When the weather outside is frightful

Winter weather can be terrifying, so here are a few ways to warm up, with these wonderful soup recipes.

Tortilla soup (photo credit: Courtesy)
Tortilla soup
(photo credit: Courtesy)
With such wintery weather everywhere, soup seems like the perfect beginning to every meal.  Both of these delicious choices are savory soups, meaning they have deep, rich flavors without a lot of sweetness. This warms the body and the spices are also healthy for improved immunity. Both can be made parve or meaty and are full of flavor.
Chicken Tortilla SoupServes 6
6 corn tortillasAll-natural vegetable or olive oil cooking sprayKosher salt3 to 4 tablespoons corn oil2 tablespoons chili powder1 tablespoon ground cumin 2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped2 fresh bay leaves1 large onion, choppedHandful fresh cilantro leaves, roughly choppedFreshly ground black pepper1 quart chicken stockOne 450 gram can diced tomatoes with green chilies or 1 can diced tomatoes mixed with one 4-ounce can chopped green chilies4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts2 ripe avocados2 limesParve sour cream, for garnishTortilla chips for garnish
Heat the corn oil in a soup pot or large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Chop tortillas into 1 to 1 1/2-inch squares, and then stir into the pot 1 minute.
Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic, bay leaves, onions and cilantro, sprinkle with some salt and pepper and stir to toast the spices. Cook until the onions are translucent, 12 to 15 minutes.
Pour in the stock with the tomatoes and chilies and bring to a boil. Add the chicken, reduce the heat a bit and simmer to cook through, 15 minutes.
Remove the chicken, slice or chop the breasts, and then return to the soup. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
To serve, dice the avocados and cut the limes into wedges. Place some avocado at the bottom of each soup bowl and douse with a healthy squeeze of lime juice before filling the bowls with soup. At the table, top the soup with tortilla chips and sour cream.Savory Sweet Potato SoupServes 4
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed4 cups chicken or vegetable stock. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped1 tablespoon maple syrup1/2 teaspoon cumin 1/2 teaspoon fennel 1 tablespoon chopped celery leaves Pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the sweet potatoes in a soup pot, and cover with the water. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Drain.
While the potatoes are draining, reheat the pot and add the oil over medium heat.  Add the ginger, and cook for one minute, add maple syrup, cumin, fennel, salt, pepper, and celery leaves, and cook the spices for about 10 seconds. Return the sweet potatoes to the pot with the spice mixture and also the chicken stock, and mix until the spices are evenly distributed. With an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.  Transfer the soup to warm soup bowls, and serve. These recipes were brought to you by www.gourmetkoshercooking.com