January 17, 2017
Posted in: Culinary Arts

3 Comforting Soups For Chilly Nights

On a cold winter night, a hot and hearty soup is exactly what you need. With the right ingredients and some time you can prepare a comforting pot that will warm you and fill you up. Plus, making soup is a great opportunity for culinary academy students to find exciting ways of combining delicious seasonal flavors. Here are three recipes to get you started on soups designed to drive away the cold:

1. Make it miso
The traditional Japanese seasoning miso makes a fantastic basis for an easy, but tasty, pot of soup. Real Simple provided directions that call for white miso, which is known for its sweetness. Start by cooking scallion whites and ginger in olive oil over medium heat, seasoning with salt and pepper.

“Miso makes a fantastic basis for an easy pot of soup.”

After two or three minutes, add a half cup of the miso and water to the pot. Whisk the mixture until the miso dissolves. Then, add more water and heat to a boil.

Prepare potstickers by cooking them in oil on a medium-high heat for up to four minutes. When the dumplings are browned on one side, move them to the soup. Allow about three minutes for the potstickers to cook through.

Finish off the soup by throwing in the scallion greens, snap peas and radishes. Add a drizzle of chili oil before serving.

2. All the satisfaction with none of the meat
A soup doesn’t need to contain animal products to be satisfying. A recipe from Serious Eats, influenced by West African and Thai cuisine, is proof of that. First, use a mortar and pestle to pound together garlic, cilantro stems, ginger, half a jalapeno or serrano pepper and salt.

Open a can of full-fat coconut milk and remove three tablespoons of the solids from the top, moving them to a Dutch oven. Pour in a tablespoon of vegetable oil and place on a medium-high heat. Stir as the fats separate and sizzle, and then cook another minute.

Throw in the mixture of aromatics for 30 seconds before stirring in sliced scallions and turmeric. Cook another minute and then add coconut milk, vegetable stock and sweet potatoes. Heat to a boil and reduce to a simmer until the potatoes become tender.

At the same time, toast peanuts in the oil and chop up half of them. Pound the rest into a paste in the mortar and pestle, along with some sugar and salt. Move the paste into the pot.

Blend the soup until it’s smooth and resume simmering, Add chopped kale and cook for five minutes. Complete the dish by mixing in cilantro, lime juice, hot sauce, salt and black pepper and garnishing with peanuts, sliced pepper and scallions.

Minestrone is classic choice for a cold evening.Minestrone is classic choice for a cold evening.

3. Magnificent minestrone
Minestrone is an Italian classic, and Bon Appetit suggested a version that’s perfect for the winter months. Cut the meat off two large, smoked ham hocks and slice into large pieces. Place the bones in a pot with navy beans, covering with water, and bring to boil. After simmering for two minutes, remove the pot from heat and allow to rest for an hour.

Meanwhile, pour a quarter cup of olive oil into a separate pot and set over medium-high heat, adding the ham hock meat, leeks, onions, celery, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes, checking for the vegetables to become soft. Then, transfer the navy beans, bones and soaking liquid into the pot. Also, pour in chicken broth with squash and green beans.

Simmer for up to two hours, waiting for the navy beans to get soft. When the soup is nearly finished, start cooking pasta shells. When the pasta reaches al dente, drain and coat with olive oil and parsley. Throw out the ham bones, mixing spinach and more parsley into the soup. Ladle into bowls, serving with the pasta and a topping of green salsa.

There are countless ways to turn a freezing winter night into a cozy occasion with a good soup. Any student working toward an online culinary arts certificate can discover interesting ideas for putting seasonal ingredients to work in time-honored recipes with some personal inspiration. Whether you opt for minestrone, miso, a simple chicken noodle or something more adventurous, these dishes bring people together like few others.