At Home This Winter… and Making Soup

Howdy y’all, it’s time for a round-up. Kidding. I live on the Upper East Side.

I am a mega, mega lover of all things soups and stew, and get excited for cold weather to hit specifically so that I can start making big-ass pots of it at home (crunchy leaves and hot coffee are nice, too).

I also know that we are hunkering down for a winter season that is not only chilly, but quite possibly locked down. Even though human contact may be at a minimum, I can’t help but feel weirdly comforted when I make a big pot of soup at home. Whether it’s for a solo dinner on my couch, a Zoom meal with loved ones, or maybe for some of you, a holiday spent at home instead of traveling to family. There’s something about it that feels nourishing to me, and during this time more than ever, that provides value. 

I don’t think I need to sell you on soup, so I’m keeping this intro brief. These are some of my favorites. I’ve made them all. Most likely, many times. Stay souper, my friends (I’m sorry I legitimately could not resist).

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup – This recipe is the BEST and not only do I crave it, but I’ve made it for many others and always get rave reviews. I think that rubbing the chicken with a spice mix and roasting it prior to incorporating it into the soup makes a major difference, and also it rivals chili in the fun you can have with toppings – from tortilla chips to Greek yogurt to cilantro. This is also the soup in the blog photo 🙂

Carrot Soup with Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas – There’s something about root veggies in the winter, and this super carrot-y soup is simple but immensely satisfying. The coriander and cumin add earthy notes that perfectly compliment the carrots, the crispy chickpeas add crunch, and the lemon and tahini dollop on top is bright and delightful. 

Caramelized Onion Tomato Soup – If tomato soup and French onion soup had a child, it would be this epic hybrid soup. Not only do you get the richness of the onions and the brightness and acidity of tomatoes, but whole sprigs of tarragon and a bit of grainy mustard add a lot of depth, too. Don’t skimp on the cheesy crouton.

Massaman Inspired Chicken Noodle Soup – Hot damn (literally). If you have access to a market where you can find whole lemongrass stalks, make this soup. The broth is richly flavored with lemongrass, ginger, fish sauce, chiles, and garlic, which make it incredible for your gut and immune system too. It’s finished with coconut milk, scallions, and roasted peanuts too. Total soup heaven. 

White Bean Fennel Seed Soup with Crispy Brussels Sprouts – I have to admit, I was completely intrigued when I first came across this recipe. Brussels sprouts? In soup?? But it is creamy, dreamy, and honestly an utter cinch to make. The base of the soup is onion, garlic, white beans, lemon, and fennel seeds that you grind up to release the flavor. That’s it. You roast the brussels sprouts leaves in the oven until charred and crispy and toss them on top for an unexpected caramelized crunch. 

Italian Egg Drop Soup – I’ve been making variations on this soup for years, and I love that I can throw in whatever I have on hand. This is definitely a recipe where you want to use that homemade chicken stock if you have it – it has so few ingredients, so the richness of the broth really comes through. The whole concept of the soup is that you whisk together the eggs and parmesan cheese in a bowl, adding it back into the soup pot slowly and whisking furiously so you get those tender egg strands. I’ve also added spinach and tomatoes to mind to great effect.

Coconut Red Lentil Soup – I remember eating Progresso lentil soup from the can growing up, and thinking it looked dirty and weird. Too much salt, too, but that’s a separate conversation. You won’t have that issue with this coconut red lentil soup, which is infused with Indian flavors in the form of curry and fresh ginger, and with interesting add-ons such as golden raisins and a smattering of cilantro leaves at the end. 

Parmesan White Bean Soup – The star of the show in this recipe? Used parmesan rinds. Aka, the most flavorful soup starters. I save my rinds from previously devoured parm hunks in my fridge, but you can also head to the cheese counter at Whole Foods and request to purchase them there. The recipe essentially calls for you making a parmesan stock, and it’s finished with greens of your choosing, white beans, and a heavy snowfall of more parm.

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