By Emily Weinstein, The New York Times
It’s soup season, is it not? I’ve been feeling that keenly this week, so I’ve got five recipes for you that fit the mood.
The thing about soup is that it isn’t typically that fast to make. Even if you’re starting with quick-cooking ingredients, the flavors need some time to meld in the pot. But you can absolutely make good soup in less than an hour; the recipes below are proof of that. And you can make especially good soup in that time frame if you have homemade stock on hand.
Here’s the part where I try to persuade you to make your own stock. I use store-bought broth for soups like purées, which are thick with other ingredients and flavors. But if you want anything brothy — soup in which you really taste that broth — it’s worth it to make and freeze chicken or veggie stock once in a while. It’s just one of those things that are infinitely better than anything you can buy at the store. It’s also hands-off: Leave it on the stove for a few hours on a weekend morning, then strain it and freeze it in small servings.
OK, I know most of you won’t make stock. I get it. Everyone is busy. Try one of the recipes below, which are straightforward to make and really good.
1. Lemony White Bean Soup With Turkey and Greens
Bright with lemon and herbs, and packed with hearty greens, this highly adaptable soup can be either light and brothy or thick and stewlike, depending on your preference. Smashing some of the beans to release their starch will give you a thicker soup that’s almost worthy of a fork. To keep it on the brothy side, add a little more liquid and leave the beans intact. Either way, it’s a warming, piquant, one-pot meal that’s perfect for winter.
By Melissa Clark
Yield: 4 servings
Total time: 45 minutes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 bunch sturdy greens, such as kale, broccoli raab, mustard greens or collard greens
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin, plus more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more to taste
- 1/2 pound ground turkey
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup chopped fresh, soft herbs, such as parsley, mint, dill, basil, tarragon, chives or a combination
- Fresh lemon juice, to taste
1. Heat a large pot over medium-high for a minute or so to warm it up. Add the oil and heat until it thins out, about 30 seconds. Add onion and carrot, and sauté until very soft and brown at the edges, 7 to 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, rinse the greens and pull the leaves off the stems. Tear or chop into bite-size pieces and set aside.
3. When the onion is golden, add tomato paste, 3/4 teaspoon cumin and 1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes to the pot, and sauté until paste darkens, about 1 minute. Add turkey, garlic, ginger and 1 teaspoon salt, and sauté, breaking up the meat with your spoon, until turkey is browned in spots, 4 to 7 minutes.
4. Add stock and beans, and bring to a simmer. Let simmer until the soup is thick and flavorful, adding more salt if needed, 15 to 25 minutes. If you like a thicker broth, you can smash some of the beans with the back of the spoon to release their starch. Or leave the beans whole for a brothier soup.
5. Add the greens to the pot and simmer until they are very soft. This will take 5 to 10 minutes for most greens, but tough collard greens might take 15 minutes. (Add a little water if the broth gets too reduced.)
6. Stir herbs and lemon juice into the pot, taste and add more salt, cumin and lemon until the broth is lively and bright-tasting. Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil and more red-pepper flakes, if desired.
2. Chicken and Vegetable Donabe
Donabe refers to the Japanese clay pot traditionally used to make this warming dish. Clay holds heat for a longer period of time than other materials. This one-pot comforting donabe is made in a Dutch oven, which still keeps heat well and can accommodate a party of four. Chicken, vegetables and broth are combined in the pot and simmered together; as it cooks, the soothing broth is reinforced with fragrant aromatics and the flavorful juices from the chicken and vegetables. A citrusy ponzu sauce adds a bright, fresh finish to the otherwise mellow dish. Yuzu kosho, a Japanese fermented condiment made with fresh chiles, yuzu peel and salt, adds a pop of heat to the donabe, but it can be left out for a milder dish.
By Kay Chun
Yield: 4 servings
Total time: 25 minutes
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and halved
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6), sliced into 1/8-inch-thick strips
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 8 ounces tender mushrooms, such as maitake, beech or enoki, or a combination, stemmed and broken into large clusters
- 6 ounces napa cabbage, chopped into 2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
- 6 ounces daikon, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick
- 3 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup ponzu
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon yuzu kosho (optional)
1. In a large Dutch oven, combine broth, garlic and ginger. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and add to pot. Bring to a boil over high, skimming the foam and fat that rises to the top and discarding it. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, occasionally stirring and skimming, until foam no longer appears in the broth, about 5 minutes.
2. Add mushrooms, cabbage, daikon, scallions and carrot to the pot, arranging them in sections, and season with salt. Cover and simmer over medium to medium-low heat (maintain a good simmer, but do not boil) until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Discard ginger. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine ponzu, sesame oil and yuzu kosho (if using), and mix well.
4. Divide donabe among four bowls. Drizzle with some of the ponzu sauce and serve warm.
3. Thai-Inspired Chicken Meatball Soup
This stellar soup is reviving and cozy, made in one pot, and ready in 30 minutes. It starts with ginger-scented chicken-cilantro meatballs that are browned, then simmered in a fragrant coconut milk broth that’s inspired by tom kha gai, a Thai chicken-coconut soup seasoned with lemon grass, galangal, makrut lime leaves and chile. A heap of spinach is added for color and flavor, and a squeeze of lime adds brightness and punch. The soup is brothy, so serve it over rice or another grain to make it a full meal.
