Comforting and beloved, soups can be taken for granted as basic or simple. These books capture the art, spirit, and joy of cooking a pot of perfect soup. From elegant and refined to hearty comfort food, they are very versatile. These recipes will keep your pot full all year round. From classic chef techniques to home-spun recipes with simple ingredients, these books cover the whole range. One thing they all have in common is making stocks from scratch. While not difficult, it does take time. To save time for busy families, stocks can be made ahead and frozen, ready to put together a quick weekday dinner.
Book of Soups: More than 100 Recipes for Perfect Soups (Culinary Institute of America)
edited by Mary Donovan and Jennifer Armentrout
Written by the staff of the Culinary Institute of America, this book includes illustrated and detailed instructions for all the basic techniques common in soup making. Over a hundred recipes are organized by the six basic types of soup. Each one is characterized by a common technique. The six types are broths, hearty soups, cream soups, pureed soups, bisques & chowders, and cold soups. The last chapter of the Book of Soups is “Accompaniments”, which includes croutons, focaccia bread, dumplings, and buttermilk biscuits. There are also less common and expected side items such as vegetable chips, harissa and pistou. Highlights are the excellent classics, like Vichyssoise, Chicken Noodle Soup, Borscht, Egg Drop Soup, Clam Chowder, Gazpacho and Seafood Gumbo. International cuisine is also represented with a number of delights like Thai Hot and Sour Soup and a chickpea soup from Tunesia called Leblechi.
Splendid Soups: Recipes and Master Techniques for Making the World’s Best Soups (2000)
by James Peterson
This updated version of the 1993 original includes new recipes and more international ingredients. Chef Jeff Peterson’s book is comprehensive and full of strong opinions. He includes tips, techniques, serving suggestions and some amusing anecdotes. With close to 300 recipes, there is a vast range for all tastes and seasons. Everything from clear and simple consommés (broths), refreshing cold fruit soups, ethnic soups, and hearty stews. The book is organized by main ingredients. Some of the soups include ingredients that can be hard to find. Some of the recipes are difficult and could be intimidating for beginning cooks. Highlights include an excellent version of the classic French Onion Soup, Duck and Sherry Soup, and Spicy Brazilian Fish Soup with Coconut Milk.
New England Soup Factory Cookbook: More Than 100 Recipes from the Nation’s Best Purveyor of Fine Soup
by Carla Silverstein and Marjorie Druker
Marjorie Druker opened The New England Soup Factory in Brookline, Massachusetts. She changes the menu seasonally to take advantage of the freshest ingredients. This book includes her best recipes and covers a wide variety. They are organized into chapters by various categories as well. The first chapter is about making stocks. Some focus on ingredients, like tomato, chicken or seafood. There is one chapter for each season of the year. Of course no New England soup book would be complete without a chapter on chowders. Some of the other categories are childhood favorites and international (old-world flavors). To accompany the soups, she included a chapter on sandwiches and another on salads.
Tucked in here and there throughout the book are anecdotes about the inspiration or development of some of the recipes. One of the more interesting ones is how a customer suggested she had the gift to create a soup that would make sick people feel better. Thus Spicy Chicken and Rice Flu Chaser Soup was born. Marjorie takes comforting and familiar flavors from favorite dishes to create delicious soups. Highlights are Classic Lobster Bisque; Butternut Squash Soup with Calvados, Gorgonzola Cheese, and Prosciutto; Seafood Gazpacho; Mango and Lime Soup with Crème Fraiche, Indonesian Carrot Soup; and Greek Orzo, Lemon, and Chicken Soup.
Dairy Hollow House Soup and Bread Cookbook
by Crescent Dragonwagon
Dairy Hollow House is a country inn and restaurant in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Crescent Dragonwagon is an owner and head cook at the hospitable and cozy inn. The first chapter is detailed instruction and exploration of making stocks with several recipes for different kinds. The second chapter is about adding flavor and a little more soup technique. This includes several variations of mirepoix (a sauté of diced vegetables and aromatics) which is added to a stock to form the base of many soups. This chapter also includes recipes for flavorful condiments and garnishes to finish a soup with pizzazz. Things like garlic oil, basil pesto, and gremolata. The rest of the book is full of favorite recipes from the inn. She organized them by main ingredients. There is a chapter with an assortment of breads to serve along with the flavorful, welcoming soups. She finishes with a selection of salads to make everything complete.
The Soup Peddler’s Slow and Difficult Soups
by David Ansel
David Ansel started a soup delivery service with a yellow bicycle and a love of slow-cooked, soul-satisfying soups. A combination cookbook and memoir, “Soup Peddler” features 35 wonderful home-cooked recipes and humorous anecdotes about the colorful members of the local community of Bouldin Creek in Austin, Texas. Even for those who don’t enjoy cooking, this is an entertaining read. There are familiar favorites and more adventurous and exotic concoctions. Highlights are South Austin Chili, Smoked Tomato Bisque, Chompy-Chomp Black Bean Soup, Bouillabaisse Marseillaise and Ajiaco (Colombian chicken-corn soup).
With any of these books you have the tool you need to enjoy the satisfaction of simmering a pot full of flavor and warmth for yourself and anyone you love. Make it from scratch and share generously. Many chefs say that the ultimate test of real cooking skill is making soup. It also takes patience.