5 Stick to Your Ribs Soups from Around the Country

by A Manly Guest Contributor on November 2, 2010 · 40 comments

in Cooking, Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Matt Moore.

Game day. No matter the sport, there are certain key elements that remain essential for entertaining: Great Friends + Excellent Food + Cold Beer = Perfection. Of course, having a 60-inch flat screen with surround sound and comfortable seating for all of your guests always helps.

The fall season provides ample opportunity for us to share in this tradition. These days, football isn’t just a weekend sport. Add in a Monday or Thursday night game, and it seems like I can’t turn on the television without catching players battling it out on the gridiron. Basically, right now we’ve got plenty of reasons/excuses to watch sports and hang out with friends. Life is good.

If you want to be the MVP amongst the crowd, you’d better bring your A game in the food department. I know where your thoughts are headed – game day should be about enjoying the game with friends. Who really wants to spend all of their time in the kitchen? You don’t. Me neither.

Be forewarned: serving chips and salsa, frozen pizza, and TGI Friday’s frozen appetizers won’t score you enough points to win in overtime. With that said, I don’t want to come off sounding like a food snob. I understand that certain foods should and will always be game day favorites: wings, pizza, hamburgers, brats, etc. So relax; I’m not here to break tradition. Instead, I’d like to offer up one of my favorite foods for game day . . . soup. Yes, you heard me.

Why soup? I’m glad you asked. First things first – it’s cold outside. There’s nothing like a hearty soup served with hot crusty bread to fight back the chill of autumn. Second – you want to watch the game. All of these recipes can be prepared well in advance of kickoff, allowing you to focus your attention on the game while guests help themselves to your masterpiece. Third – keep it simple. One pot, a solid knife, a can opener, and a cutting board are all you will need to tackle (no pun intended) these recipes. Last – it’s what the players eat – or at least Donovan McNabb gets paid to do so.

If you still aren’t sold on the idea, I’ve put together five different recipes for outstanding soups for men that span our great nation: a spicy chili from the Southwest, a satisfying clam chowder from the Northeast, a fine seafood Cioppino from the West Coast, a rich beer cheese soup from the Midwest, and finally a hearty gumbo from my neck of the woods – the Deep South. So, no matter where you are, I’ve got you covered.

Keep in mind I do realize the sensitivity of such an endeavor. Regional specialties, as described above, tend to have very loyal purists and enthusiasts. In that sense, soup for men can be a lot like BBQ. Ask ten people on the proper way to smoke a pork shoulder, and you are very likely to get ten different – and fiercely debated – responses. In other words, everyone has their own version or thoughts on the ‘proper’ way to create these classics. So, if you have a different way of doing things, or perhaps even a signature recipe, feel free to share in the comments below.

Oh and – Go Titans!

Chili-An all American classic. Omit the ground beef/buffalo and add in a few extra cans of your favorite beans for a vegan friendly dish. Pair with a Santa Fe Brewing Co. Pale Ale or a Yazoo Dos Perros Amber.

1/4 Cup Canola Oil
1 Onion, finely diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and diced
1.5 lbs 80/20 Ground Beef/Buffalo
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Cumin Powder
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Tablespoon Black Pepper
1 Cup Dark Beer
1 28 oz Can Tomato Puree
1 28 oz Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 14 oz Can Black Beans
1 14 oz Can Kidney Beans
Shredded White Cheddar Cheese (topping)
Sour Cream (topping)
Sliced Green Onion Tops (topping)

Preheat a Dutch oven over medium heat; add oil. Next add onions and saute for 8 – 10 minutes, or until tender. Add garlic and jalapeno peppers and saute until just tender, about 2 – 3 minutes.  Add ground meat and seasonings and cook until meat is just browned through, about 4 – 5 minutes, stirring on occasion.  Deglaze the pot by adding the beer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan using a spoon.  Finally, add the remaining ingredients, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer partially covered for 30 – 45 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve with desired toppings.

New England Clam Chowder a rich and satisfying dish, this soup is best served with fresh shucked clams. If you don’t have access to fresh clams, or if you are looking to save time and a few bucks, go ahead and purchase canned clams. Substitute the clams with fresh medium sized shrimp if you want a different option. Pair with a Sam Adams Boston Lager.

