When it gets cold outside the best soups are home-made, hot, spicy, chunky and use seasonal ingredients! They perfectly complement the weather outside. You will find the cold, smooth, highly purred summer soups just do not satisfy winter appetites and there is a natural imbalance.
Spicy soups will use plenty of pepper, paprika, onion and even a dash of chilli powder. They will have a definite strong flavor that warms the tastebuds but doesn't overpower it as a spicy Thai soup can do. Worcestershire sauce, garlic power, ginger and beef stock are other staples of spicy, hot soups that warm but don't overpower.
The texture of the soup should be chunky with chopped but soft ingredients - since it is a soup!. There is something satisfying about a chunk of chopped vegetable or cut-up meat that gives the sensation of a fuller meal, with the softness and ease of consumption of a soup. A perfect cold weather meal.
Seasonal vegetables are excellent choices for ingredients from early carrots and onions, to pumpkins and potatoes and even late tomatoes to add freshness to the soup. All these vegetables can be cooked and cubed separately and added to the soup with their own juices from cooking to enhance the flavor.
Diced beef is often a good choice for a meaty soup giving with small soft chunks giving a great texture to the soup. Even very lean meat will also add some fat that will fill you better in cold weather than pure vegetables alone. Bacon is another staple of meaty soups that will fill you.
Try the following combinations for some great home-made soups: 1.chunky beef with onion, potato and carrot slowly stewed in beef stock; 2. creamy chunky tomato and paprika, a creamy sauce surrounded by tomato chunks; 3. potato and leek, gently sauted leek, onion and leeks, blended with potato chunks, milk and pepper 4. thick lentils, soaked and stewed with some ginger, garlic and cumin and 5. Pumpkin chunks fried in ginger, mustard and garlic in cumin and chicken stock.
Soups can be thickened by a very simple use of flour, margarine and stock. Mix the ingredients and heat separately until the sauce thickens and then start adding the soup ingredients, more water/milk and seasoning. Make sure that the flour doesn't lump and keep stirring once you've added flour since the soup can thicken quickly.
Remember homemade, hot, spicy, chunky and seasonal are the keys to great cold weather soups. Try combining ingredients in different ways and enjoy everytime with a bread roll and hearty appetite.