Supper and snacks: Soups do it all

As the temperature steadily drops, we look at the pots simmering on our stove and wonder the place that soup has within the spectrum of meal courses. Soup is often cast into either a dipping sauce for bread or a supporting actor in a four-course culinary drama. While soup may seem like nothing more than a thin, salty liquid, soup takes on many wonderful forms. In its most primal form, soup can be thought of as an appetizer dish, but it can be more than that; it can be whatever you like. The following recipes will take you through a journey of the wonderful personalities of soup.

 

The Appetizer Soup: Homemade Miso Soup

Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup, often served as an appetizer before the meal. While absolutely delicious, it exemplifies the qualities of soup that gives way to its perception as a starter.

Ingredients for 2 servings:

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 sheet nori, cut into large rectangles
  • 3–4 tbsp white miso paste, a fermented soybean paste (Optional: Add bonito, a fish flavour, though bonito is not vegetarian)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green chard or other sturdy green such as cabbage  
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup firm tofu, cubed

Instructions:

  1. Place the vegetable broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a low simmer.
  2. Add nori and simmer for five to seven minutes.
  3. In the meantime, place the miso into a small bowl. Add hot water and whisk until smooth, ensuring that it doesn’t clump. Set aside.
  4. Add 1/2 cup green chard, 1/2 cup green onion, and 1/4 cup tofu to the pot and cook for five minutes. Remove from heat, add miso mixture, and combine while stirring. 
  5. Taste and add more miso or a pinch of sea salt, depending on your preference. This dish is best served warm and fresh.

(Recipe adapted from minimalistbaker.com

 

The Real Deal: Contest-Winning Hearty Hamburger Soup

A wonderful characteristic of soup is that you cover all of your food groups covered in one shot: The abundance of vegetables provide carbs, fibre, and vitamins, the meat adds fat and protein, and oregano is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. This humble hamburger soup is much more than the sum of its parts because it perfectly marries all of its different ingredients to create a wonderful new flavour. 

Ingredients for 8 servings:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup cut fresh or frozen green beans

Instructions:

  1. In a large saucepan, add brown beef and drain. Add four cups water, one can undrained diced tomatoes, three carrots, two potatoes, one onion, 1/2 cup celery, four teaspoons beef bouillon granules, salt, pepper, and oregano. Bring to a boil. 
  2. Reduce heat then cover the pan. Add green beans after simmering for 15 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are tender. Cover once again and simmer for another 15 minutes or until the beans are tender.

(Recipe adapted from tasteofhome.com

 

Breaking the Definition of the Dish: Strawberry Dessert Soup

Dessert soup, you dare say? 

Ingredients for 7 servings:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 2 cups strawberry yogurt
  • Optional: 2 to 3 drops red food colouring
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Instructions:

  1. In a large saucepan, combine 3/4 cup of water, one cup apple juice, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon cloves. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then remove from the heat.
  2.  Place the strawberries and remaining water in a blender. Cover and process until soup consistency is smooth. Pour into the apple mixture and stir in the yogurt and food colouring, if desired. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or until chilled.
  3. Ladle soup into bowls. Combine the sour cream and milk and place about 2-1/2 teaspoons into the centre of each bowl. Using a toothpick, pull the mixture out, forming a design of your choice.

(Recipe is adapted from tasteofhome.com)

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