By Ali Slagle
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Total time: 30 minutes
- 1 (4-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 jalapeño
- 2 pounds ground chicken
- 1 large bunch cilantro, leaves and stems finely chopped, a few whole leaves reserved for serving
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or coconut oil, plus more as needed
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- 1 tablespoon lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
- Steamed white or brown rice, for serving
1. Using the small holes of a box grater or a Microplane, grate the ginger, garlic and jalapeño (or finely chop them by hand). Transfer half to a large bowl and set the rest aside. To the large bowl, add the chicken, finely chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons fish sauce and 1 teaspoon salt. Use your hands or a fork to fully combine but do not overmix.
2. Use your hands or an ice cream scoop to form 2-inch meatballs (about 2 ounces each). In a large Dutch oven or pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the meatballs in a single layer and cook, flipping halfway through, until golden brown on two sides, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat, adding oil as needed.
3. Once all the meatballs are browned and out of the pot, if the oil is burned, wipe it out and add a bit more to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium, add the reserved ginger mixture and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, sugar and the remaining 1 tablespoon fish sauce, and bring to a simmer. Add the meatballs and any juices from the plate, and simmer until the flavors come together and the meatballs are cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes.
4. Remove from heat, and stir in the spinach and lime juice. Divide rice among bowls, then top with meatballs, broth and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.
4. Dumpling Noodle Soup
Keep a package or two of frozen dumplings in your freezer for this warming weeknight meal. This recipe is loosely inspired by wonton noodle soup but replaces homemade wontons with store-bought frozen dumplings for a quick alternative. The soup base, which comes together in just 10 minutes, is surprisingly rich and full-bodied, thanks to the trio of ginger, garlic and turmeric. Miso paste brings extra savoriness, but you could substitute soy sauce or tamari. Scale up on veggies if you like; carrots, peas, snow peas or mushrooms would be excellent additions. Any type of frozen dumpling works in this dish, making it easy to adapt for vegan, vegetarian or meat-loving diners.
By Hetty McKinnon
Yield: 4 servings
Total time: 25 minutes
- Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
- 6 ounces thin dried wheat, egg or rice noodles
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, grated
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoon white miso paste
- 16 ounces frozen dumplings (not thawed)
- 4 baby bok choy (about 12 ounces), trimmed and each cut into 4 pieces through the stem
- 1 small head broccoli (about 9 ounces), cut into bite-size florets
- Handful of cilantro or chopped scallions, for serving
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to package instructions, until the noodles are just tender. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain well again. Divide them among four serving bowls.
2. Place the same large pot over medium heat, and add sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. Stir and cook for 30 seconds, until aromatic. Add turmeric, and stir for 15 seconds, until fragrant.
3. Pour the vegetable stock into the pot, then season with 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes on medium heat, to allow flavors to meld.
4. Remove the lid and add the miso paste, stirring constantly until it is dissolved. Taste, and season with more salt, if needed.
5. Increase the heat to medium-high, and carefully drop the dumplings into the broth. When they float to the top, add the baby bok choy and broccoli, and cook for about 2 minutes, just until the broccoli is crisp-tender.
6. Ladle the broth, dumplings, baby bok choy and broccoli into the four bowls over the noodles. To serve, top with cilantro or chopped scallions.
5. Spicy Peanut and Pumpkin Soup
This recipe is a promise of warmth on those cool autumn nights. Habanero chiles and peanuts both feature heavily in Nigerian cuisine, and this soup is an adaptation of a long-simmered stew common to much of West Africa. Don’t be afraid of a chile with seeds: The fragrant oils from these peppers are worth every bite. The peanut butter and coconut milk mellow the warmth of the chile to a gentle, lingering heat, but you can also take the chile out before the soup is puréed. An optional spoon of honey to the soup will round out the flavors, and a dollop of crème fraîche or yogurt will further temper the heat. Serve with a baguette or sourdough bread for dipping.
By Yewande Komolafe
Yield: 4 servings
Total time: 35 minutes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 habanero or bird’s eye chile
- 1 (14-ounce) can pumpkin purée
- 3 cups water (or use chicken or vegetable stock)
- 1 (13-ounce) can coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon agave or honey (optional)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened natural peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons sliced fresh chives (optional)
- 1/4 cup crème fraîche or yogurt (optional)
1. In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger, and cook, stirring frequently until softened and just beginning to brown around the edges, about 4 minutes. Stir in the chile and pumpkin purée, and whisk in the water or stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and allow to simmer on low, giving an occasional stir, for 20 minutes or until slightly reduced and thickened. Remove the chile after the soup simmers if you don’t care for much spice.
2. Add coconut milk, agave or honey (if using), and peanut butter to the pot. Using an immersion blender or working in batches in a standing blender, purée the soup until smooth. Season with salt and keep warm over low heat. Do not bring soup up to a simmer or boil at this point. (This reduces the risk of the oils in the peanut butter separating and breaking the soup’s smooth texture.)
3. Divide soup between bowls, sprinkle with the chives and a dollop of crème fraîche or yogurt, or a drizzle of olive oil to make it vegan. Serve with a warm crusty baguette or chunks of warm sourdough for dipping.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
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