Ah, soup. Is there any better comfort food? Even if you’re not a cook, making soup—the chopping, the simmering, the gentle anticipation—is therapeutic. And the eating, well, it’s like a warm hug on a cold day.
To step up your soup game beyond the usual chicken-noodle or split pea, here are some more unusual recipes to warm up your winter.
Vampires, beware: this recipe calls for (wait for it) two cups of chopped garlic. Fortunately for anyone within breathing distance, the pungency of the garlic is toned down by low, slow cooking. For best results, make the soup the day before and allow the flavours to mellow and merge overnight. Recipe: www.foodandwine.com
The unusual ingredient in this traditional Scottish soup is prunes, which add a sweet richness to the simple chicken broth. Make sure your prunes are pitted, of course, just to avoid any unfortunate dental accidents. Recipe: www.bbcgoodfood.com
When you can’t decide between a cheeseburger and a bowl of steamy soup, don’t worry—you can have both. This is essentially a pureed potato soup with a little something extra. Feel free to add bacon, sausage, or fried onions if you like your cheeseburgers “deluxe.” Recipe: www.therecipecritic.com
Brussels sprout soup
Brussels sprouts get a bad rap as woody, bitter, or unpleasantly cabbagey. In this soup, though, they’re elevated to creamy, leek-scented goodness. Plus you get the comfort of knowing you’re cooking with seasonal ingredients. The frizzled Brussels sprout garnish just adds an extra bit of Flemish flair. Recipe: www.deliaonline.com
Ajiaco (Colombian chicken soup)
OK, so this is chicken soup, but it’s chicken soup with a Colombian twist, featuring ears of corn, three different kinds of potatoes and a garnish of capers, avocado, sour cream, and cilantro. Traditional preparations use Andean potatoes and a grassy herb called guascas, but those can be hard to find, so we’ve given you a grocery-store friendly recipe instead. Recipe: www.finecooking.com
Mirao chicken soup
Not your standard chicken soup, this brandy-laced, spiced concoction—which is served poured over a piece of garlic-rubbed day-old bread—is thought to be close to what Christopher Columbus would have eaten at home. Buon appetito! Recipe: www.esquire.com
Spicy albóndigas so
This lovely Mexican meatball soup is a spicy bowl of abuela (that’s grandma in Spanish) love. Feel free to eliminate the chilis if you prefer a less spicy version. You can also substitute uncooked quinoa for the rice in the meatballs. Recipe: www.hispanickitchen.com