The Best Soups for Fall: Classic "Stone Soup"

Savor the flavors of the harvest season with this classic fall soup recipe.

September 26, 2013

Fall is a perfect time to try out this recipe for classic "Stone Soup."

Love soup? Who doesn't?? For the entire month of October, Rodale News is hosting a "Rodale Soup Club"—we give you a soup recipe on Friday, and then you post your pics, tweaks and tips to our Facebook page on Monday. Each recipe comes to you courtesy of Beatrice Ojakangas, author of The Soup & Bread Cookbook, available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the Apple iBookstore.


Autumn is my favorite time of year, not least because it’s harvest time. Beets, carrots, onions, leeks, celeriac, potatoes of all kinds, rutabagas, turnips, parsnips, sweet potatoes, yams, garlic, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chard, eggplant, fennel, kale, wild mushrooms, okra, pumpkins, spinach, winter squash—the list goes on and on. With so many colorful, nutritious, and flavorful vegetables plucked fresh from the earth, there’s no time like the fall for making soup.

For a larger gathering, our annual Harvest Soup Party is the perfect, low-stress way to celebrate the season’s bounty. The instructions on the invitations are simple: “Bring 1 cup chopped pot-ready vegetables.” When the guests arrive, I ask them to dump their vegetables into the pot of broth boiling on the stove. We’ve had as many as 50 university students at a party at one time, and there is always plenty of soup to go around. I bake several breads and set out spreads, cheeses, and drinks. Admittedly, this is a direct take on the classic Stone Soup as described in the folktale of the same name. But it works, and not just with a gathering at home but for neighborhoodwide parties, church dinners, and extended family gatherings, as well. Fall is also a great time to pour soup into a thermos, pack a blanket and a warm loaf of bread, and take a drive through the colorful countryside, or chase away the chill at a football game or tailgate party, or seize the moment and picnic under a tree at the peak of foliage. There’s no better way to appreciate the simple, soulful pleasure of soup and bread.

Stone Soup

This is the ideal potluck soup, in which you ask each guest to contribute at least 1 cup of cut-up vegetables to the pot. It’s inspired by the classic folktale.

Makes 10 servings


1 stone, such as a smooth granite or basalt, 3" to 4" in diameter, scrubbed clean

4 quarts vegetable broth, chicken stock, beef stock, or water

10 cups chopped vegetables such as potatoes, onions, carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, or celery

Salt and ground black pepper

Chopped herbs

Shredded cheese

More Fall Soup Recipes: Autumn Root Vegetable ChowderGreen Cabbage and Hamburger SoupCurried Chicken Wild RiceEasy Cream of Tomato Soup


Place the stone in the pot. Add the broth, stock, or water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the vegetables as guests arrive, and cover. Cook until all of the vegetables are fork-tender, the “magic moment” when the soup comes together and all the vegetables are done, between 1 and 2 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and invite guests to sprinkle on herbs and cheese.

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