Winter weather calls for hearty fare, and nothing really warms the soul like soup.
Soup is something that I had always assumed to be complicated: lots of ingredients, fancy equipment, tricky steps, and a high risk of failure. This is far from the truth:
To make a good soup, all you need is a few ingredients, a pot, and a little time. Far from being difficult, soup is almost foolproof.
If you’ve never made soup before, a good starter recipe would be the artichoke soup I made last weekend.
This soup is incredibly simple and has just a few ingredients, most of which you should have in your kitchen right now. The basic process – saute, simmer, blend – is essentially the same for any soup you ever make. The vegetables and seasonings will change, but the steps are essentially the same.
Eat this soup with some good-quality whole wheat bread, warm from the toaster. I used a whole wheat sourdough from the farmer’s market.
1 onion, chopped
1 14-oz bag of frozen artichoke hearts
~3 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
~1/8 cup heavy cream (optional)
2. Add artichoke hearts and a pinch of salt. Cook together for a few more minutes, then add 2 cups of stock.Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer together for about half an hour.
3. Allow the soup to cool a little bit, then pour the soup in a blender and puree. Do this CAREFULLY. Hot liquid in a blender is a recipe for a messy kitchen and second-degree burns. Don’t fill the blender beyond halfway, make sure the lid is on fully, and cover the top of the blender with a towel. Always start by pulsing briefly a few times. If you want to be extra safe, you can lay saran wrap over the blender before inserting the lid to ensure a tight seal.
4. Return the soup to the saucepan and add additional chicken broth to thin the soup to the consistency you like. Add the heavy cream. Taste for seasoning.
5. Heat the soup and serve.