It happens every year. In almost Pavlovian fashion, as soon as the temperatures drop and the rain starts to fall, I get cravings for hot, steamy soup. The good thing about soup, as opposed to other winter dishes, is that it’s really varied. That is to say – there’s no limit on soup, be it a soup focused on one main ingredient, or a whole mess of things thrown into the pot. I’ve chosen to present you with two soup recipes that I especially love, to serve six people.
Creamy pea soup:
With creamy soups, I especially love adding strong, dominant flavors to set the tone. Creamy soups generally have gentle flavors, but not this time. To this particular soup I add celery, coriander, cumin, and caraway to bring in the strong winter tastes and smells.
Ingredients: 1½ cups of dry peas. A white onion cut into small pieces. 2 cloves of garlic. 1 leek, thinly sliced. 1 celery stalk, cut into small pieces. 1 potato, cut into small pieces. 2 liters vegetable (or chicken) stock. Salt and pepper. 1 teaspoon ground cumin. 1 teaspoon ground coriander. 1 teaspoon ground caraway.
Directions: Steam the onion, celery, leek and garlic in a medium-sized pot. Add the spices, then the peas, and finally the stock. Bring it all to a boil, then add the potato, and let it simmer on a medium flame for an hour, until the peas are soft. Transfer the mixture to a food processor, and blend it all together. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick, add water.
A tip: Add freshly chopped cilantro before serving, as well as croutons, of course. And for those who like their soup a bit sour, some lemon on the side will do the trick.
Creamy Jerusalem artichoke soup:
As far as I’m concerned, Jerusalem artichoke is king of the kitchen. It always provides a unique flavor, and definitely upgrades the dish it’s in. For this soup, I decided to pair Jerusalem artichoke with porcini mushrooms and chestnuts, which bolster its flavor and create an outstanding dish, which started as a special at my restaurant, but ended up a regular fixture on the winter menu due to demand.
Ingredients: 170 grams sliced leeks. 80 grams butter. 230 grams peeled chestnuts. 1 kilogram Jerusalem artichoke. 19 grams dry porcini mushrooms. 14 grams garlic. 600 ml water. 1 liter milk. 2 grams ground black pepper. 23 grams thyme leaves. 25 grams sea salt.
Directions: In a large pot, steam the leeks with butter, then add all of the ingredients together, cover, and bring to a boil. After it boils, lower the flame and let simmer for 20 minutes. Then transfer to a food processer, and blend it all together. Serve with hard toast.