The month of January has been filled with wild temperature swings. The past few days have been frigid, starting in single digits, but staying well south of freezing. And yet, we saw a balmy 50 just this past weekend and 60 one day last week. Climate change is in the air, and something needs to stabilize it.
I do love winter, though maybe not as much as I used to. I certainly prefer winter to summer. The trick is to dress properly. In winter, you can bundle up. In summer, you can only take off so many clothes. My mainstay has been my flannel-lined jeans. That extra layer helps cut the wind and generally keeps me warmer inside and out.
Another trick is eating soup. A bowl of soup is just what the doctor (or maybe the weatherman?) ordered. I’ve made so many delicious pots of soup this month; I just haven’t gotten around to sharing about them.
Here’s a little roundup of my favorites:
This carrot soup is from Smitten Kitchen. The soup itself is nothing exciting, just a simple carrot puree. What makes this soup special are the garnishes: a lemony tahini sauce to swirl in, crispy chickpeas to sprinkle on top (though flavorful, mine were not very crispy), and za’atar topped pita chips (my new favorite snack). A bowl of this fully-adorned soup is a keeper!
This cauliflower soup was recommended by my Dorista friend Teresa from One Wet Foot. My previous go-to cauliflower soup starts with roasted cauliflower. This one does this same. However, Teresa’s soup is seasoned with curry powder. The curry powder also imparts a slight yellow tinge to the soup (you can’t really tell from the photo). This soup achieves a silky, creamy texture without any cream, so it will become my new go-to cauliflower soup recipe. Delicious!
Finally, drawing on inspiration from the freezer, pantry, and refrigerator, I created a pot of Turkey Mushroom Barley Soup. I thawed turkey bones from the freezer to make into rich stock in the slow cooker. To the finished stock, I added a complement of hearty vegetables (about 6 cups in all) and some barley and let it simmer until the barley was nearly tender. Finally, sautéed mushrooms and chopped turkey (frozen leftovers from Thanksgiving) were added to the pot. The result was a thick, hearty soup to warm us from the inside out.
Spring doesn’t usually arrive in these parts until April (optimistically), so there will be many more pots of soup in my future. Do you have a favorite recipe to recommend? Please share!
Turkey Mushroom Barley Soup
8 cups turkey stock (chicken would be fine)
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced into ¼-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, diced into ¼-inch pieces
2 turnips, peeled and diced into ¼-inch pieces
1 cup barley
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound mushrooms, quartered
2 cups chopped cooked turkey
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
In a large soup pot, combine stock, onion, carrots, celery, turnips, and barley. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Simmer for 40 minutes, until barley is nearly tender. In the meantime, heat the oil in a large skillet. Saute the mushrooms until they have given up all their liquid and the liquid in the skillet evaporates. The mushrooms should be tender at this point. When the stock has simmered for 40 minutes, the barley should be nearly tender. Add the mushrooms and turkey. Continue to cook the soup until the barley is completely tender and the turkey is warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
As it gets cold again, soup is just the ticket. This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie was both easy and elegant. In less than an hour, a pile of white and pale green vegetables are transformed into a pot of very creamy, yet creamless, creamy cauliflower soup sans cream.
You start with onions, garlic, celery, and some sprigs of fresh thyme, sautéed in some butter and olive oil. Then you add a head of cauliflower and some chicken broth and simmer until the cauliflower is tender. The soup gets pureed in a blender. I noticed a few chunks of cauliflower, so I actually strained it and reprocessed the chunks that I caught. The result is a lovely ivory soup that tastes like a mysterious potato-leek soup, except there aren’t any potatoes or leeks; it’s cauliflower!
I served this soup drizzled with some walnut oil and scattered some chopped walnuts on top. It was the perfect complement to a salad for lunch. Smaller bowls of the soup would be an elegant starter for dinner as well.
If you’d like to make this yourself, we don’t post recipes for this group, but you can find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. To see how the other Doristas enjoyed their soup, check out their links here.
Happy French Friday! Have a great weekend!