1 Stick Butter
½ Cup Flour
1 Large Onion, finely diced
5 Carrots, finely diced
4 Stalks Celery, finely diced
6 Large Russet Potatoes, small dice
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon Fresh Cracked Pepper
½ Teaspoon Dried Thyme
4 Cups Clam Juice
2 Cups Whole Milk
2 – 3 Cups Chowder Clams, shucked

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add flour and whisk constantly for 2 – 3 minutes to create a light roux. Next, add onion, carrots, celery, and potatoes; sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add seasonings, followed by the clam juice; stir and bring mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until vegetables are tender and cooked through, about 25 minutes. Next, add the milk and clams, allowing the clams to gently cook for a few minutes. Remove from heat, taste, adjust seasoning if necessary, and serve.

Cioppino – a dish created by Italian immigrants in the bay area of San Francisco. Rumor has it, at the end of a long day, the fishermen would return to the docks and be asked to ‘chip in eh’ some of the day’s catch for a quick meal. In other words, there are no rules on the exact type of seafood used in this dish. Simply use what’s fresh and on hand. Pair with an Anchor Steam beer.

4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
¼ Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
¼ Cup Tomato Paste
1 Bottle Anchor Steam Beer or 1 ½ Cups Dry White Wine
1 Large 28 oz Can San Marzano Whole Peeled Tomatoes, broken apart by hand with juices reserved
4 Cups Seafood Stock
2 Bay Leaves
1 lb Littleneck Clams, scrubbed
1 lb Mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 lb Large Fresh Shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail on
1 lb Halibut or Salmon Filets, cut into thick chunks
Parsley, chopped for garnish

Add olive oil to a Dutch oven over medium heat. When oil begins to shimmer, add onions, salt, and pepper; sauté, stirring on occasion for 10 – 12 minutes, or until onions are translucent and tender. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for another 2 minutes. Next, add tomato paste, mixing well to combine with the onions. Deglaze the pan by adding either the beer or wine, scraping up any of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon. Add the tomatoes and their juice, seafood stock, and the bay leaves; cover and reduce heat to medium low, simmer for 30 minutes. Next, add clams and mussels to the pot and cook covered for 5 minutes. When clams and mussels have just opened (discard any that do not open), add the fish and shrimp, cover and cook until both are just firm, about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and serve in large bowls, ensuring an even distribution of seafood and broth. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Beer Cheese Soup a special thanks to the great state of Wisconsin for this incredible creation. Beer + Cheese – It just doesn’t get any better. Pair with a New Glarus Brewing Co. Spotted Cow Ale.

1/3 Cup Butter
1/3 Cup Flour
1 ½ Cups Carrots, finely diced
1 ½ Cups Onion, finely diced
1 ½ Cups Celery, finely diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
2 Cups Beer
3 Cups Chicken Broth
4 Cups Whole Milk
6 Cups Sharp Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese, grated
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
Chives (garnish)
Crumbled Bacon (garnish)

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add flour and whisk constantly for 4 – 5 minutes to create a light roux, about the color of a dull penny. Next, add carrots, onion, and celery; sauté until tender, about 7 – 9 minutes. Add garlic, a few dashes of Tabasco, and season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Slowly add the beer and chicken broth, stir and bring mixture to a slow boil. Add milk, and return to a slow simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat to low; fold in the cheese, mustard, and Worcestershire. Stir until all of the cheese is completely melted – soup should be rich and creamy. Serve.

Seafood Gumbo a classic dish from the bayou regions of Louisiana. In these parts, every family has their own version. Making a great gumbo starts with creating a dark roux. Yes, you need to constantly stir the roux. If it burns . . . start over. Pair with Abita Amber Ale.

1 lb Andouille Sausage, cut crosswise into ¼ inch thick slices
3 Cups Okra, cut into ½ inch slices
½ Cup Vegetable Oil/Butter/Shortening
½ Cup Flour
1 Large Onion, finely diced
1 Large Bell Pepper, finely diced
2 Celery Stalks, finely diced
1 Tablespoon Creole Seasoning
1 14.5 oz Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
8 Cups Seafood Stock/Chicken Broth
1 lb Lump Crab Meat
1 lb Medium Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb Crawfish Tail Meat
Hot Cooked Rice
Scallions, sliced

Preheat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until browned; remove and set aside on a plate. Next, add okra and sauté until just tender, about 3 – 4 minutes; remove and set aside on a plate. Combine oil and flour, stirring constantly, to make a dark brown roux, about the color of chocolate; 30 – 35 minutes. Add the onions, peppers, celery, and seasoning; sauté until tender, about 8 – 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, followed by the seafood stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add sausage and okra back into the pot, cover and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, or until okra is just cooked through. Add the crab meat, shrimp, and crawfish; stir to make sure the seafood is immersed in the liquid. Turn off heat, cover, and allow the seafood to gently cook for 10 – 15 minutes. Shrimp and crawfish tail meat should be firm and bright in color. Serve in bowls topped with white rice and garnished with scallions.


