Soups

Whether you’re cooking for the family, or having friends around for a casual supper, nothing beats a bowl of steaming soup on a chilly day. Soup spells comfort as well as flavour, and when the soup is a substantial one, such as Ribollita or Clam Chowder, there’s no need for elaborate accompaniments.

A little freshly grated Parmesan, if appropriate, some warm bread rolls, the salt cellar and pepper mill – and the meal is served. For a more sophisticated occasion, serve Seafood Laksa or Bouillabaisse. The preparation may take a little longer, but the ease of serving will be just the same.

Summer Vegetable Soup

Summer Vegetable Soup

This brightly coloured, fresh-tasting tomato soup makes the most of summer vegetables in season. Add lots of red and yellow peppers to make a sweeter version.

Ribollita

Ribollita

This soup is rather like an Italian minestrone. It is based on tomatoes, but with beans instead of pasta. In Italy it is traditional ladled over bread and a green vegetable.

Russian Spinach and Root Vegetable Soup with Dill

Russian Spinach and Root Vegetable Soup with Dill

This is a typical Russian soup, traditionally prepared when the first vegetables of springtime appear. Earthy root vegetables, cooked with fresh spinach leaves, are enlivened with a tart, tresh topping of dill, lemon and sour cream.

A Potage of Lentils

A Potage of Lentils

This soup is sometimes known as Esau’s soup and is traditionally served in Jewish households as part of a meal for Shabbat. Red lentils and vegetables are cooked and pureed, then sharpened with lots of lemon juice.

Lubiya

Lubiya

This delicious Sephardi Israeli soup, of black-eyed beans and turmeric-tinted tomato broth, is flavored with tangy lemon and speckled with chopped fresh coriander. It is ideal for serving at parties – simply multiply the quantities as required.

Borlotti Bean And Pasta Soup

Borlotti Bean And Pasta Soup

A complete meal in a bowl, this is a version of a classic Italian soup. Traditionally, the person who finds the bay leaf is honored with a kiss from the cook.

Spinach and Rice Soup

Spinach and Rice Soup

Use very young spinach leaves to prepare this light and fresh – tasting soup.

Chunky Lamb and Chickpea Broth

Chunky Lamb and Chickpea Broth

This Jewish dish of savoury meats and beans is baked in a very low oven for several hours. A parcel of rice is often added to the broth part-way through cooking, which produces a lightly pressed rice with a slightly chewy texture.

Mediterranean Leek And Fish Soup With Tomatoes

Mediterranean Leek And Fish Soup With Tomatoes

This chunky soup, which is almost a stew, makes a robust and wonderfully aromatic meal in a bowl. Serve it with crust-baked croutes spread with a spicy garlic mayonnaise.

Fish Soup With Rouille

Fish Soup With Rouille

Making this soup is simplicity itself, although the flavor suggests it is the product of painstaking preparation and cooking.

Matelote

Matelote

Traditionally this fishermen's soup is made from freshwater fish, including eel, although in Normandy, they use sea fish and conger eel. Any firm fish can be used, but try to include at least some eel, and use a robust dry white or red wine for extra flavor.

Provencal

Provencal Fish Soup

The rice makes this a substantial main meal soup. Basmati or Thai rice has the best flavor, but any long grain rice could be used. If using a quick-cook rice, cook the vegetables for longer before adding the rice.

Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse

Authentic Bouillabaisse comes from the south of France and includes rascasse (scorpion fish) as an essential ingredient. It is, however, perfectly possible to make this wonderful main-course soup without it. Use as large a variety of fish as you can.

Seafood Laksa

Seafood Laksa

A Laksa is a Malaysian stew of fish, poultry, meat or vegetables with noodles. Authentic laksas are often very hot, and cooled by the coconut milk and the noodles. If you would prefer a spicy version, add a little chili powder instead of some of the paprika.

Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder

If fresh clams are hard to find, use frozen or canned clams for this classic recipe from New England. Large clams should be cut into chunky pieces. Reserve a few clams in their shells for garnish, if you like. Traditionally, the soup is served with savory biscuits called saltine crackers. You should be able to find these in any good delicatessen.

Chinese Crab And Corn Soup

Chinese Crab And Corn Soup

Frozen white crab meat works as well as fresh in this delicately flavored soup.

Lobster Bisque

Lobster Bisque

Bisque is a luxurious, velvety soup, which can be made with any crustaceans.

Pot-Cooked Udon In Miso Soup

Pot-Cooked Udon In Miso Soup

Udon is a white wheat noodle, more popular in the south and west of Japan than the north. It is eaten with various hot and cold sauces and soups. Here, in this dish known as Miso Nikomi Udon, the noodles are cooked in a clay pot with a rich miso soup.

Pumpkin, Rice, And Chicken Soup

Pumpkin, Rice, And Chicken Soup

This is a warm, comforting soup which, despite the spice and basmati rice, is quintessentially English. For and even more substantial meal, add a little more rice and make sure you use all the chicken from the stock.

Chicken And Leek Soup With Prunes And Barley

Chicken And Leek Soup With Prunes And Barley

This recipe is based on the traditional Scottish soup, Cock-a-leekie. The unusual combination of leeks and prunes is surprisingly delicious.

Cubed Chicken And Vegetables

Cubed Chicken And Vegetables

A popular Japanese cooking style simmers vegetables of different textures with a small amount of meat together in dashi stock. This chicken version is known as IRIDORI.

Sapporo-Style Ramen Noodles In Soup

Sapporo-Style Ramen Noodles In Soup

This is a rich and tangy soup from Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, which is Japan's most northerly island. Raw grated garlic and chili oil are added to warm the body.

Miso Soup With Pork And Vegetables

Miso Soup With Pork And Vegetables

This is quite a rich and filling soup. Its Japanese name, Tanuki Jiru, means raccoon soup for hunters, but as raccoons are not eaten nowadays, pork is now used.

Hot And Sour Soup

Hot And Sour Soup

One of China's most popular soups, this is famed for its clever balance of flavors. The "hot" comes from pepper; the "sour" comes from vinegar. Similar soups are found throughout Asia, some relying on chillies and lime juice to provide the essential flavor contrast.

Tokyo-Style Ramen Noodles In Soup

Tokyo-Style Ramen Noodles In Soup

Ramen is a hybrid Chinese noodle dish presented in a Japanese way, and there are many regional variations featuring local specialties. This is a legendary Tokyo version.

Crispy Wonton Soup

Crispy Wonton Soup

The freshly cooked crisp wontons are supposed to sizzle and "sing" in the hot soup as they are taken to the table.

Soba Noodles In Hot Soup With Tempura

Soba Noodles In Hot Soup With Tempura

When you cook Japanese noodle dishes, everyone should be ready at the dinner table, because cooked noodles start to soften and lose their taste and texture quite quickly.

Fragrant Beetroot And Vegetable Soup With Spiced Lamb Kubbeh

Fragrant Beetroot And Vegetable Soup With Spiced Lamb Kubbeh

The Jewish community from Cochin in India is scattered now but they are still famous for their cuisine. This tangy soup is served with dumplings make of bright yellow pasta wrapped around a spice lamb filling and a spoonful of fragrant green herb paste.