Soup is everyone’s favorite cold weather comfort food. Whether you’re enjoying it at your grandparents house or in a takeaway cup on your lunch break, soup makes us feel at home. It’s one of the oldest and most popular dishes in the world. Particularly when it starts getting cold and our bodies crave root vegetables. And that’s not all: soup provides us with many vitamins and nutrients that our bodies need particularly during colder seasons.
Soup’s a versatile food. You can have it warm or cold, watery or creamy, with or without added ingredients, as an appetizer or as a main meal. Soups are diverse and prepared differently depending on the country and tradition. So for a little inspiration, and because there’s nothing like returning to a hearty soup after a cold, autumn workout, here are some soup recipes from around the world.
Minestrone is a rich Italian vegetable soup. Ciabatta, noodles or rice are traditional sides. Interesting fact: the name “Minestrone” comes from the Italian word for “Minestra,” which means “soup.” The basic ingredients include carrots, potatoes, leek, beans, and peas, whereby the ingredients may vary greatly depending on the region.
And this is how you do it: Wash or peel 70 g potatoes, 100g green beans, 1-2 carrots, 1 stem of celery, 1/2 onion and 1 clove of garlic and cut into small cubes. Cook potatoes and beans in saltwater for 10-15 minutes until al dente, pour and shock. Cut 50g pancetta (or bacon) in strips and fry together with onions and garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil at medium temperature in a large pot for about 1-2 minutes. Gradually add the carrots and the celery and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Deglaze with about 800ml of vegetable broth. Add 1 teaspoon fresh thyme and 1 bay leaf as desired. Let everything come to a boil and continue to simmer at low heat for 15-20 minutes. Then add beans and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper, optionally refine with lemon peel, parsley and Parmesan. The ingredients are enough for 2 people.
Tip: Normally a minestrone tastes best the day after preparation after it has had the chance to infuse.
England: Chestnut soup
There are multiple ways to prepare chestnuts in England. One of these is as the main ingredient in a traditional English chestnut soup, preferably served as an appetizer.
The recipe: Peel 100g onions, 1 stem of celery and 120g of potatoes and cut into fine pieces. Sauté the vegetables in 1 knife point of butter. Add 120g of chestnuts and 1 clove and season with salt and pepper. After this, deglaze with 450ml water. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer until the chestnuts are soft. Remove the clove and purée the soup until a creamy consistency is reached. If you don’t have a hand blender, you can also put the soup in a blender. Taste and add fresh thyme if desired. Croutons are a classic side. Best to stick to the healthiest version: we recommend homemade croutons made of dark whole-grain bread or roasted nuts.
Extra tip: You can use either cooked or fresh chestnuts!
There are different recipes, which are different depending on the region. Beets are included in every borscht. It gives the soup its red color, its taste and its wonderful aroma.
Preparation: Cut 250g beef shank into cubes and cook in a pot with 2 liters of water for an hour at medium heat. If you would like, you can cook the bones as well – they give the broth extra flavor. Cut 50g potatoes, 100g beets, and 100g cabbage into cubes and add to the broth. Cut 1 onion, 1 carrot, and 1/2 parsley root in strips. Sauté everything in a pan together with a little oil, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, and 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Add a little of the broth and simmer covered for 20 minutes, then add to the rest of the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Before serving, add 1 tablespoon of sour cream, chopped garlic, and fresh herbs to the bowl. Then fill the bowls with the soup.
Japan: Miso Soup
Miso soup is a Japanese national dish. Many know it as an appetizer, but actually the Japanese enjoy it for breakfast. The soup has its typical taste from the fish stock and the soy paste, which is called Miso. Miso soup is traditionally eaten with chopsticks and sipped.
Our recipe: Cut 2 green onions and 100g of tofu in pieces. Heat up 600ml of fish stock in a pot, add green onions and tofu and let simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in 2-3 teaspoons of miso paste. Add 50g of dried shiitake mushrooms as well as 5 leaves of wakame (dried algae, available in whole food and Asian shops). Season with soy sauce and the juice from half a lime. If desired, you can add roasted sesame seeds to the soup. The recipe makes enough for 2 people.
By the way: The base of every soup should have a sufficient amount of vegetables so that you meet your daily requirement for vegetables. Particularly during the winter it is very important, because our immune system is more susceptible to illnesses. During preparation, make sure that the soup is not exposed to excessively high temperatures for a long period of time so that the vitamins and minerals are preserved as best possible. It is recommended to bring the soup to a boil and then to let it simmer at a lower temperature.
What are YOUR favourite soups during the colder seasons? And what ingredients do you enjoy in every soup? Leave a comment here.