In the midst of winter, soup offers so much more than heat. It’s a highly nutritious low-calorie meal that can fill you up, curb your appetite, and provide critical micronutrients you may not get from anything else in your diet. Soups have likely been around from the earliest days of pot cooking, since it is such an intuitively simple act to combine various scraps of food and spices into a pot filled with water. It’s easy to do, plus there is no formal cooking time required that would mess up a simple recipe. Even the most primitive of combinations may still render a nutritious, filling, and easily digestible meal.
While some experts might credit the caveman with the advent of soup, we really have the French to thank for formalizing recipes. Restaurants in 18th century Paris began serving simple bouillon and consomme to the delight of their customers. Gradually recipes became more interesting and complex. As soups made their way across Europe and beyond, they took on a provincial flavor. Now we can sample soups from all over the world as different, as rich, and as flavorful in variety as the cultures themselves.
Yet here in America, soups are often overlooked as nothing more than an appetizer at a fancy restaurant or something you eat when you’re sick in bed. It’s too bad because soups have so much more to offer. Not only are they delicious, they are convenient and easy to prepare. They don’t need a great deal of tending since most can gently steep over a very low flame for hours and still taste phenomenal.
Soups can also be deceptively simple to make, yet bold in flavor. For example:
Dr. Colker’s Simple Soup
- 2 cans condensed chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon Fairway ground black pepper
- 1.5 cups water
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 sliced lemon for garnish
- In a saucepan, mix chicken broth, pepper, and water, then heat to boiling.
- Reduce heat to very low.
- In a separate bowl, beat eggs until foamy. Beat in lemon juice. Whisking constantly, slowly add a little hot broth to egg and lemon mixture.
- Pour egg-and-lemon mixture into pan of broth, and cool over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened.
- Pour into serving bowls and garnish with lemon slices.
Of course soups can be a great deal more than that as well. Though I tend to avoid cream-based soups because of the higher caloric profile, broth-based soups such as vegetable, minestrone, or chicken and rice can be equally as satisfying. Tomato soups are a favorite because they are so flavorful while being incredibly health promoting. Tomatoes contain an incredible number of nutrients including lycopene. Here are two of my favorites tomato soup concoctions.
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tablespoon Fairway extra virgin olive oil
- 2 drained cans of tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Fairway Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon Fairway coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 can chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or 2 teaspoons Fairway dried basil)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In a skillet, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is lightly browned.
- Transfer onion and garlic into a baking dish and add tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and pepper.
- Bake for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In blender, blend baked vegetables until smooth.
- Place mixture in 3-quart saucepan; stir in broth.
- Over high heat, heat to a boil.
- Than reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir in basil and serve.
- 1/4 cup Fairway extra virgin olive oil
- 14 ounces Fairway chopped tomatoes
- 1 thinly sliced medium yellow onion
- 1 crushed clove of garlic
- 3 cans beef broth or bouillon
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon Fairway dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon Fairway black pepper
- In a large saucepan, heat olive oil.
- Saute tomatoes, onion, and garlic.
- Add beef bouillon or broth, parsley, basil, and black pepper.
- Simmer for 30 minutes, then serve.
Of course when you think of soups you don’t have to think light either. Soups can actually be quite hardy. In Roman times meals were made from soups using a thick base that was almost porridge. Made correctly, soups can actually provide a hearty matrix loaded with protein and other vital macronutrients. Here is just one high-protein example:
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 1/2 cup diced cauliflower
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 tablespoons Fairway extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bottle clam juice
- 1/2 cup white wine (preferably a dry chardonnay, but any white will do)
- 1 cup low-fat half-and-half
- 2 teaspoons Fairway dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon Fairway sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Fairway black pepper
- 1 pound white fish cut into 1″ cubes
- 1/4 teaspoon rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 cup diced scallions
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the carrot, cauliflower, and onion until the onion becomes translucent.
- In this order, add the clam juice, the wine, the half and half, and the dried parsley, salt, and pepper.
- Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the fish and remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil.
- Then reduce heat, and let simmer 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and let it set 10 minutes before serving.
Fairway also sells a range of ready-made soups that you can just reheat and eat for lunch or dinner.
TELL US: What are your favorite soups?