Soups On! Recipes to Warm You From the Inside Out
How is it November already!?! While I have to say I am glad that Halloween is now over (sorry for all my Halloween peeps out there...just never been into the scary stuff..lol) I am having a hard time believing that we are approaching the end of what seems to have been a never-ending year. No doubt that we have all endured quite a bit this year. Some of us are confused and saddened, others frustrated and feeling helpless against this circumstance that seems to be controlling us. We are all collectively a little beat up and exhausted. I know it is so easy to reach for a bag of chips or a pint go Ben and Jerry's when we need some comfort even though we know "eating our feelings" is not helping anyone, out important, ourselves. I wanted to take some time and do an entry here to shine a little light in the darkness from my humble little cooking space here is New York and bring you some comfort food to warm your soul.
As we settle into the colder months, we start turning our thoughts a little inward and our cravings to comfort foods. Comfort foods have a this magical way of consoling us in tough times, lifting us up when we've had a bad day, or just bringing us back to a simpler time and place, like our childhood. Soup is definitely a comfort food, with its earthy aromas filling your kitchen and its warmth filling your soul. As a child, a large pot of homemade chicken soup was made weekly during the winter months in my house... sometimes with pastina, or matzo balls or my mothers favorite, little bits of farina dumplings... if I even tired to spell what it is in Italian I would completely butcher it, so I will just refer to them as farina dumpling.. (lol). Homemade chicken soup was the fix for everything! Had a bad day at school, here, have some chicken soup, have a headache, here have some chicken soup... sore throat, chicken soup. You get the point. I ate so much chicken soup growing up that you will rarely see me have a bowl of chicken soup now. But I absolutely love the smooth earthy flavor that chicken stock brings to so many soups. Soups make a great dinner with a toasted piece of garlic bread as well as a healthy lunch. When I think of one pot meals, soups are probably the first thing that come to mind. You can add veggies, meat and starch in some cases to truly make it a well-rounded meal. When I make these types of soup I try to make a larger portion so that I can at least get two lunches out of them after the four of us have dinner. My Italian Wedding Soup recipe is the best big batch soup and one of the most looked at on the site. It's healthy and hardy. Filled with veggies, meat and starch, it is truly the best one pot meal. You can totally throw this together in the early morning (or over the weekend if you are m meal prepping) and it will be there in the evening for you to heat up quick and have some dinner, even if everyone is eating at different times. Just be sure to cook the pasta in a separate pot, drain and drizzle with some olive oil and place back in the pot that it was cooked in. This way it won't suck up all your stock in the soup. Then when you go to have dinner, heat the stockpot with the soup in it and place some of the cooked pasta on the bottom of each bowl. The hot soup poured over the pasta will heat it just enough and dinner is served!
Another hearty and INSANELY delicious soup is my Chicken Vegetable Miso Soup! This soup is made with rich chicken stock, shreds of slowly cooked boneless skinless chicken thighs, earthy shiitake mushrooms, leak, cabbage, carrots and bok choy with a little kick of heat from a few squirts of sriracha! This one is a must try this winter... especially if you are a fan of Asian flavors. It is Miso Soup meets Chicken Soup in a not so classic mash-up!
Heat some olive oil on medium-high and sear off the chicken thighs, about 5-6 minutes per side. They won't be fully cooked but that is ok! Remove them from the stockpot and add a little more olive oil and throw in your veggies and season them with a little S&P, soy sauce, freshly grated ginger and a few squirts of sriracha (you control the heat here, add extra or omit it if you are not a spicy fan). Then you add in the rich smooth chicken stock and put the chicken thighs back in the pot. Make sure the liquid covers the chicken. If not, you can always add a little extra water to achieve the coverage. Add in the miso paste and whisk into the stock until it dissolves. Put the cover on and lower the heat to simmer for about 45 minutes. Uncover and take two forks to shred the chicken and stir the miso. Add in the bok choy and cabbage and let them cook and soften, about an extra 10 minutes. If you are looking for something different to dig into this Fall and Winter, make sure you try this one out... you won't be disappointed!
One of the newest soup that I tested out in my kitchen recently and love so much is Cream of Mushroom Soup. This is not your typical canned cream of mushroom. This is made with a combination of earthy mushroom varieties and rich stock and of course a touch of cream. I take about a cup and half from the soup mixture to blend it and make it smooth and then add it back in to the stockpot to thicken the soup to a crazy awesome thickness! You have the smoothness of the cream of mushroom soup that you know and love but with these meaty chunks of earthy mushrooms. It is the perfect quick lunch or even a starter for your next dinner party this coming holiday season.
Follow me down the creamy soup path for one more short paragraph. If you are a fan of cream soups and mushrooms aren't your thing, then my latest soup recipe might be just what you need as these wind continue to whip around in this chilly month. Try my recipe for Potato Leek Soup and I promised you won't be disappointed. It is creamy, chunky and full of flavor. You can check out the video here or go straight to the recipe link.
Whatever kind of soup you fancy, I hope that I gave you something to try over the upcoming weeks as the weather starts to get chilly and you crave some good comfort food to fill your soul as well as your belly.