With cold winter days among us, simple soups are a favorite for weeknight dinners. There are plenty of reasons to love soup: lots of tasty choices, simple to make from scratch, stores well for leftovers, and is a delicious way to warm up on a cold winter’s day. There is something extra cozy about soup cooking on the stove when it’s chilly outside. Warm soup is so comforting and is excellent when battling a pesky winter cold or flu.
Don’t be afraid to look through your refrigerator and make up your own recipe.
Make sure to use a large pot or Dutch oven. This gives everything room to brown and cook evenly. Heat up a few tablespoons of butter or oil. The fat is important to draw out the flavors in the soup. Next start by adding vegetables in order of what needs to cook the longest. Onions are a good base of a soup. Add these first and allow them to cook on their own until they are soft and golden. Next add other vegetables like celery, carrots, and potatoes. They can brown and caramelize a bit in the oil or butter as well.
Once these have had a few minutes in the pot add salt and herbs. Add water or broth. Next you could add lentils, bens, or tomatoes. Allow to boil and then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer with the lit partly on the pot to reduce the amount of steam that escapes.
Once everything has cook you may purée the soup or leave as is. If you want to puree an immersion blender is very helpful. Add black pepper and taste to see if the soup needs a bit more salt. Sometimes a squeeze of lemon or lime or a dash of vinegar will brighten the soup and bring all the flavors together. You may garnish with herbs like chopped cilantro or soft greens like spinach.
Ladle into bowls. Some soups are eve better with a little swirl of plain Greek yogurt or a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese. Or you may decide to add a bit of cooked rice to each bowl to round out the meal.
“Work With What You Got!”
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