Winter is soup season Especially if the family’s been out sledding or skiing, a tureen of hot soup for supper brings everyone together.
Soup is readily available as takeout, canned, dehydrated or frozen. But to enjoy its full benefit, consider making it at home. As it simmers on the stove, the flavors meld and the tempting aroma carries throughout the home.
Soup making lends itself to getting everyone involved. If the kids in the family are interested, a new cookbook that includes lots of basic skill-building — and recipes for two popular soups — is Cooking with Kids: Fun, Easy, Approachable Recipes to Help Teach Kids How to Cook. Brianne Grajkowski wrote it. Fox Chapel Publishing introduced it in October.
Not only does soup taste good, the nutrients in soup can help ward off cold and flu. Studies show that chicken soup in particular can help prevent the common cold, especially if it’s loaded with fresh garlic, onions, celery and carrots.
Tomato, chicken noodle, potato, clam chowder are especially popular soups across the United States. Gumbo is the official Louisiana state cuisine. It’s a strongly-flavored stock that includes meat or shellfish, celery, bell peppers and onions. It’s thickened with either okra or crushed sassafras leaves.
Gumbo can be tricky to prepare, but celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse makes it seem achievable through several of his step-by-step videos available online.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Amadoscientist
Soup is enjoyed around the world. Trying recipes from different cultures is another way to expand a child’s horizon.
Minestrone is Italy’s most famous soup. It’s made with vegetables and pasta or rice usually in tomato broth. It is an easy soup to make with kids and you can find a recipe at the end of this post.
Pho is a popular soup from Vietnam. Rice noodles, herbs, and meat float in a broth.
Tom yum from Thailand pairs hot and sour flavors and shrimp.
Ramen is a noodle soup made with wheat noodles served in a broth seasoned with soy sauce and miso. Typical toppings include sliced pork and scallions. Although ramen originated in Japan, it has also gained popularity throughout Asia and beyond.
Unlike most soups, gazpacho, which originated in Spain, is served cold. Ingredients include tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and green peppers.
Another perspective on making soup is the timeless tale, “Stone Soup.” A recent revision, written by Marcia Brown, retells the tale of clever soldiers, who outwit greedy townspeople with the creation of a special soup. This cherished classic is for children from 3- to 10-years old.
Heart-Healthy MINESTRONE SOUP
Sauté in 2 tsp. olive oil;
3/4 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
3 cups water
2 cups zucchini, sliced
3/4 cup celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
I 19-ounce can cannellini beans
1 14-ounce can petite tomatoes
1/4 tsp, oregano
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. salt
2 beef bouillon cubes
Bring to a boil.
Cover for 25 minutes.
1/4 cup elbow pasta
Cook for 10 minutes.
Serve and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Marilyn Ostermiller is a longtime journalist who also writes stories for children.