PHOTOS + RECIPES BY KATHERINE COSTELLO
While exotic juices and cleansing salads might be de rigueur in the ever-shifting arena of foods that heal, nothing new quite stands up to the visceral, curative properties of a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter day. It’s good for the soul.
Kit contributor Katherine Costello put together three quick-serve delights that are full of flavor and warmth.
“Soup is somewhat personal, and forgiving with many ingredients. If you like more of something, add it. Keep tasting through the process, especially when adding heat, such as jalapeños,” she advises.
Several ingredients among these recipes overlap, so declare a soup week and make them all. Costello has offered serving suggestions, but says this is a perfect opportunity to keep it simple with a loaf of crusty bread and some local cheeses.
SWEET SOUR AND SPICY SOUP
- 1 small pork tenderloin (about 1.5 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons each coarse salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Coat pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and brown pork on all sides. Reduce heat to medium, loosely cover and continue to cook on the stove for 20 minutes. Turn off heat let pork rest 20 minutes before slicing. (This can be done a day before serving; refrigerate and slice when ready to add to the soup. If making day of service, cook pork while you prep the soup base to make this a quick soup.)
- 1 16-ounce can pineapple rings (reserve the juice)
- 4 whole jalapeno peppers
- 2 cups sliced red, yellow and orange sweet peppers (the little sweet ones)
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup sliced cabbage
- 1 16-ounce can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 6-ounce can tomato juice
- 16 ounces vegetable broth
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat broiler to high and place rack 3-4 inches from broiler. Arrange the pineapple and jalapeños on a parchment-lined baking sheet and broil until they are blackened (5-10 minutes total); watch them carefully as they can burn easily. Remove from the oven and let them cool while you are assembling the remaining soup base.
- Sauté sweet peppers and onion in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan until softened (about 10 minutes). Add the cabbage and sauté a few more minutes; add the tomatoes, tomato paste , tomato juice, broth and reserved pineapple juice.
- Remove the skin from the roasted jalapeño and chop the pepper into small pieces; add to the soup mixture. Cut the pineapple in small bite-sized pieces and add to the mixture, reserving three rings for garnish. Chop half of the pork and add it to the mixture. Thinly slice the remaining pork to serve on top of the soup; set aside. Simmer soup for about 30 minutes.
- Ladle into four-six bowls. Divide the remaining pork among the bowls, and place a half of a pineapple ring on top for garnish. Serve with your favorite crusty bread. (Make a great bread spread by mincing two roasted pineapple rings and one roasted jalapeño pepper; whip into 1/4 cup soft butter.)
MEXICAN WINTER SOUP
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 3 cups sliced celery
- 1 cup chopped zucchini
- 32 ounces vegetable broth
- 1 15-ounce can hominy, drained
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 pinch cumin
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 limes, juiced
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onion, garlic, celery and zucchini until translucent. Add broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from saucepan and puree in a food processor, or use an immersion blender.
- Return to saucepan, adding the hominy, bay leaf, cumin, cilantro, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer 10 minutes, and then add the lime juice just before serving. (I think this would be a great winter smoothie replacement; you may want to skip the hominy, so it can fit in a travel mug.)
- Serve hot with chips and guacamole! I served this soup with tamales I purchased frozen from my taco place. If you don’t have one near your home, make a visit to the city and pick up some frozen tamales, or make them yourself. (Clear your calendar if you plan to do that, as they are time consuming and tedious.)
- 1/2 medium-sized sweet onion
- 1/2 large fennel bulb
- 1 carrot
- 3 small beets
- 2 small potatoes or 3-4 smaller fingerlings
- 1/4 cup sliced yellow or orange sweet peppers
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dill
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 head cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 32 ounces beef broth
- 1 cup water
- Salt, to taste
- 1 dash white pepper
- 8 ounces sour cream (some may say optional)
- Wash, peel, then thinly slice the first 5 ingredients, making sure they are bite-sized pieces. Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed stock pan, adding the onion, fennel, carrot and peppers; sauté until translucent (about 10 minutes). Add the beets, bay leaf, dill, tomato paste and cabbage; sauté for about a minute.
- Add the cider vinegar, broth, water and potatoes and cook on medium-high heat for 10 minutes; reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for about 30 minutes, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender but still hold their shape. Season, to taste, with salt and white pepper.
- Although this soup is very good chilled, this time of year serve it hot on a cold day, with a dollop of sour cream. Borscht is great with pumpernickel bread toasted with butter or goat cheese and fresh herbs.