Mark Bittman (one of my favourite cooking authors; his How to Cook
Everything is superb) recently had a really useful article
customisable soups. Starting from four basic recipes (a creamy
spinach soup, a simple broth with toast, an earthy bean soup, and a
hearty minestrone) he proceeds to offer two additional variations on
each, for a total of twelve different soups. Over the past few weeks
I’ve been making the ones that sound good (no tomato soup,
natch) for myself & my kid brother.
The curried cauliflower and squash-and-ginger soups are top-notch, as
good as anything one might find in a restaurant. I made the spinach
soup with lettuce; it was delicious, almost minty, the night I made it
and loathsome the next day. I’ve also made a broccoli and
ginger soup, which was tasty. I need to experiment more with blended
soups: I really, really like them.
His broth recipe is thick and good; I’m going to have to use a
variant of it in my future bone stocks. The egg drop soup was tasty,
but I agitated the soup too much and the egg drops became more of an
egg foam. The rice-and-pea soup was good but perhaps a bit too thick.
I might try it again with less rice, or a different kind of rice.
The bean and black bean soups are good. I’m going to
do more cooking with dried beans: they’re cheaper than canned,
and have less sodium. The problem with the chickpea soup is that even
soaked overnight, dried chickpeas take forever to cook. I’ll
have to play with it some more.
I haven’t tried the minestrone or mushroom soups yet. I may
make the former tonight. As for the latter, neither of us is a great
fan of mushrooms, but perhaps with non-button varieties it could be
One nice thing about these recipes is that, having made them all, one
should never again be at a loss for something to throw together at the
last minute for dinner.