So Beethoven, You Want Cheese on Your Chili?

“Only the pure of heart can make good soup.” Beethoven once said.
“So Beethoven, You Want Cheese on Your Chili?” I once said.
I love soup. Love, Love, Love it.

I love Halloween.  Love, Love, Love it.

(Yes, still decorating my Beethoven bust.)
So I LOVE Halloween. But not in a Martha complicated, over-done way. In a simple, old fashioned way. Much like the Halloweens of my childhood.  That’s what I do each year. I try to re-create that simple Halloween spirit I remember. For me, that gets harder and harder to do.
But that is how my annual Soup Party on Halloween started. As a simple, fun tradition that gave me the Halloween spirit.
It’s interesting how traditions begin and why.
Many moons ago, when I moved out of the house (my parent’s house, that is) I began a tradition that gave me the same warm fuzzies of being home on Halloween. In this case, it was automatic. I made a pot of chili and a pan of cornbread because it felt like home. It transported me to my childhood Halloweens. Why? Well, because my Mom always made a big pot of chili before we headed out for a night of trick-or-treating. My soup party tradition grew out of that simple pot of chili and cornbread.
Even before I had a child, I made chili and dressed up for Halloween. I passed out candy and sought out events for young-uns who I could help with. I’ve never done the scary stuff, with guts and blood and monsters.
Which brings me to now. I’m hosting my annual Halloween Soup Party this weekend. And if what Beethoven suspects is true, that good soup only comes from one who is pure of heart, well, I might be trouble. Most likely. Probably.
Doesn’t that Beethoven quote remind you a bit of the standard for the Great Pumpkin? It does me. Only the pure of heart can make good soup. And only the most sincere pumpkin patch will get a visit from the Great Pumpkin.

picture from Wikipedia

(One year I costumed my beloved truck as the Charlie Brown pumpkin patch and my beloved daughter dressed as a pumpkin. I was the scarecrow….So fun. What’s NOT to love about Halloween?)
Anyway, this year I wonder—-since my heart is likely not pure enough to make good soup, must I somehow try to compensate? Must the soup be incredibly amazingly delicious so I have some room for some slack?
In any event, I’m hoping you’ll help me with SOUP PARTY menu.
I know I’ll make turkey chili, ‘cause I always do. And, I’ll make MaryJane’s Harvest Stew that I renamed for Halloween (recipe below), ‘cause I have for three years now. But what else?
Tell me what kind of soup to make and I’ll make the two or three that get the most mention here. (My only request is that it be meatless or fish or poultry. No beef. No pork.)
I’m hoping you sweet Farmgirl friends will help me out here. I’ll put one of those soups right in here on Halloween. My favorite soup tureen.

(And if you’ve got a great recipe, share that too. Or direct us to your blog or a website where it is posted. Hey! Why don’t we have a SOUP PARTY on our blogs? Post your recipe and come back and post a link. Woohoo!)
Leave a comment if you have time. What is your favorite kind of soup? What soup should I make? (And give us a link to your recipe if you post it.)
And if you’ve got some good, old fashioned ideas for Halloween activities, or memories from childhood Halloweens, we’d love to hear them!

You rock! You know you do!

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah

MaryJane’s Harvest Stew
a/k/a MaryJane’s Vampire Stew
(The only change I make is not adding the meat. I can’t remember exactly where this recipe came from. Perhaps from an article about her and her farm in Country Home. Was that it? Anyway, her recipe is perfect as it is. I make it exactly according to the recipe when I don’t mind the chicken. You won’t be disappointed. It’s so delicious!)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
½ cup sliced leeks
3 cloves, garlic, minced
2 TBSP olive oil
14 cups 1 inch pieces harvest vegetables and fruits, such as peeled sweet potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled butternut squash, peeled beets, Granny Smith apples, and/or peeled parsnips
8 cups chicken broth
1 cup pitted green olives, chopped
2 TBSP finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 TBSP ground cumin
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cardamom
3 strips orange peel, white pith removed
2 bay leaves
½ cup snipped fresh Italian parsley
½ cup snipped fresh mint
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
½ cup chopped pistachio nuts, toasted
In a large kettle, cook chicken, onions, leeks and garlic in hot oil until brown. Stir in harvest vegetables and fruits, broth, olives, ginger, cumin, paprika, pepper, salt, cardamom, peel, and bay leaves. Bring stew to boiling. Boil, uncovered, 5 minutes. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 40-50 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove and discard bay leaves. Stir in parsley, mint, almonds, and pistachio nuts, just before serving.
Makes 10 to 12 servings.

