Pascale's Kitchen: Creative winter soup recipes

This week, I’ve included a number of soup recipes that are perfect for the season.

(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
I love this time of year. The weather has cooled, the days are shorter, and here and there it rains. But what I really love is getting to cook winter foods and lovely soups that are perfect to serve on cold, wintry days.
One of the suggestions I offer in food workshops is that improvising – especially on soups – is one of the most fun parts of spending time in the kitchen. I always say, let your creativity spring forth and dare to step out of your comfort zone.
I like to add grains and legumes to my winter soups to make them rich and hearty.
You can also add different pastas, which is a favorite among children.
This week, I’ve included a number of soup recipes that are perfect for the season.
One is a hearty barley and lentil soup. Another is a thick corn soup that is a favorite among children and adults alike. The third is a minestrone soup, and the fourth is spicy Tunisian chickpea soup with harissa and cumin. Stay warm! Translated by Hannah Hochner.
Makes six to eight servings ¼ cup oil 2 onions, chopped finely 5 cloves garlic, crushed 1 Tbsp. cumin ½ tsp. cinnamon 2 level Tbsp. onion soup powder 1 Tbsp. salt ½ tsp. black pepper ½ tsp. spicy paprika 2 Tbsp. tomato paste 1 potato, peeled and cubed 5 sprigs of parsley, chopped finely 5 sprigs of cilantro, chopped finely ¾ cup green lentils, soaked for 30 minutes in water and then drained 1½ cups pearl barley, rinsed well 8 cups water Heat the oil in a large pot and add onion. Sauté until golden brown and then add garlic. Fry for a few seconds and then add cumin, cinnamon, onion soup powder, salt, pepper, spicy paprika, and tomato paste. Stir and then pour in 1 cup of water and add potatoes, parsley, cilantro and bring to a boil.
Add the lentils and barley and bring to a boil. Pour in the rest of the liquid (water should reach up to ¾ of the pot). Cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes. Stir every once in a while. If necessary, add more boiling water.
Taste and adjust seasoning.
Most likely, you’ll fall in love with this soup and want to prepare it over and over. One of the reasons this soup is so amazing is that it’s so easy to add little changes by adding a little more spice or whatever ingredient you desire.
Makes four to six servings 2 Tbsp. oil 1 small onion, chopped 1 Tbsp. flour 1 tsp. ginger, chopped 2 Tbsp. chicken soup powder 3 cups (or two 550-gr. cans) corn 7 cups water or chicken stock (if using the latter, there’s no need to add soup powder) Black pepper 1 Tbsp. soy sauce 1 Tbsp. cornflour ½ cup water 1 egg, beaten Serving suggestions: 1 spicy green pepper, cut into thin slices 2 scallions, cut into thin slices 1 tsp. sesame oil Heat the oil in a medium pot and add the onion. Sauté until translucent.
Add the flour and stir until it has completely dissolved. Add the ginger and soup powder (unless you’re using chicken stock). Stir and then add the corn and water or chicken stock. Cook for 10 minutes and then add pepper and soy sauce. Stir.
In a separate bowl, mix the cornflour with ½ cup of water and stir until all the lumps have been dissolved. Pour it in the pot and stir. Cook while stirring for five minutes.
Using a hand blender, blend some (or most) of the corn pieces. Cook for another 20 minutes.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg with a fork and then dribble it into soup to form thin strings. Cook for a few more minutes and then serve.
TIPascale You can also add a spicy red pepper (that’s been de-seeded and chopped), a cup of chicken breast cut into thin strips or a few drops of sesame oil just before serving.
In addition to the vegetables and pasta, you can also add cabanos or beans to minestrone soup.
Makes six to eight servings 2 Tbsp. olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 2 stalks of celery, chopped 2 carrots, cubes 5 cloves of garlic, crushed 2 medium zucchini, cubed 2 tomatoes, cut into small pieces ½ tsp. black pepper ½ tsp. salt 2 sprigs of thyme 1 small container (100 gr.) tomato paste 7-8 cups water (or chicken or beef stock) 1½ cups frozen green beans 1½ cups dry fava beans, soaked in water overnight and then peeled ¾ cup small skinless broad beans, soaked in water for two hours 150 gr. macaroni (pasta number 7 or 8) Heat oil in a large pot. Add the onion, celery and carrots and sauté until vegetables begin to soften. Add the garlic and zucchini and stir. Next, add the tomatoes and continue to sauté for another five minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and add thyme, tomato paste and four cups of water or stock. Bring to a boil and then lower flame. Cook for 30 minutes until vegetables soften.
Add the green beans, fava beans and broad beans and stir. Continue cooking over a medium flame and cook for another 20 minutes. Add the rest of the liquids and the pasta. You can leave the macaroni whole or break into pieces.
Stir and if necessary add another cup of water. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes until pasta is soft. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Makes six servings 250 gr. chickpeas soaked overnight in water and then rinsed well ½ head of garlic, chopped ½ Tbsp. harissa or spicy paprika ½ tsp. cumin ½ tsp. salt ½ tsp. baking soda Fill half the pot with water and add the baking soda. Bring to a boil. Add the chickpeas, chopped garlic, harissa, cumin and salt. Cover and cook for 45 minutes over a low flame until chickpeas soften.
Add two cups of water and cook for another 10 minutes.
Just before serving, add a tablespoon of olive oil to soften spiciness of harissa.
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