dutch rendition of a homemade chicken noodle soup. Unlike the American flaky crust variety, Lancaster County “pot pie” was originally made from leftovers served in a broth with homemade egg noodles. It was named “bott boi” by the German and Swiss immigrants who settled the region and spoke Deitsch, a dialect of German. Later, English speakers like my parents who grew up in southeastern Pennsylvania, morphed the name to “pot pie” or “slippery noodle pot pie,” as some referred to the dish. So, I never really knew of the crusted variety until I tasted its goodness as an adult. 

Like me, most families rely on classic soup recipes to warm the winter soul and bring a touch of nostalgia into the home. Whether it’s your grandmother’s chicken soup recipe, or Uncle Larry’s famous tomato bisque with grilled cheese (perfect for a Super Bowl party), soups and memories go hand in hand. 

That’s why I thought it might be nice to take recipes that conjure memories and give them a little twist. Let’s add lasagna noodles to the chicken soup, coconut milk to the tomato bisque, and shiitakes and brie to a classic potato and leek offering for an out-of-the-box rendition of what grandma used to make.

Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Pot Pie (Bott Boi)

(Like my mother used to make)

Serves 6, with leftovers

For this recipe, you can make your own egg noodles (like the Pennsylvania Dutch), or add cooked or fresh homemade lasagna noodles for a simpler hack.

For the broth:
  • 1 4- to 5- pound whole roasting chicken
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 s talks of celery, cut in quarters
  • 2 large sprigs flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped, plus two tablespoons for garnish
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 quarts water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
For the soup:
  • Reserved broth
  • 2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, halved, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 stalks of celery sliced, (without leaves)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • Sprinkle of red pepper powder
  • (like Piment d’Espelette)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
For the BROTH:
  1. Place chicken, onion, garlic, celery, sprigs of parsley and thyme, bay leaves, and water in a large stockpot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a rolling simmer and cook for about one hour until the chicken is done. 
  2. Add the homemade noodles a little at a time, stir and simmer for 8 minutes or until noodles taste done
  3. (al dente). Or, add cooked packaged noodles and simmer until warm.
  4. Once cool, pull the meat from the bones and shred it.
For the noodles:
  1. Lightly flour a large cookie sheet and set aside.
  2. Add flour, salt, and eggs to the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until a dough forms.
  3. Drizzle in 2/3 cup of milk with the mixer running. (Add more milk if crumbly.)
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and sprinkle flour on top of the dough and onto a rolling pin.
  5. Roll the dough to 1/8-inch thick, keeping it in a rough rectangle. 
  6. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the dough into 1- to 2-inch squares, then transfer the dough to the floured sheet pan. (Lightly flour in between rows)

    * Alternately, cook one package of lasagna noodles in boiling water until slightly underdone, strain and toss
    with olive oil.
For the soup:
  1. Bring the reserved stock to a low boil. Add the vegetables and chicken.
  2. Add the homemade noodles a little at a time, stir, and simmer for 8 minutes or until done (al dente). If using prepared lasagna noodles instead, add to pot and simmer just to soften and heat through.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste and top with fresh parsley before serving.

*Recipe adapted from

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup with Coconut Milk (Dairy-Free)

Serves 4

This version of tomato basil soup puts an Asian-fusion twist on things and can be made vegan by adding vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

For the roasted tomatoes:
  •       3  pounds Roma tomatoes, cut in half
  •       6 garlic cloves, peeled
  •       3  tablespoons olive oil
For the soup:
  • 1  tablespoon olive oil
  • 1  yellow onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil, chopped, plus more for garish
  • 1  teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2  teaspoon fresh oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2  cups chicken or vegetable stock 
  • 1/3  cup full fat coconut milk, plus more for drizzling
  • Crusty croutons (store-bought or homemade)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. Place the tomatoes cut side up on the baking sheet, add the peeled garlic, and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Stir and add the basil, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, stock, and coconut milk. Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and add the roasted tomatoes and garlic. Cool slightly before using an immersion blender to purée the soup. Alternatively, use a blender or food processor. 
  6. Return the soup to the pot, reheat, and serve, topped with a drizzle of coconut milk, chopped fresh basil, and crusty croutons.

*Recipe adapted from

Chunky Potato Leek and Shiitake Soup (with Brie Toast)

Serves 6

Sometimes you want a little substance in a puréed soup. That’s why I added shiitakes and brie toast
and decided not to blend the entirety of the ingredients.

For the soup:
  • 6 medium leeks (white portion only), thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound fresh shiitakes, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 ½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 4 cups chicken broth, plus more, if needed
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped, for garnish
For the TOAST:
  •  12 slices 460 Bread baguette
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces Brie, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  1. In a stock pot, sauté the leeks, mushrooms, tarragon, and pepper in 2 tablespoons butter for 8 to 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are done.
  2. Remove from heat, ladle out one large scoop of potatoes and mushrooms and reserve. Stir in cream.
  3. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup. Alternatively, use a blender or food processor. Place the reserved potatoes and mushrooms back into the soup and stir. Reheat on low.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Place bread slices on an ungreased baking sheet. Drizzle both sides with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until toasted. Remove from oven.
  5. Turn oven to broil. Spread one side of each slice with melted butter. Place Brie on buttered side of toast.
  6. Broil toast 6 inches from the heat until cheese melts (about 1 minute). 
  7. Ladle the soup into bowls, place 2 pieces of toast in each bowl, and top with chives.

*Toast recipe adapted from