Stirring up hope and warmth in a bowl: Soup Sisters launches second cookbook

By , on November 2, 2014

Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers / Facebook
Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers / Facebook

TORONTO—Not only has Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers launched its second cookbook, but the non-profit organization that seeks to benefit women, children and youth in crisis has had some heavy hitters tackling its soup-making events.

Recently members of the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League and their wives and girlfriends spent an evening making soup.

Sharon Hapton, who believed that people suffering from two prevalent issues in society—domestic abuse and youth homelessness—would benefit from the care and warmth that comes in a bowl of soup, conceived the idea for the Soup Sisters organization in 2009 and has seen it mushroom to support more than 25 shelters across the country.

Each month across the country there are about 30 soup-making events. Each participant pays $55 to join the event at a local professional kitchen, such as in a cooking school or restaurant, and the group works together to produce 150 to 200 servings of soup that are delivered fresh to a local shelter. Events are social evenings that culminate in a simple, sit-down supper of soup, salad, bread and wine for all participants.

Three Stampeders team members—Keon Raymond, Randy Chevrier and Anthony Parker—also went through three days of intensive training in gender-based violence prevention with the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters. The program, which launched in September, is called Leading Change: The Alberta CFL Project, with the goal of stopping domestic violence and abuse against women.

“What was so fantastic about that was that these are the most wonderful young athletes who are standing up against domestic abuse because there’s been so many horrible things with (Ray) Rice in the (United) States and all of that,” Hapton said while in Toronto to promote the new cookbook, “The Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers Cookbook: More Than 100 Heart-Warming Seasonal Recipes for You to Cook at Home” (Appetite by Random House).

“They’re going into schools and they’re role modelling not only within their own families but for the community, so they’re talking to kids at an early age about what a healthy relationship looks like.”

Hapton spoke fresh off the launch of Soup Sisters the evening before in a 20th Canadian city—Guelph, Ont., with support going to Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis. In May, Soup Sisters branched out to the U.S., with the launch in Los Angeles making 21 cities.

When the Calgary-based Hapton started the non-profit, she called it Soup Sisters and geared it to women, and later expanded it to include Broth Brothers for men to make soup for youth 16 to 24 transitioning from street culture into mainstream society.

“I wrongly at the time thought that men wouldn’t come to events that had to do with domestic abuse,” she said. “I was really wrong about that. What I realized is that men are very eager to support, take a stand against domestic abuse. So it’s been a really interesting journey that way. Now really if you’re a woman you’re a Soup Sister, if you’re a guy you’re a Broth Brother. … Now most of our events are split 50-50 men and women in such a safe place for men to contribute to this cause, in the kitchen of all things. It’s fantastic really. It’s so important.”

In the second cookbook edited by Hapton, a followup to 2012’s bestseller, recipes have been provided by well-known chefs and cookbook authors such as Curtis Stone, Michael Smith, Ricardo Larrivee, Lynn Crawford, Rose Murray, Elizabeth Baird, Christine Cushing, Michael Stadtlander, Mark McEwan, Rose Reisman, Lidia Bastianich, Susur Lee, Vikram Vij and Yotam Ottolenghi, along with volunteers and family members.

Pierre Lamielle, a fellow Calgarian who competed in season 4 of “Top Chef Canada” and “Chopped Canada,” did the illustrations.

Easy-to-follow recipes have been grouped by the seasons and include gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian selections.

“In the first book we heard about how the shelters felt about receiving soup. In this book we hear about what it means to the volunteers,” Hapton said. There are numerous photographs shot at various soup-making events.

She frequently hears back from appreciative youth who have enjoyed the soup, with comments such as “just like Grandma’s,” but with women’s shelters “there’s a lot of anonymity. There’s a lot of shame that goes with domestic abuse. We hear back from counsellors at shelters an awful lot about how important the soup is to women at that time in their lives when they think nobody cares about them.”

Because the soup-making events are viewed as great team builders, Hapton said there are a lot of corporate bookings along with book clubs, groups celebrating birthdays or other occasions, mother-and-daughter or father-and-son nights and bridal parties who choose this instead of having a shower. In fact, the events are so popular, online bookings are being made well into next year.

Hapton is often asked where the soup can be purchased, so she’s now considering ways to market the soup with proceeds going back to the organization. “I’m really thinking sustainability of the non-profit so it’s almost the creation of a for-profit arm that feeds the non-profit. …

“What we’ve done here is we’ve brought community people together to make soup for women, children and youth and now I think we can provide that to the community.”


The non-profit organization Soup Sisters has published its second cookbook, “The Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers Cookbook: More Than 100 Heart-Warming Seasonal Recipes for You to Cook at Home,” with new recipes contributed by chefs, cookbook authors and volunteers.

Some 10,000 servings of soup are made each month by participants at soup-making events and provided to women, children and at-risk youth in about 30 shelters across the country.

The book is edited by Soup Sisters founder Sharon Hapton. Here are some of her favourite recipes from the book to try.
Apple-Parsnip Cream With Chorizo Sausage

Hapton says this recipe created by Liana Robberecht, executive chef of the Calgary Petroleum Club, is “absolutely delicious. Oh, my goodness. Velvety. You can’t have one taste. It’s amazing.”

