It’s official: the groundhog saw his shadow and you know what that means – we have a little longer to get friendly with wintry weather. And though it’s hard to muster the desire for another heavy stew, warming bowls of soup are still what we crave.
Soup is just what the doctor ordered for cold weather comfort. Curling up with a bowl of wholesome, steaming soup is a snuggly pleasure; it can make a laid-back night at home its own special occasion.
In generations past, women instinctively called up the restorative powers of chicken soup; they knew there are inherent healing properties of nutrient-rich broth. And, though the term “antioxidants” was not yet in our health lexicon, they recognized that an old-fashioned vegetable soup is a potent source of nutrients that are vital to keeping us healthy while we battle seasonal germs. Soup makes us feel better; it comforts us, so we want to eat it.
Wonderfully healthful stocks are easy to make; while it is a commitment to simmering a pot of water, aromatics, and a chicken or beef bones, you can leave it on the stove pretty much unattended. The Lady’s Chicken Noodle Soup starts from scratch, simmering a chicken first to give you fragrant broth before adding the vegetables and noodles to make soup.
But there is nothing better than taking a shortcut and using one of the delicious canned or boxed broths. They are full-flavored and available in low-salt, low-fat, and organic. With these, you can be eating soup in the time it takes to simmer the add-ins to doneness. In Italian Chicken and Vegetable Soup, the soup is done when the carrots, zucchini, and bite-size pieces of chicken are cooked. All you need is a loaf of crusty bread to make a quick and satisfying supper.
Sometimes what we need is an exotic, full-flavored soup to wake up our taste buds, like the Thai flavors of Coconut Soup with chicken or the curry flavors in Creamy Coconut Soup with tilapia. Both use coconut milk to add creaminess to the broth-based soups. Shrimp and Chocolate Tortilla Soup is spicy with cumin and has a rich depth of flavor with cocoa added to the broth.
Dried bean and lentil soups may take awhile to simmer, but their hearty goodness cheers a mid-winter day. Senate Bean Soup and Shaggy Man Split Pea Soup are totally worth the wait and will warm your body and soul.
Fresh, single vegetable pureed soups are loaded with vitamins and vibrant color. They are perfect for a light lunch or a first course to dinner. Broccoli Soup, Creamy Squash Soup, and Carrot Soup with Blue Cheese are as beautiful to look at as they are tasty.
There’s no end to the possibilities of flavor combinations, and no denying the pleasure of a warm bowl or mug of soup cradled in your hands. It’s the best cure around for the winter blues.