Matt Moore is the author of the cookbook Have Her Over for Dinner: A Gentleman’s Guide to Simple, Classic Meals. You can check out more of Matt’s great recipes over on his blog of the same name.

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Potato. November 2, 2010 at 9:36 pm

That’s pretty gutsy to post a chili recipe. For every man I know (myself included) chili is pretty proprietary and everyone thinks theirs is the best and only recipe.

2 Duff California November 2, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Just pointing out, that while Spotted Cow (and actually everything New Glarus brews) is a GREAT beer, it’s only available in Wisconsin – they strongly believe in being local, and as such refuse to export to other states. If you’re not in Wisconsin or near it’s border in Illinois/Minnesota/Iowa, just look for another cream ale.

3 John November 2, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Gutsy to post a chili recipe and I agree with potato – as with all soup, there is really no recipe for soup. It’s soup – I never make the same soup twice. Whatever bacon or sausage or ham or noodles or vegetables or can of beans/mushrooms or cheese i find in the fridge or pantry finds its way in.

Another thing I like to gruff up and do once it gets cool, on a nice october or November day with temps in the 30′s, is open all the windows and put a couple 5-gallon pots of water on the stove to simmer all day with 10 lbs of beef bones and a few bags of carrots/onions/celery to make homemade beef stock. I make the aforementioned several gallons at once and freeze it in pints or quarts. beats the hell out of bullion cubes (just salt) or that water stuff you can buy in the store.

For a special treat, i build a fire outside and make my beef stock in a 20 gallon cast ireon kettle outdoors. But then again, that’s also how I make chili once in a while. Then again, I put beef stock in my chili. Now I’m hungry.

4 John November 2, 2010 at 9:59 pm

…. and this is about the 6th post that has made me want to see an “art of manilness cookbook”. Seriously.

5 Dan November 2, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Russet potatoes in chowder is a big mistake. Russets are baking not boiling potato, they turn to mush. Use a red skinned boiling potato instead, they hold up much better when cooked. my expertise you ask, a potato researcher and breed developer.

6 zack November 2, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Man, thanks for the great post! Pictures and recipes….couldn’t spell it out much better. Some of these look awesome.

7 Daniel November 3, 2010 at 1:05 am

Has anybody tried the chowder from the recipe?
Could you say that it was Chowda this world?

8 Ryan Tyler November 3, 2010 at 6:15 am

Cool list — I haven’t even heard of some of these. There’s a soup with beer and cheese? I’m not sure I could get permission from my wife to even make it…

9 Josh November 3, 2010 at 8:35 am

You need some noodles in that Chili (but that’s just my Kentucky grandmother’s opinion). And +1 on the red skinned potato in the Clam Chowder.

10 Mike November 3, 2010 at 9:00 am

You cain’t put noodles in a Texas chili @Josh :-) (note the jalapenos.. which are peppers from Texas originally, we usually leave out the beans too, all grassfed beef.. unless you really need to stretch out your meat due to budget..)

And I wouldn’t listen to a grandma on a chili recipe either, chili is manfood 100%, cooked up by gruff whiskery men named Cookie from the chuck wagon on long dusty trail chasing dogies!

There’s some things the ladies even grandma ain’t allowed an opinion on. ^_^ (God rest her soul in my case)

And you have to have it with skillet cornbread on the side which is quick and awesome. Extra man points for grinding the corn yourself.

For something really special and Southwestern though, use Hatch red and green chiles from New Mexico in the chili, and maybe a bit of hominy. You’ll feel like you just stepped into Santa Fe. Scoop it up in some sopapillas and nomnomnom..

11 Kyle November 3, 2010 at 9:23 am

I would eat any of those! They all look good. Great post!

