I love how in January I get to indulge the desire I hold all year round, the desire to stay in instead of go out. In January, the short days and bitter cold weather make everyone as much of a hermit as I long to be pretty much all the time. No matter that this year and last year, I’ve spent January eating my way around various continents. If I weren’t in Thailand, I can guarantee I’d be in the kitchen, sautéing onions to turn into soup. Then I’d be on the couch, eating.
We’ve got a massively delicious archive of soup recipes on Big Girls, Small Kitchen, even though I have been known to claim that I don’t like soup. That’s not really true. Give me a piece of crusty bread and some olive oil to dip it in, and I’ll happily spoon a bowl of soup alongside.
So, January, I put together an array of soup pairs, bowls of Cauliflower Soup beside bowls of Split Pea and bowls of Alphabet Soup with Red Curry Carrot. If your imagination likes my pairings, you might want to check out TheKitchn’s tips for being social with soup and hosting a party.
**12 Fantastic Soups**
1. Slow-Cooker Tomato Basil Soup. Though this soup doesn’t require a slow-cooker, using one makes the preparation completely hassle-free. Plus, the taste of tangy tomatoes and fresh basil will revive any slow winter appetite.
2. Really Good Vegetable Soup. Inspired by the flavorful veggie soups of the Peruvian countryside, this vegetable soup starts with a homemade veggie broth, then moves on to throwing in tons of cut veggies. In the end, what makes the soup really sing are handfuls of oregano.
3. Cauliflower Soup with Sharp Cheddar and Thyme. Just a smidgeon of good grated cheddar transforms this healthful, vegetarian soup from a mere puree of cauliflower (though nothing’s really wrong with that) to a decadent-feeling first course.
4. Alphabet Soup. You might consider alphabet pasta an unnecessary childhood throwback, in which case you’re welcome to use orzo in this splendid little vegetable soup, a simplified minestrone I know I’m always happy to find in my lunchbox.
5. Pork Ramen Soup. Real Simple lent me this recipe as part of a month-long relay of quick suppers, and I came to love all the little tricks that make this hearty, satisfying bowl of ramen a cinch to put together, even though the noodles and sliced pork look like food you’d order in a restaurant.
6. Vegetarian Tortilla Soup. Pureed salsa gives this shortcut tortilla soup a delightful zing. Rice and beans add heft, and the best part of the whole soup is found in the wondrously crunchy strips of tortilla that decorate the top.
7. Chicken Sausage and Ravioli Soup. I adapted the recipe for this soup from The Naptime Chef’s cookbook, and everyone who’s made it adores how the filled pasta and umami-ish sausage succeed in changing the tomato-based concoction from an everyday soup to a meal to be proud of.
8. Fennel and Celery Root Soup. When winter has emptied the farmers’ market bins of everything but root vegetables and apples, you’ll still be able to scrounge together enough to make this soup. Celery root is that ugly gray knotted thing, and it adds body and freshness to the flavor of fennel (you might need to venture to the supermarket for that).
9. Simplest Split Pea Soup. In this dish, from long ago in the archives, split peas go from pretty green disks to thick, filling soup with the help of onions, olive oil, and water – and that’s about it. No ham hocks (you’re welcome, vegetarians), and no carrots to muddy up the color.
10. New York Corn Chowder with Tarragon. While I originally developed this recipe using summer corn cut straight from the cob, an equal quantity of good-quality frozen white corn will evoke August for you, even in the depths of January. The rest of the ingredients are pantry friendly.
11. Mom’s Matzoh Ball Soup. Don’t limit your matzoh ball soup intake to Passover. In my family, we eat matzoh balls at Thanksgiving, too, and I make them every so often when I just need some comfort food. Matzoh balls are the best little dumplings around.
12. Roasted Carrot Red Curry Soup. The method for this soup–pure genius–requires simply that you roast carrots (baby carrots are fine, if you don’t want to chop), and then puree them with an Asian-inflected blend of ingredients: red curry paste, coconut milk, and ginger.
See the full collection of BGSK’s soups here.