Perfect for chilly days, soup is considered one of the warmest, easiest and most nutritious items you can pick from a menu or make yourself, at home.
Whether you love the creamy richness of Mushroom Soup, or prefer the clear vegetable-laden broth of Minestrone, there is soup for all moods, and occasions. Seafood lovers can plunge into hearty bisques and chowders, and legume fans find it hard to resist a good lentil soup.
There are basic rules to making a good soup, so keep these in mind:
- Start with well-prepared stock or bouillon. This varies according to the type of soup, and can be based on fish, meat, poultry or vegetables.
- Place the ingredients in cold water and let them heat up to release the full flavors, rather than dropping them into boiling water.
- Don’t take shortcuts when chopping the vegetables. Keep them as fine as possible to boost the flavor.
- Lightly sauté the onion, carrot and celery before adding other ingredients.
- Don’t boil your soup on a high heat. A gentle, steady simmer is the best way to allow the flavors to come through.
Creamy Tomato Soup
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 large white onion, finely chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, smashed and peeled
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups lower-salt chicken broth
- A 28-oz can of whole peeled plum tomatoes, puréed (include the juice)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil, chives, or dill, or a mixture of all three
- Croutons for garnish
- Heat the oil and butter over medium-low heat until the butter melts.
- Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat the onion and garlic. Add the broth, tomatoes, sugar, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
- Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat while stirring the mixture to make sure that the flour is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.
- Discard the thyme sprig. Let cool briefly and then purée in two or three batches in a blender or food processor. Rinse the pot and return the soup to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve warm but not hot, garnished with the herbs and croutons on the side.
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