12 Geoff November 3, 2010 at 9:55 am

Dude, you show a picture of what looks like the horrid Manhattan clam chowder (or maybe seafood soup since there are shrimp in there?) in a recipe for New England Clam Chowder?

That renders the rest of the article completely Skip-worthy for me…


13 Richard Williams November 3, 2010 at 10:27 am

“Omit the ground beef/buffalo and add in a few extra cans of your favorite beans for a vegan friendly dish.” (???!!!)

I thought this was a “manliness” website? Real men eat meat, and lots of it!


14 Miller November 3, 2010 at 10:55 am


You’re referring to a picture of the Cioppino. The photos precede the recipes. I’d be happy to help you out with anything else on this page that really confuses you.


15 magda November 3, 2010 at 11:01 am

It took me 2 hours today to prepare it, not to mention the shopping, but it was worth it!

16 Josh November 3, 2010 at 11:42 am

@Mike–”gruff whiskery … named Cookie”

So you _have_ met my grandmother. Then you’d know hunting, fishing, and making shine made her more manly then most of the men these days. There is nothing more manly than listening to your grandma.

And he stated it was American Chili (you can get Jalapenos anywhere) but noodles help stretch it. They’re cheap and never go bad.

17 Big Blender November 3, 2010 at 11:53 am

+1 to John with the AoM Cookbook idea!!!! I would definitely go for that!

18 Matt November 3, 2010 at 1:10 pm

I’ve had some great beer cheddar soups, but this recipe looks spectacular. My only question is what kind of beer would you recommend to use in this? Brown Ales or Marzens seem to me to be the logical choice, but I could see an India Pale Ale being a good choice too. Anybody have any experience with this? I guess if nothing else I could just make a couple different batches and experiment. Beer party!

19 dead_elvis November 3, 2010 at 2:12 pm

@ Matt –

I love me some IPAs, but you don’t generally want to cook with them. The bitterness that defines them as a beer style makes them unsuitable in nearly any recipe that calls for beer (the same goes for chardonnay or any other wine with much perceptible oakiness – don’t cook with it). Newcastle Brown Ale is one of my standards for cooking beer, but brown ales in general work well, as do Bud/Miller/Corona etc.

Rogue Brewing (Oregon) makes a Chipotle Ale that is a great addition to chili.

20 Jasanna November 3, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Yum! That’s true….a good game food IS soup…or chili. :) Going to go try these recipes….

21 Phelps November 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Ehh, throw all the noodles you want into that chili. Throw some chocolate in too. And some rice. And some skittles and ranch dressing and croutons.

Just stop calling it Texas chili. Because if that was your intent, you ruined it the second you put beans in it.

22 Rob November 3, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Pretty sure there’s an AOM Cookbook PDF floating around somewhere…

23 J.D. November 3, 2010 at 7:25 pm

The seafood gumbo recipe sounds pretty solid, except for one thing. We don’t put tomatoes in our gumbo. When traveling outside of Louisiana, people try to make us feel at home by cooking gumbo(with tomatoes). While this is an extremely nice gesture, I would rather you cook something from your area. It is why I travel, the joy of experiencing other things.

24 J.D. November 3, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Great call on the Abita Amber though.

25 Brett November 3, 2010 at 9:16 pm

For those of you of Slavic lineage or predilections, you can’t forget a hearty Borscht — Beet soup — Nothing like a hot bowl of borscht to get one through a horrid winter day.

26 Cwnidog November 3, 2010 at 9:24 pm

For the chowder, lose the thyme, carrots, and celery – chowders should be simple. And instead of russet potatoes, use Maine or PEI, or even Green Mountains, if you can find them. And remember there is *no* such thing as too much butter, so monter à buerre before serving.

27 Brooke November 3, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Love the recipes, but you left out the true Wisconsin beer cheese soup garnish, freshly popped popcorn!

28 Cambias November 3, 2010 at 11:55 pm

I put tomatoes in my gumbo, just like my grandmother did. And she was a fourth-generation New Orleanian and the daughter of a seafood merchant.

She never bothered with sausage, either — just a smoked pork hock or the butt end of a ham for flavoring. And where are the oysters? Pop some oysters in there at the last minute just before you serve.

29 Kazzerax November 4, 2010 at 8:57 am

Hey guys, love the recipes. I have one of my own I’ll throw up here for your enjoyment.

