My favorite season is coming up, and that’s soup season! My neighbor and Soup Sister Julie Burford and all the folks on the block are getting revved up, and I can already see the steam coming out of the kitchens. The first stage of soup making is broth making, so we’re all busy making Magic Mineral Broth (see below) and bone broths and freezing them in quart jars, ready to incorporate them into big colorful vats of nourishing, comforting, savory soups!
I celebrate the beginning of the season of soup.
I feel like the happy soup chef in Maurice Sendak’s Chicken Soup with Rice (here in a video with Carole King singing the verses, so adorable).
I fervently believe that everybody feels better after a bowl of soup.
Throughout my twenty-year culinary consulting and cooking career in the food-as-medicine movement, I’ve been, first and foremost, a soup maker. Soup is my wheelhouse, where I firmly stand. Soup is the greatest form of nourishment, period, end of story, and I think it has been since they were putting the pot over the open fire thousands of years ago. I’ve always felt a connection with soup makers through the ages, from the dawn of fire to my ancestors, especially my great grandmother, my grandmother, my mother, and now me!
I collect antiquarian cookbooks, and a favorite I have is called Cookery Illustrated and Household Management by Elizabeth Craig, printed by Odhams Press in Great Britain in 1936. Stocks, broths and soups figure prominently in this practical book, described thus in a listing on Amazon:
“Here is a practical, interesting guidebook on the techniques of cooking - from making the most out of leftovers and preventing waste, to stocks and soups and sauces, to healthy diets and keeping your weight in check. There are sections on cooking for children; Jewish cookery; household management and hints; vegetarian dishes; and preserves. All presented the English/ Great Britain way. A wonderful, uncommon, vintage cookbook.”
Another vintage favorite is a book of soups published in 1949, replete with stocks, broths, soups and stews of a bygone era... Mushroom consommé au sherry, Scotch mutton broth, consommé with noodles, all the bouillons… Chowders, Mulligatawny soup, Hungarian Goulash! These antiquated books have handwritten notes and check marks from previous owners, which I thoroughly enjoy.
Soup is the universal language of nourishment.
And this is the time of year where we are going through a transition from hot to cold to hot to cold to cold... The nights are getting colder. We’re heading towards flu season. Our kids are in school, picking up bugs and it’s the time we want to start building up our immune systems. Time for cozying up to a warm bowl of soup!
Soups make it easy to incorporate mighty servings of vegetables in all manner of ways. Stocks alone furnish a virtual IV drip of minerals and collagen and numerous good things our bodies require. When the chill comes on I start carrying my magic mineral broth in my trusty insulated travel mug so I have the ultimate in nourishment wherever I go. My immune system’s invisible cloak.
- Pair up with a friend (or several friends). Use the same stock, pick 4 different soup recipes, and do a round robin soup session. Everybody chops onions celery, carrots. It’s a great activity for young and old. This is why I keep extra vegetable scrapers in my drawer. Cooking is more FUN together! And for those of you gnashing your teeth over how to cook healthy during a busy week, do it ahead of time! Make soups and freeze them, add a salad or a nice piece of fish and bingo! Weeknight dinner problem solved.
- Make stock in a slow cooker, Instant pot, or old fashioned stock pot. Either way you get the old-fashioned aromatherapy going in the house, one of THE great benefits.
In brief, make soup!
To make it easier, take my online Clean Soups Course. Learn how to yield your ladle like a pro. Soup making is one of THE great life skills to acquire, since it will (a) make it easy for you to deliciously nourish yourself and (b) make you incredibly popular.
Try these recipes for your Soup Session.
Start with Magic Mineral Broth.
Before your Soup Session, make plenty of my famous Magic Mineral Broth.
This is my Rosetta stone of soup, a broth that can be transformed to meet a myriad nutritional needs, serving as everything from a delicious sipping tea to the powerful base for more hearty soups and stews. So no matter what a person’s appetite, it can provide a tremendous nutritional boost. This rejuvenating liquid, chock-full of magnesium, potassium, and sodium, allows the body to refresh and restore itself. I think of it as a tonic, designed to keep you in tip-top shape.
Try these 3.
I’ve started with 3 of my favorite blended soups. But feel free to peruse the Recipe Box or your copy of Clean Soups. (Don’t have one? Purchase here.). So MANY delicious soups to choose from! A friend said to me yesterday, “I long for your Ruby Red Beet Soup!” I got such a kick out of that. Longing for soup. (The Ruby Red Beet Soup is in Clean Soups, btw. :)
Saffron is one of my favorite spices to cook with. Yes, it can be a bit costly, but you really need very little saffron to get a huge bang for your buck. Here it gives a luscious, exotic taste to the carrots, which are naturally sweet. Saffron is also a visual delight; in this soup the saffron looks like monks’ robes tossed against a vibrant orange background. Consider this dish a treat for all your senses. I find when I don’t make this soup for a really long time and then I taste it? I can’t help but say, ooooh! You sexy thing!
I always laugh when I hear people raving about tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches: Of course they love it…it’s just pizza deconstructed! My favorite way of making this soup is to head to the farmer’s market and gather all the bruised heirlooms I can find (you can get a lot for pennies on the dollar, and you don’t need pristine tomatoes for this recipe). I roast the tomatoes with garlic, olive oil, salt and just a hint of dark amber maple syrup to balance out the tomatoes’ natural acidity. Heirloom tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an incredibly powerful antioxidant that is released as part of the cooking process. The perfect swan song to summer, the last of the crop!
Here’s a recipe where, if it’s leafy and green, it’ll work. I use chard and collards, but kale or spinach would be brilliant too—in fact, put it this way: if you think Popeye would eat it, it’s in. The flavor enhancers are onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest, with a yellow potato thrown in for creaminess. The whole pot gets blended, and you’ll swear you’re eating emeralds (albeit luscious ones): that’s how shimmering green this soup looks. It’s a smart, calming soup, with whichever cruciferous greens you use (kale, bok choy, watercress, collards) providing a ton of folate, which may help ward off depression. Soooo good, and soooo good for you!