Cold weather always make me think of soup. Soup always makes me think of Seinfeld. Seinfeld turns me to my soup cookbook based on the real soup nazi. But seriously, a hot bowl of soup on a very cold day or night is so satisfying.
Soup comes in many "flavors". From thin consommes to hearty chilis and stews, vegetable to beef, bean and nut or cheese and chowders. Regardless of your favorite, here is a quick run down of the types of soups to choose from.
Consomme - crystal clear broths often served to start a meal. Broths, stocks and consommmes always start with bones, vegetables and water, cooked long and slow to extract as much flavor as possible.
On the other end of the soup scale is potages, a thick hearty soup of meats and vegtables cooked together with water until thick. Think pea soup, beef barley, onion soup and minestrone.
Bisquesare heavy cream soups traditionally prepared with shellfish but can be made with any type of seafood, vegetables or even chestnuts, and are typically served smooth. Similar to a bisque, chowders are thick soups usually containing some type of starch, often potato, and tend to be more chunky. Corn, shrimp or the classic New England (yes I know - Manhattan style for the New Yorkers but never in New England, and Rhode Island style which is brothy, adding your own cream)
Another set of close cousins are a soup and stew - Rachel Ray often bridges this gap with her term stoup. Stews a hot, often thicker and cooked long and slow. A soup can be hot or cold, often cooked for a shorter time, and can be made of almost anything.
There are fruit soups, sometimes served as dessert, made from melon, apple or berries. Sometimes with a little yogurt or sour cream. A summer soup for sure.
Also for warmer weather is avocado soup and gazpachos - white, green or the classic red.
Seafood soups, beef and chicken noodle, pea and lentil, cheese and broccoli, or even nut based soups like African peanut soup offer variety and great nutrition in a single bowl. Did you know the supergrain quinoa makes a great soup?
Soup is international too. From Asian Phos to Russian borscht, African pumpkin soup to Mexican posole, Canadian split pea to Italian wedding soup, soup is global. It can be part of everyday, or made for special occasions.
The beauty of soup - it is really hard to mess it up.
So pull out the big pots. Get the veggies, rice, stock and whatever else you may wish to add to your soup and get cooking. Start with a good mirepoix - carrots, celery and onion, add a good stock and build from there. Experiment. Get creative. Or simply make a classic this winter. Healthy, comforting and so varied, soup is good food and with sub freezing temperature across the country - doesn't soup sound MmmmMmmm good?