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.

  • 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. SERVES SIX INGREDIENTS 2 wood ears (Chinese dried mushrooms), soaked for 30 minutes in warm water to cover 1.2 litres / 2 pints / 5 cups chicken stock 2.5 cm / 1 in … Continue reading “CRISPY WONTON 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. SERVES SIX INGREDIENTS 4-6 dried shiitake mushrooms 2-3 small pieces of … Continue reading “HOT AND SOUR SOUP”

  • 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. SERVES FOUR INGREDIENTS 2 chicken thighs, about 200 g / 7 oz, boned, with skin remaining 1 large carrot, trimmed 1 konnyaku 300 g / 11 oz satoimo … Continue reading “CUBED CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES”

  • LOBSTER BISQUE

  • Bisque is a luxurious, velvety soup, which can be made with any crustaceans. SERVES SIX INGREDIENTS 500 g / 1¼ lb fresh lobster 75 g / 3 oz / 6 tbsp butter 1 onion, chopped 1 carrot, diced 1 celery stick, diced 45 ml / 3 tbsp brandy, plus extra for serving (optional) 250 ml … Continue reading “LOBSTER BISQUE”

  • 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 … Continue reading “CLAM CHOWDER”

  • 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. SERVES FOUR TO FIVE INGREDIENTS 3 medium-hot fresh … Continue reading “SEAFOOD LAKSA”

  • 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. SERVES FOUR INGREDIENTS 45 ml / 3 tbsp olive oil 2 onions, chopped 2 leeks, … Continue reading “BOUILLABAISSE”

  • 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. SERVES FOUR TO SIX INGREDIENTS 450 g / 1 lb fresh mussels about 250 ml / … Continue reading “PROVENCAL FISH SOUP”

  • 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. SERVES SIX INGREDIENTS 1 kg / 2¼ lb … Continue reading “MATELOTE”

  • FISH SOUP WITH ROUILLE

  • Making this soup is simplicity itself, although the flavor suggests it is the product of painstaking preparation and cooking. SERVES SIX INGREDIENTS 1 kg / 2¼ lb mixed fish 30 ml / 2 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, chopped 1 carrot, chopped 1 leek, chopped 2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped 1 red (bell) pepper, seeded … Continue reading “FISH SOUP WITH ROUILLE”

  • SPINACH AND RICE SOUP

  • Use very young spinach leaves to prepare this light and fresh – tasting soup. SERVES FOUR INGREDIENTS 675 g / 1½ lb fresh spinach leaves, washed 45 ml / 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 small onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 small fresh red chili, seeded and finely chopped 225 … Continue reading “SPINACH AND RICE SOUP”

  • 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. SERVES FOUR INGREDIENTS 175 g / 6 oz / 1 cup black-eyed beans (peas) 15 ml / 1 … Continue reading “Lubiya”

  • 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. SERVES FOUR INGREDIENTS 45 ms / 3 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, chopped 2 celery sticks, chopped 1-2 … Continue reading “A Potage of Lentils”

  • 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. SERVES SIX TO EIGHT INGREDIENTS 450 g / 1 lb ripe plum tomatoes 225 g / 8 oz ripe yellow tomatoes 45 ml / … Continue reading “Ribollita”

  • 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. SERVES FOUR INGREDIENTS 450 g / 1 lb ripe plum tomatoes 225 g / 8 oz ripe yellow tomatoes 45 ml / 3 tbsp olive oil 1 large onion, … Continue reading “Summer Vegetable Soup”