Savor Soup Made From Scratch

Savor Soup Made From Scratch

With this foundation of vegetables and water, delicious, homemade soup doesn’t have to be complicated. Adding personality is up to you.

If a pot of homemade soup brings to mind a big kettle of many ingredients simmering for hours, think again. There’s an easy formula for preparing vegetable soups that requires only a few ingredients and minimal cooking time, yet yields the same rich comfort that soup is intended to provide. You need about a pound of fresh vegetables, three cups of water and a blender or a food processor (though a potato masher can be pressed into service). The result will be two generous portions of velvety warmth or four more modest servings.

Adding personality is up to you. The basic soup can be enriched by replacing the water with stock, adding heavy cream or coconut milk, or stirring in some olive oil, basil oil or a nut oil. Lightly sautéed ginger, chiles, onion, garlic or shallots can be puréed with the vegetables. The soup can be dressed with a dollop of Greek yogurt, fresh goat cheese, pesto or chili crisp; you can add a scattering of croutons, capers, chives or other minced herbs, some grated cheese, diced avocado, scallions, toasted almonds or pine nuts, sieved hard-boiled egg yolk or crumbled bacon just before serving.

The following is the template for a basic soup, done with carrots and ginger, and suggestions for some other combinations. Though fresh vegetables are the backbone of most of these soups, some canned items, notably black or cannellini beans and San Marzano tomatoes, also work well (consider drafting leftover cooked vegetables). For most of the soups, a splash of acid — lemon juice or a few drops of vinegar — is essential for brightening the flavor.

Carrot-Ginger soup

Savor Soup Made From Scratch

Basic Vegetable Soup: Carrot-Ginger

Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 pound carrots (about 8), peeled, trimmed, cut in chunks

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon finely minced carrot tops or other herbs, optional

1. Heat oil on medium in a 3-quart saucepan. Add ginger and sauté a few minutes, until softened. Stir in carrots. Add 3 cups water.

2. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a lively simmer and cook until carrots are very tender when pierced with a knife, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add 3 to 4 ice cubes to hasten cooling.

3. Purée in a blender or a food processor. Return to saucepan and bring to a simmer. Adjust consistency if desired by adding water or by simmering for longer to thicken it. Add lemon juice and season to taste with salt. Spoon into warm bowls or shallow soup plates, strew some herbs in the center of the bowl and serve.