I always add lots of beets to get that beautiful red color.

  1. Debbie says:

    Hey Rebekah! Your vampire soup looks de-lish… might be too pretty to eat! I love your tradition of creating home spun memories of your own with SOUP!I share your love of making soup for certain occasions. When ever we have a guest fly in from various points of the world, I always put on a big pot of homemade chicken soup, complete with honey cornbread and a salad…Our guests always enjoy a warm bowl of soup after a long day of traveling and it’s light on the tummy too! I put on a pot of Chili or we make meat ball subs on Halloween! I’m looking forward to seeing what your farmgirl readers dish up in the way of soup recipes!

    Happy Halloween!

  2. carol branum says:

    hi,I love Holloween too,its my favorite,Love it that you added all of the beets for color.The Square dancers had a party last fri at Wheatland Mo,witch is about 100 miles from Lamar,but I went and it was simply awsome.They had a hudge iron caldron outdoors that they cooked stew in,and bales of hay all around and paper sacks filled with sand and candles for lights.All of the ladies tryed to out do each other on deserts,and their outfits were dancing outfits made out of Holloween fabrics.with extra ruffles and aprons of different colors of Holloween fabric.It was a fun evening.My favorite childhood memory of Holloween was recieving Betsy McCall paper dolls instead of candy.I don,t have any vegan recipies,but Momma always used a soup bone in her soup,and added barley.There was not much meat in her soup.Have a great day!Carol Branum,

  3. Shery says:

    Rebekah, Thanks so much for sharing the harvest soup recipe. I bought a beautiful pumpkin tureen recently and I’ve been looking for just the right recipe to ‘make & take’ for our Thanksgiving get-together.

    In regards to your request for soup recipe suggestions, many folks love potato soup and there are gobs of good recipes. The addition of yummy dumplings or ‘fat’ noodles takes potato soup from being a "comfort food" to much more interesting. I like the firm sort of dumpling…chewy, Spaetzle style. VERY easy to do too – eggs, flour, salt – then drop them in teaspoon size ‘glops’ in the hot soup for about 10 minutes before serving. My mother prefers the soft kind that are like floating raft of biscuits. You drop larger glops of biscuit dough into hot soup until you cannot see liquid. Cover the pot and let the biscuits cook for about 15 minutes – until the tops are dry and done looking. These are good with just about ANY soup or stew. You’ve got your bread and soup in the same pot. Serve it up with a large ladle and include a couple of biscuits in each bowl.

    I look forward to checking back to see the other recipes that are sure to come. LOVE soup!

  4. Tara says:

    Funny, just yesterday I was posting about my weekend full of soup making. I had just about the book 400 Soups from Borders and am in LOVE with all the photos. This past weekend’s soup fiesta started with a monster pot of chicken stock, into which I threw all sorts of "exotic" spices. This stock was then turned into a Thai chicken coconut soup that everyone raved about and a huge pot of cream of cauliflower soup, which I am still savoring several days later. I don’t know if I’m allowed to repost the recipes, as they are copyrighted, but they certainly were delish and great options for a Halloween soup party. Enjoy

  5. Keleen says:

    How about a pumpkin or butternut squash soup? There are many great recipes online. has some good ones. Enjoy your party!

  6. Martha says:

    Try pumpkin soup. It is rich and almost like a cheese based soup, delicious!

  7. Amy J. says:

    I just made an amazing Potato Leek soup. Here’s the link:

    It does have a little bacon which gives it a great smoky flavor, but I suppose you could omit that. Happy Halloween!

