As the days get shorter, the last thing you want to do when you come home from work is spend loads of time making dinner. We can help! Use your late-season harvest to make a pot of one of these scrumptious soups ahead of time, then freeze it. That’s the beauty of these easy freezer meals: You can have a delicious dinner (or lunch) ready in no time, even on your busiest days. Freeze soups in the right portion sizes for you and your family, then move the amount you want from freezer to fridge the night before to thaw.
Choose your favorite harvest soup freezer meal:
– Late Summer Chicken Soup: With a sweet hint of orange and the warm touch of bourbon, this recipe brings together late summer and early fall produce for a yummy, comforting bowl to warm you right up. Canned or dry beans can be substituted for frozen, and red tomatoes (fresh or canned) can be used in place of green. Have extra summer squash on hand? Chop it up and throw it into the pot with the carrots.
– Pulled Pork-Chipotle Chili: Packed full of flavor and with a touch of heat from smokey chipotle peppers, this chili is the perfect choice when a warming meal is needed. If desired, you can use 1 to 2 tablespoons of your favorite chili powder in place of the dry spices, and chicken, beef, or vegetable stock instead of beer. You can even make things super-easy by getting the pulled pork from your favorite local barbecue joint!
– Red Curry Sweet Potato Soup: Sweet potatoes and lime juice balance the spice from red curry paste for a delicious, creamy fall soup. When cooking this soup, be sure to simmer long enough to begin breaking down the potatoes, not just until they are fork-tender. This will lead to sweeter tasting potatoes and a more flavorful soup.
Here’s how to make these harvest soup freezer meals.
Late Summer Chicken Soup
3 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil, divided
1¾ pounds bone-in chicken pieces
5 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 large sweet onion, chopped and divided
1 navel orange, zested and halved
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 inch ginger root, sliced
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 cups fresh or frozen shelled peas or beans (such as green peas, black-eyed peas, or edamame)
1 cup sliced carrot
1 cup chopped green tomato
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
½ – 2 teaspoons kosher salt
Fresh thyme and red pepper flakes for garnish
In a large stockpot, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add chicken and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Pour in stock. Add 1 cup onion, 1 orange half, thyme, rosemary, garlic, ginger, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Reduce heat to low and partially cover. Bring to a simmer; continue simmering for 1 hour. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Reserve chicken pieces and discard solids.
Place same stockpot over medium-low heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining chopped onion; cook until onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add strained broth and peas. Partially cover and bring to a simmer; cook until beans are mostly tender, about 15 to 30 minutes depending on the type of beans used.
Meanwhile, shred chicken, discarding skin and bones.
Add chicken, carrots, orange zest, and juice of remaining orange half. Cook until carrots are tender. Stir in green tomatoes, bourbon, and salt to taste. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Let soup cool for 30 minutes. Pour into freezer-safe containers, leaving an inch of space from the top, seal, and cool for an additional 30 minutes. Place in freezer; freeze for up to 4 months. When ready to thaw, defrost in the fridge overnight. Add to a stockpot over medium-low heat; bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Serve immediately, garnishing each bowl with fresh thyme and red pepper flakes, if desired.
Pulled Pork-Chipotle Chili
2 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil
1 large white onion, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ pound pulled smoked pork
2 15-ounce cans beans (such as black, kidney, or navy)
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 12-ounce bottle brown lager (such as Modelo Negra)
1 – 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
1 – 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (or more depending on preferred spice level)
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon molasses
3 – 4 teaspoon kosher salt
Crumbled queso fresco and fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 15 minutes.
Stir in cumin, garlic, paprika, and cinnamon; cook for 1 minute to toast spices. Add pork, beans, tomatoes, and beer, stirring to combine. Stir in chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, cocoa powder, and molasses. Bring to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt to taste.
Let chili cool for 30 minutes. Pour into freezer-safe containers, seal, and cool for an additional 30 minutes. Place in freezer; freeze for up to 4 months. When ready to thaw, defrost in the fridge overnight or soak in warm water for 30 minutes. Add to a stockpot over medium-low heat; bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Serve immediately with queso fresco and fresh cilantro, if desired.
Red Curry Sweet Potato Soup
2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1 cup chopped red onion
1-2 tablespoons red curry paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1½ pounds chopped peeled sweet potato
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 lime, zested and halved
1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
½ cup shaved red onion
¼ teaspoon sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
Pickled red onion, chili oil, and fresh cilantro for garnish
In a large stock pot, heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil over medium-low heat. Add chopped onion and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining coconut oil, curry paste, garlic, and ginger; cook for 2 minutes. Add sweet potato, stock, and lime zest; bring to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are soft and begin to fall apart, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place shaved red onion and sugar in a small bowl. Juice one lime half over onions; toss to coat completely. Set aside.
Remove soup from heat. Add coconut milk, juice of remaining lime half, and salt. Using an immersion blender, or carefully transferring soup to a blender container, puree until completely smooth.
Let soup cool for 30 minutes. Pour into freezer-safe containers, seal, and cool for an additional hour. Place in freezer; freeze for up to 4 months. When ready to thaw, defrost in the fridge overnight. Add to a stockpot and gently heat over medium-low heat until soup just begins to simmer. Do not boil. If the coconut milk has separated during freezing and the soup seems watery, blend for 30 seconds. Serve immediately with pickled red onion, chili oil, and fresh cilantro, if desired.
Looking for more information on freezing your harvest? Check out our How to Freeze Your Harvest article!
Recipes and images by Sarah Ward