Thursday, December 24, 2009

Warm Your Belly

The howling winter wind bites at my face like an angry dog as I trudge through the icy white mounds on the ground. My whole body is frozen solid. Just one more block until I'm home, I tell myself. Finally I push open the door to my apartment building, and when I pass through the portal between the merciless open air and the secure shelter, my skin begins to thaw.

It takes more than that to warm my belly, though. Upstairs in my apartment, I greet my family and head straight for the kitchen. I grab a pot and fill it with water. I chop chop chop and toss in this and that, and several minutes later my husband and I are sitting down to savor our hot, steaming bowls of soup....

I don't make soup from a recipe; I make it up every time. Basically, to make a soup that's yummy and a healthy, complete meal I just use:

-Osem or Telma soup mix or chicken broth;
-any combination of veggies, e.g. carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, green beans, zucchini;
-some kind of protein like chicken, beans, nuts, or eggs (to make it eggdrop soup);
-some kind of starch such as brown rice, potatoes, corn, or whole wheat pasta;
-fresh herbs and spices like onions, garlic, ginger, parsley, and/or any kind of dried herbs and spices;
-just a bit of salt, or no salt at all since there's plenty in the broth already
-sometimes pasta sauce and/or soy sauce.

There's no uniform cooking time. Soup with potatoes or dry beans probably needs at least 20 minutes, while chicken needs to be cooked through thoroughly, usually at least a half hour. Brown rice could also be done in a half hour if you cook the soup on high the whole time, but make sure there's plenty of water if you're going to do that. I sometimes end up with rice pilaf instead of soup if I don't put enough water in. Pasta needs the cooking time that's given on the package, while soup without any of these items might actually be done in, like, five minutes. Also, the order of ingredients doesn't matter, but I would recommend putting the water in first and having it cook while you add everything else.

I find, during the winter, that I make soup for dinner several nights a week, but it comes out different every time since I use a different combination of stuff every time.

Please leave comments with other tips, ideas, and/or questions about winter soup!


  1. sometimes, to give soup a better flavor, you may want to put a little oil at the bottom and add the onions to cook to clear and then spices 'til they become aromatic. Just a spin on your cooking order that you suggested (water first)

  2. Thank you, that's an excellent suggestion! I'll let you know how it goes.