Some people think summer is not soup season.
Some people would be wrong.
What could be better on a hot, humid day than a bowl of flavorful, chilled soup?
It’s cool, refreshing, and best of all, easy.
It has to be made ahead, forcing one to make it in the cool of the morning, or even the cool of the evening the day before.
Still not convinced?
Simple summer soups – the easy way.
First a word about cold soups: They are almost always vegetable or fruit based and almost always puréed. I would say always, but someone, somewhere, knows of a chilled summer soup that is chunky and meat based…. And then my statement would be wrong. I so hate to be wrong.
They are not, however, always cooked.
The soups that are not cooked are simple: combine the ingredients, purée and chill, allowing the flavors to blend.
For soups that are cooked, there are some tricks to keep actual effort to a minimum.
- Cut or chop all of the vegetables fairly small. This allows for faster cooking.
- If you need to sauté onions or leeks first, do that while you chop the rest of the vegetables.
- After you add all of the vegetables and stock or water, turn the heat up, cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then turn the heat off – do NOT lift the lid. You are creating a sterile environment inside the pan – lifting the lid destroys that. Let the soup sit until the lid is just cool enough to touch. The residual heat will cook the vegetables (that are chopped, not in big chunks), unattended by you.
- Or let it sit longer. Walk away, go do something…. Your work is done. When you think of it, put the soup in the fridge.
- Chilled soups need stronger flavoring than hot soups. Be generous with the herbs and spices.
- Purée it after it’s chilled. It will be thicker after chilling. Use as much of the cooking liquid as needed to get the consistency you like.
- Taste, adjust seasonings and refrigerate until ready to serve.
The great thing about soups, hot or cold, is one can make them from almost anything edible.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
And one more – that I serve hot in winter and cold in summer.
Soup is so flexible….
I was given the recipe for this soup by the chef of Tidy Dols in London. It’s bright green color and fresh taste have been a favorite for years. This makes enough to serve four.
2 ribs celery
1 medium potato
1 tbs butter
10oz (300gr) fresh spinach
3 – 4 cups (24 – 32oz, 750 – 1000ml) chicken stock
more stock if needed to get desired consistency
2 tbs Greek yogurt
Roughly chop onion, celery and thinly slice leeks. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, celery, leeks and sauté until softened.
Roughly chop potato (peeling optional) and add to pan along with 3 cups chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are done, about 15 minutes.
Pick through spinach, removing any bad leaves and thick stems. Add to soup when potatoes are done. You will probably have what seems like a huge amount of spinach but it will all fit – just add handfuls of leaves, stir into soup; when they are wilted, add more. When all of the spinach is in the pan and wilted, purée the soup, either in a blender or with an immersion blender. It should be a lovely bright green – thus the name…
Keep warm or chill until ready to serve. Serve with a dollop of yogurt in the center (you can draw a knife through to make patterns…)
What are your favorite summer soups?