Picture recipe here, featuring yours truly. http://smf.rantradio.com/index.php?topic=973.30

boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
smoked sausage, halved lengthwise then sliced
green peas
potatoes, cut into hearty pieces. Peel them if you’d like, I don’t, just get rid of bad spots
onion, very small pieces
celery, sliced into hearty pieces
fresh garlic cloves, pressed
jalapenos, cut into very small pieces
lentils, drained
olive oil

Fry up the sausage on the bottom of the pot with the garlic, onion, and celery and a bit of olive oil. While this is doing it’s thing, cut your veggies. Put the potatoes in a bowl of water if they get done early. Add water once everything is cut up and lentils are drained.

Bring sausage, garlic, onion, and celery to a boil. Add everything else at this time and wait for it to boil again. Make sure not to add too much water, there’s going to be a lot of displacement. :)

Boil for an hour, stirring occasionally. Make sure sausage isn’t getting stuck to the bottom. I add cayenne pepper, black pepper, white pepper, oregano, basil, and hot sauce to mine in the pot. When I transfer to the bowl, I tend to do more black pepper, hot sauce, and grated parmesan cheese. It reheats in the microwave really well. If you manage to freeze some, [I always eat all mine before it becomes a problem. Feeds me for 3 days eating a bowl every few hours and little else.] I’d imagine it’d do just fine. If you do not have a large enough storage container, drain soup and add water before reheating.

30 Greg November 4, 2010 at 9:46 am

Nice list to put on the kitchen prep schedule – beer and cheese soup first this weekend. And, I do enjoy reading the comments.

A contribution – our ‘test kitchen’ Minestrone the latest post… and check out the Bolognese… http://gregskitchen.wordpress.com

31 John T November 4, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Don’t listen to your grandmother about chili? That sounds blasphemous to me. My grandmother makes the best chili I’ve ever tasted, from a recipe that’s been passed down through the years. The recipe on here sounds delicious, though.

32 Kevin D November 5, 2010 at 1:11 am

Great List. Just made the cheese soup, took 90-100minutes, but was totally worth it. Go easy on the mustard, use a real beer (nothing with the word “light”), and use sharp cheddar, (even, extra sharp cheddar). You can swap out “cracked pepper” with normal pepper, and garlic cloves with powder with light reprecussions :P

Next time I’ll cut the mustard/worchester dose in half, and quarter each carrot slice so they don’t take forever to become tender…

Reminds me of the cheese soup the Yeti from the Ice Mansion Temple in Zelda: Twilight Princess makes! (and that restores 8 hearts per dose!) :-D

33 Ringo November 5, 2010 at 11:34 am

Everybody has their own gumbo recipe. Seafood does evil things to me so I skip it and add chicken and where’s the filé? I like to use both okera and filé.

34 Ringo November 5, 2010 at 11:36 am

And I’m half Cajun straight out of Thibodaux and Paulina. So don’t doubt my gumbo cred.

35 Joe November 7, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Brett, Amen to the borshch, with dark pumpernickel bread. When it comes to “stick to your ribs” foods, we Slavs take second place to nobody, and soups are no exception.

36 Chris H November 9, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Titans? TITANS!?!

Them there ‘re fightin’ words!

Good thing your chili recipe sounds really good. Or you and me would have to tangle

Go Seahawks!
(not our best season, but it’s better than last year)

37 abefroman November 13, 2010 at 9:53 pm

made the chili, A-OK.

38 Tory Lynne November 14, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Made the chili to rave reviews, so thanks! Think I’ll be leaving the jalapeno pepper seeds in next time to spice it up a little =)

39 Jaczar November 16, 2010 at 6:38 am

No noodles in my chili, but macaroni? Yes! Chili-mac. For a treat, use mac & cheese from a box. One more thing I do is use moderate amount of yellow mustard as a spice when the chili is in your bowl. You won’t believe the enhanced flavor, but don’t overdo it. Doesn’t work so well in chili-mac. Mix well.

40 MatthewSD November 20, 2013 at 8:49 am

Cajun checking in. Gummbos would be watery if not for one of three thickening agents: roux (dark or light), okra (of African origin), or gumbo filé (ground sassafrass leaves). Adding muliple thickening agents is done by choice, though traditionally you would only use one.

Source: My father was an alligator and my mother was a hurricane.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

Site Meter