Seasonal Soups Make Autumn Feel More Cozy and Comforting

By: Karen Dybis | October 19, 2020

Photo Courtesy of Mudgie's Deli.

When it comes to fall flavors and warm meals, one of the most comforting and flavorful dishes that comes to mind is soup. Smooth or chunky, soup offers a tasty blend of textures and ingredients that can be adapted to any palate. 

Those are among the many reasons why chef and Mudgie’s Deli owner Greg Mudge said his creative mind turns to soup and soup recipes when Michigan’s weather starts to cool. He said Mudgie’s Deli always has soup on its menu, but he likes to change up what he offers for the autumn months both for customers and for himself as well. 

“It’s one of my personal favorite things to do,” Mudge said. “I own (the deli) and I’m in the kitchen a lot, and I enjoy making soup. You can change it up so often and be creative. It’s fun to make, personally, so it’s a great outlet.” 

Mugie’s Deli typically has three to four soup offerings daily, and they change seasonally as well. Much of what the deli offers related to what farmers, fresh from the field, bring into the restaurant for Mudge to consider as well, he said. For example, a driver from Maple Creek Farms drives down to Detroit weekly with a bevy of organic produce. 

“You step up on the truck, pick out what you want and use it for the week. Will it be squash? Maybe it’s pumpkins or acorn squash. There could be great corn that you use in corn-based soups. Those are all great things,” Mudge said. 

In October in particular, Mudge said he likes making soups that are themed not only to the harvest but to everyone’s favorite fall holiday, Halloween. To that end, he likes to come up with recipes that are warm, spicy and cozy, three adjectives that perfectly describe the kinds of soups that you’ll find on this menu. For example, one recent offering was roasted Michigan pumpkin soup. 

“As soon as fall hits, I’m soup crazy,” Mudge said with a laugh. “We’ve extended our patio seating (because of the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing) and we’ve had a warm October so far, so we’re happy to sit outside and belly up to a warm bowl of soup.”

Mudge said he is not a trained chef, but he has worked in kitchens since he was 13. That is why he enjoys experimenting with heavier soups, something that people crave in the fall rather than the colder soups that may personify summer. 

“Everything I’ve learned about cooking has been self-taught or I’ve learned while working alongside others,” Mudge said. “When it comes to our roasted, warm pumpkin soup, that inspires a certain nostalgia as well. … I think I cook everything as comfort food. I like my food to bring back a memory – a feeling of some other time and place.”

That’s another reason why you’ll see grilled cheese and tomato soup as a regular menu item in the fall, Mudge said. It’s nothing fancy – just basic tomato soup and a great cheese sandwich. But it reminds people of being a kid. Another dish he brings back annually around this time of year is his take on Beefaroni – Mudgaroni – that also warms the belly and fills the soul at the same time. 

This year, Mudge said the deli also offers great selections of wine and to-go foods, especially larger portions of its classic coups. He’ll also start offering premade dinners that people can heat and serve that focus on comfort, such as turkey with mashed potatoes. 

Here are few other places Metro Detroit food lovers regularly recommend for fall soups. 

Lunchbox Deli

This Grosse Pointe classic deli has sandwiches stacked high, so you know the soups will be just as good. Dive into a bowl of the turkey chili, which is heart healthy and filled with protein-packed power to get you through the rest of your work or play day.

 Delphine’s

It may be hard to believe that you can get genuine Jamaican flavors in Eastpointe, but rest assured, you will get a full taste of the island at this restaurant. One local favorite is rasta stew, a thick soup-like dish that will help you warm up, no matter what Michigan’s ever-changing weather may throw at you.

Lunchtime Global

This Detroit-based restaurant had multiple people recommended it for soup during the fall months, so you know it has to be good. The soups change daily, but the menu is always interesting. There are unique soups here such as Spicy Red Curry Chicken, Chicken Philly Cheesesteak and Homestyle Creamy Chicken Chowder. 

La-Shish

Dearborn is known for its restaurant scene, and La-Shish is a beloved food paradise. The restaurant serves local favorites as well as Mediterranean dishes along with fresh breads, salads and more. The crushed lentil soup is vegetarian, and it is hearty enough to serve as a meal onto itself. The restaurant also offers beef chili, chicken soup and beef vegetable soup.