Hunkering down into the folds of winter, my body begs a slowing down, a turning inward, a respite from the frantic pace of December. The seasonal change also brings a change in what I’m craving–– at the moment, soul-nurturing meal-in-a-pot soups. Below, I’ve mapped together some of my well-tested global favorites. (For dozens more, check out the drop down menu on the right.)
Scarola e Fagiole: White Bean and Escarole Soup with Pancetta. This is a hearty soup enjoyed in the wintry months in the Campagna region of Italy. It’s a delicious way of showcasing escarole, a slightly bitter green, delightful in this recipe.
Pozole: Traditional Mexican Soup. This is an abbreviated version of a Mexican classic typically served during the holidays. I love the combination of hominy and salsa verde in the brew but the garnishes are what give it personality.I make mine with fistfuls of cilantro, topped with creamy avocado.
Turkish Lentil Soup with Roasted Eggplant and Yogurt. Nothing is easier than making a soup with red lentils. Honestly, it’s about as easy to make as it is to open a can– the lentils break down into creamy, buttery richness in no time. I added roasted eggplant and sour cream to this feast of simplicity.
Gumbo Ya-Ya My sister-in-law is going to be dancing in one of the Mardi Gras parades (the Krewe of Poseidon) this March and I’m beside myself with jealousy (-: She’s been practicing with her group, the Disco Amigos, for months, the troupe recently watched and endorsed by the director of Saturday Night Fever, no less. This recipe is in honor of Susanne! You go, sistah’ soul. You go!
Thai Chicken Soup Ahhh…lemongrass, ginger, garlic and chilis. What could be better aromatherapy than a combination of these simmering smells to shout: I’m awake! I’m alive! And if you’re suffering from a cold, this may be exactly what the doctor ordered to clear your sinuses. The next time you’re craving chicken soup, try this one on for size.
Korean Hot Pot This most ancient of Asian recipes is a party in a bowl. I had a hot pot in China that included duck’s feet but I promise you that this recipe does not incorporate the “delicacy”; I took the liberty of substituting chicken and tofu. It’s replete with other goodies such as kim chee, soba noodles and watercress (why not?).
In February, hubby and I travel to the warmer climes of Kenya and Tanzania on safari (and to visit an old friend), to glimpse the way the world might have looked before mankind. It’s one of those trips we’ve been saying we’d do forever, but the expense, the vaccines, the two consecutive overnights in airplanes to get there have been a bit off-putting. But, sigh, it’s the sub-Saharan. Free-range elephants, lions, zebras, rhinos…if not now, when?
In the meantime, Unazungumza Kiswahili? (Do you speak Swahili?)