By Kara Kimbrough
The temperature has dipped slightly, so it must be time for homemade soup… right? Some of my favorites are chicken noodle, potato and corn chowder, ham and vegetable and chicken taco. I tasted this one while judging a soup and gumbo competition on the Gulf Coast and fell in love with the spicy flavors balanced with shredded chicken. It’s just as delicious minus the chicken if you're vegetarian.
Whenever I prepare soup, I always use an extra-large stockpot. Soup freezes well and defrosts quickly to create the perfect fall or winter meal in minutes. If a bowl of steaming soup prepared by someone else is your idea of nirvana, you’re in luck. Several restaurants around the state are known for their delicious versions.
Back by popular demand, are just a few of my picks for Mississippi’s top restaurant soups:
1. Corner Bakery doesn’t disappoint with a loaded potato soup that’s as delicious as the real potato version.
2. Basil’s in Ridgeland’s Renaissance and the Jackson area is known for fresh, tasty fare, including creamy tomato basil soup.
3. Scranton’s she crab is a favorite of diners at this Pascagoula restaurant. It's a rich, flavorful soup filled with, you guessed it, crab.
4. Many feel seafood gumbo is this long-time Jackson restaurant’s best soup offering, but I disagree. Seafood bisque draws its share of fans to Hal & Mal’s in Jackson every Friday, the only day it’s served.
5. Stop by Panera Bread and choose the bread bowl filled with steaming French onion soup. Soup and bread – in my book, it doesn’t get much better.
6. It’s a little chilly, so time to try the Wagyu chili at Dave’s Triple B in Flora. It’s thick, hearty and a complete meal.
7. Cream of crab sounds like an interesting soup. It is, especially if you sample Strawberry Café in Madison’s version.
9. In the mood for old-school vegetable soup? Look no further than Primos Café in the Jackson area. With a side of cornbread, it’s the perfect hearty lunch.
10. Last, I hate to play favorites among gumbo-serving Gulf Coast restaurants. Almost every variation I’ve sampled is delicious, but Mary Mahoney’s reigns supreme. It’s regularly shipped to fans around the U.S. It may be pricier than other eateries’ version, but you’ll forget the cost after the first bite.
Here's the recipe for my favorite shortcut potato and corn chowder.
Fall ’21 Potato and Corn Chowder
2 – 28-ounce bags of Ore Ida Potatoes O’Brien with Peppers and Onions (you can use whole potatoes, cut into small cubes, if you prefer
2 - 14-1/2-ounce cans cream of mushroom soup and 2 soup cans of water
1-2 cups crumbled cooked bacon (I use the bagged variety of extra large pieces, not bits - but you can cook your own)
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1-1/2 cups milk or heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
In a large slow cooker, place defrosted potatoes (or cubed potatoes) in the bottom and top with soups, followed by two soup cans of water; stir well. Stir in the corn, bacon and salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 3-1/2 hours or high for 7-1/2 hours. Uncover and stir in milk or heavy cream. Add more seasonings and milk or cream as needed. Cover and cook an additional 30 minutes.