For vegetarians, Robberecht suggests using vegetable stock instead of chicken and omitting the chorizo. For the lactose-intolerant, replace the cream with stock.

• 50 ml (1/4 cup) butter
• 2 Gala apples, peeled, cored and diced
• 500 ml (2 cups) peeled and diced parsnips
• 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
• 30 ml (2 tbsp) finely chopped shallots
• 30 ml (2 tbsp) minced roasted red pepper
• 15 ml (1 tbsp) minced roasted garlic
• 7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) peeled and grated fresh ginger
• 2 ml (1/2 tsp) ground allspice
• 1 ml (1/4 tsp) dried thyme leaves
• 625 ml (2 1/2 cups) chicken stock
• 250 ml (1 cup) whipping cream (35 per cent MF)
• 125 ml (1/2 cup) vermouth
• 125 ml (1/2 cup) olive oil
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 1 fresh (uncooked) chorizo sausage, casing removed
• 5 ml (1 tsp) sea salt
• 5 ml (1 tsp) pepper

In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add apples, parsnips, onion, shallots, red pepper, garlic, ginger, allspice and thyme. Cook, stirring often, until onion has softened.

Add stock and cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until apples and parsnips are tender, about 20 minutes.

Puree soup until smooth. Add vermouth, olive oil and lemon juice. Reheat gently.

Meanwhile, crumble chorizo sausage into a small skillet. Cook, stirring often, over medium heat until sausage is cooked through. Drain on paper towels.

Season soup with salt and pepper; taste and adjust seasoning. Ladle into bowls and scatter chorizo over top.

Makes about 4 servings.
Caramelized Cauliflower Soup With Roasted Chanterelles

Hapton’s 25-year-old nephew Jason Scharf, who works in a Calgary restaurant, created this cauliflower soup. It was unique, she says, being the only recipe featuring that particular vegetable out of a range of submissions featuring kale.

To easily remove kernels from an ear of corn, stand it on end in a large bowl. Hold the ear firmly with one hand, and using a serrated knife firmly slice off the kernels, allowing them to fall into the bowl.

Crushed Marash chilies have less heat and a fruitier flavour than regular red chili flakes. You can buy them online at

Roasted Chanterelles and Corn

• 375 g (12 oz) chanterelle mushrooms, wiped clean
• 500 ml (2 cups) fresh corn kernels
• 30 ml (2 tbsp) grapeseed oil, divided
• 2 shallots, minced and divided
• 2 cloves garlic, minced and divided
• 10 ml (2 tsp) finely chopped fresh thyme, divided
• Salt and pepper, to taste


• 15 ml (1 tbsp) grapeseed oil
• 1 cauliflower, trimmed and divided into florets
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 30 ml (2 tbsp) butter
• 2 large shallots, finely chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 125 ml (1/2 cup) white wine
• 1 l (5 cups) vegetable stock
• 750 ml (3 cups) whipping cream (35 per cent MF)
• 125 ml (1/2 cup) finely chopped chives
• 125 ml (1/2 cup) finely chopped parsley
• 50 ml (1/4 cup) finely chopped fresh dill
• 15 ml (1 tbsp) crushed Marash chili (see sidebar) or 5 ml (1 tsp) red chili flakes
• Extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish

Roasted chanterelles and corn: Heat oven to 230 C (450 F). Spread out mushrooms and corn in separate small shallow roasting pans. To each pan add half the oil, shallots, garlic and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Toss well. Roast until just barely crispy and golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Soup: In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.

In batches, sear cauliflower until golden brown on all sides, sprinkling with salt and pepper as it cooks and removing each batch to a plate once it’s browned.

Return all cauliflower to pot. Reduce heat to medium.

Add butter, shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until shallots have softened.

Add wine and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Boil until wine has almost all evaporated.

Add stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until cauliflower is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in cream and bring back to a boil. Puree soup until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve back into rinsed-out pot.

Reheat gently. Stir in chives, parsley and dill, salt and pepper.

Ladle into soup bowls. Divide roasted chanterelles and corn among bowls, then garnish with Marash chili and a drizzle of olive oil.

Makes about 6 servings.

jeffreyw / Flickr
jeffreyw / Flickr
Potato-Leek Soup

This potato-leek soup is one Hapton remembers as a favourite made by her mom when she and her sisters were growing up. “Our mother says she used cream from an elderly aunt who got it from nearby Hutterite farmers, so heavy it had to be spooned out of the jar! The soup makes a great base for all sorts of add-ins: frozen peas and corn, shrimp or firm fish are all good,” writes Hapton.

• 50 ml (1/4 cup) butter
• 3 large leeks (white parts only), thinly sliced
• 50 ml (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
• 1.75 l (7 cups) water
• 7 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 250 ml (1 cup) whipping or table cream (35 per cent or 18 per cent MF)
• Finely chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

In a large pot, melt butter over low heat. Add leeks. Cook, covered, until leeks have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually add water, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.

Add potatoes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 35 minutes.

Add cream. Simmer until heated through. Ladle up steaming bowlfuls and scatter with parsley, if using.

Makes about 6 servings.

Source: “The Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers Cookbook: More Than 100 Heart-Warming Seasonal Recipes for You to Cook at Home,” edited by Sharon Hapton (Appetite by Random House, 2014).