The days are getting noticeably longer, but there’s still a whole lot of winter left to go. After a long day at work, there’s no better way to unwind and nourish than with a hearty bowl of homemade soup.
Many of us stick with the old chestnuts: a hearty vegetable soup, or chicken noodle (especially now in cold and flu season) and these are certainly classics for a reason–they’re delicious and dead simple to make. But there’s a whole world of adventurous soups just waiting for you to discover them.
Generally soups are split into two categories: clear soups (the consommes and bouillons) and thick soups. Sometimes they’re pureed (like in many squash soups) or thickened with starches, cream, a roux, grains or eggs. There are as many recipes out there for different soups as there are people, and just about every region has its own special soup: in Ukraine it’s borscht, in Marseilles it’s bouillabaisse, in Thailand it’s tom yum.
The best way to find your soup is to try many and try often. Being from the East Coast, I’m partial to seafood chowder (New England style, though Manhattan is also delicious), but I’m also a fan of Laksa and French Onion soup.
The most difficult thing about soup making is resisting the temptation to try the soup before it’s been allowed to simmer long enough. Let it be. If you find yourself tempted to tuck in too soon, watch this instead.
“You chose soup over a woman?”
“Well, actually it was a bisque.”
Lentil Chorizo Soup
This soup is lovely served simply with a dollop of sour cream and some flat leaf parsley and a side of good, crusty bread.
2 chorizo sausages, removed from casing
2 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
1-2 ribs of celery, diced
1 cup green or Puy lentils
Stock, as needed (veggie or beef stock works best)
Cook the sausage meat on medium heat until cooked through. Make sure it is well broken up and in very small pieces. Add the diced vegetables and cook until tender but not browned. Add the lentils and the stock and simmer on low heat for a few hours. Use less stock if you would like a thicker soup, or a little more stock for a looser, more “soupy” soup.