  8. Val says:

    You should do a pumpkin soup for your party. Pretty color and great flavor. I’ve got such an easy recipe too. Saute a chopped onion in 2 tbsp butter. Add 10-oz frozen corn, cook 2-3 minutes. Stir in a 16-oz can of pumpkin, 2 c water, 2 chicken bouillon cubes, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 1/2 tsp salt, a pinch of cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook 5 minutes. Add 2 cups half and half. Happy Halloween!

  9. mellee says:

    Sounds like a wonderful tradition! My little one is five, so I have the pleasure of being totally into halloween this year. I love your soup idea, and i make a mean chili that goes great with grilled cheese ‘sammiches’ so I think I will borrow your idea so there is a nice hot pot to come home to after all that walking and candy-getting.

    Another idea for a soup is a brunswick stew. I am from Brunswick co., VA, and I KNOW how to make a mean stew. I even have a variation that doesn’t require i knife and fork to get through it. Just email me if you’d like the recipe. And thanks again for such a great tradion idea.

    Happy Halloween!

  10. MaryFrantic says:

    Two of MY groups of friends are now making "Group Soup". Each person brings a can of soup (their choice) and we open and heat ALL of them TOGETHER!…sounds awful; tastes terrific!

  11. Sandy says:

    Cream of Mushroom and cream of turkey with Wild Rice. yum.

  12. sue says:

    Tomato Basil soup or creamy potato soup are the favorites at my house. I usually serve crunchy bread sticks with them. Yum!
    My kids are grown but on Halloween we get together for scary movies,not the blood guts and gore kind, but old classics,or scary funny types. We sit and make up dialogue( No, don’t go into the water! for Creature from the Black Lagoon comes to mind.)We have a lot of fun.

  13. Shelly says:

    The soup and recipe look great!
    There’s one I enjoy making for a crowd that is so easy. Brown some smoked sausage (turkey should work fine) and add onion. Put in slower cooker with cans of broth (I use beef, but use what you like) and cans of drained Great Northern beans. Cook on high for one hour, then on low until you are ready to serve. Everyone loves that soup!
    Happy Halloween!

  14. Cat Carter says:

    Pumpkin puree, of course!!!! As long as the Grand Pumpkin from the Simpsons Halloween Charlie Brown spoof doesn’t find out! Yoiks!

  15. Marie says:

    I was about to suggest White Chili, but I agree with the Pumpkin Soup. Since the party is for Halloween, do the Pumpkin Soup and top it with toasted seeds from the pumpkin. Serve it in hollowed out little pumpkins. Have fun!

  16. Patty says:

    Good Morning! I am about to make the soup recipe you posted. The ingredients are very unusual I can’t wait to try it. I have a question. What are the greens I see in the picture? Is it the herbs?

  17. Catherine says:

    Minestrone! I have a family recipe that is out of this world. I’d share, but don’t have time to type it. Perhaps I can email it with an attachment? You’ll do it again and again.

  18. This sounds wonderfully yummy and I will probably be making it before the winter is through. Which here in Michigan is many months of soup. I have just started making a different soup every Monday. Its just myself and hubs and we have to eat it for at least two days if not a little longer and I am using my cookbooks instead of just asking hubs what he wants. Right now I am working my way through every soup in the The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen cookbook. I am saving the Turkey and Wild Rice for the week after Thanksgiving of course. It is too late for a suggestion for your Halloween soup but if your love soup there are a handful of really great ones in the book. I myself am planning on posting some pictures of the soups I have been making in a week or so but of course I cannot post the recipes from such a new book.

  19. Rebekah says:

    Patty, I hope your soup turned out delicious! Those were the beet greens. I chopped them up and added them to the soup. Yum! And so good for you!

  20. Tina F says:

    I’m way late on this post, but I LOVE split pea soup made from YELLOW split peas. Yes, golden yellow. I found them at our local organic store and I’m in love. It makes the soup less gross-looking to my kids and looks cool with the carrots. 😉

  21. Beverly says:

    Delicious! I made the soup. So GOOD!

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