Four wholesome soups that can keep you warm, healthy during winters

As the temperatures begin to get drop down, it only means one thing – it is the soup season, the best time ever to welcome the comforting soups. When it gets cooler on the outside, nothing really can beat a big heartening bowl of hot soup. From pasta e fagioli to the good old potato leek, these hearty soups are the exceptional way to bring in the new season and chase away the scorching summers. So, without any further waiting, turn on the ovens! Fire up the stove and get set with some serious soup making and feel for yourself the comfort of heat in the kitchen.

To kick-start the season off in the most appropriate manner, you must consider making a big pot of sweltering soup. Leaf through the below mentioned assortment of soups, which are oh-so-perfect for the winter season and additionally come packed with the rich and appetizing flavours of the moment like carrots, creamy bisques, apples and squash to name a few.

These soups are sure to gratify your taste buds and can be made a meal unto themselves, as they are boosted with hearty and wholesome vegetables, starches and grains and serving these with a good slice of crusty bread will nothing, but further enhance its taste. So, get your spoons ready and browse through your favourite soups listed below:

Potato Leek Soup: This creamy Potato Leek soup is a typical French classic. It’s delightful as is, but you can also take liberties to top your bowl with fresh herbs, meat, or even leftover veggies to make it your own. To prepare this soup all you need is a large pot in which you must finely blend the chicken stock, leeks, hand-picked potatoes, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Sprinkle these ingredients with salt and pepper.

You must boil this mixture for about fifteen to twenty minutes till the time the potatoes get soft. Now remove the bay leaf and with the help of an immersion blender, you must mix the soup till the time it becomes smooth in texture. Take a medium-sized pot and gently pour the soup in it, add cream and cook till the time the soup has been thickened. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Easy Butternut Squash Soup: This is the easiest soup recipe you might have ever come across. All you need to do is pick some pre-cut squash and add everything into a pot, get to a boil, purée it and there you are done. It is still all that you presume a typical butternut squash soup to be: marginally sweet, silky and full of flavour. Just a handful of ingredients and this incredible soup is ready. To prepare this soup, in a large soup pan, you must properly combine butter or olive oil, onions, pepper and salt to taste.

Cook the mixture for about ten minutes till the time the onion becomes soft. This should be followed by adding the roasted butternut squash, and it can either be hot out of the oven, or can be roasted beforehand and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. To the pot you must consider adding the roasted butternut squash cubes coupled with some ground cinnamon. Continue to stir for a couple of minutes till the time the cinnamon is aromatic, then consider adding fresh vegetable or chicken stock.

After you bring the mixture to a boil, you must simmer it for about 2 minutes. This should be followed by pureeing the soup. Allow the soup to cool down marginally and then you can blend in a blender. To further enhance its taste, you can add to the soup a touch of heavy cream for some additional texture and richness, along with some toasted pumpkin seeds for a little bit of crunch, if required.

Broccoli and Cheese Soup with homemade Croutons: Seasoned with crunchy homemade croutons, this smooth broccoli and cheese soup is a whole-hearted meal unto itself. This creamy preparation is sure to warm your bones from the inside out. For the croutons you have to preheat the oven to three fifty degree Celsius. In a saucepan, you need to melt the butter, once properly melted, you must whisk in the salt and mustard, and pour the same over the bread.

Finely toss, then gently turn bread onto a baking sheet. Bake for ten to fifteen minutes till the time the croutons turn golden and crunchy. You must consider tossing them once or twice for best results.

While you toast the croutons, you must consider melting butter or olive oil in large pan over medium-high. Properly stir in onions, shallots and add to it a pinch of salt. Sauté for a couple of minutes. Now you must stir in potatoes, cover, and cook nicely for about 4 minutes. Once you uncover, you should stir in garlic, then broth. Simmer the mixture nicely and get it to a boil, ensure the potatoes are tender, and when they are, you must stir in the broccoli. You must simmer till the time broccoli gets enough tender.

Instantly remove from heat and make use of a blender. This must be followed by adding in the cheese, and also save some for topping. Gradually add the mustard to enhance the taste of the soup. Serve with just a sprinkle of olive oil, a dash of paprika, a dusting of cheese, and a few croutons.

Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup: Prepared with carrots, sweet potatoes, honey and apples, this savoury soup served with a dash of spice and sweetness tastes almost like fall in a bowl. The secret ingredient that makes this soup a winter-hit is the curry powder, which does not lend the soup an Indian flavour, but instead it gives it a subtle hint of autumn spice.

To start the recipe, you must consider heating the oven to 220C and put 500g sweet potatoes that have been cut into pieces and 300g chunked carrots into a large bowl, sprinkled with two tablespoon of olive oil and sufficient amount of seasoning. This step must be followed by roasting the vegetables in the oven for about twenty-five to thirty minutes or till the time they are tender and caramelised.

In the meantime, put the remaining one tablespoon olive oil in a big deep pan and consider frying two finely cut onions over a medium-low heat for about ten minutes till the time it gets softened. Add two cloves of crushed garlic and finely stir for one minute prior to adding 1l vegetable stock. Cook for five minutes till the time the onions turn very soft, then keep aside.

Once you are done with the roasted vegetable, you must leave them to cool down a little, then consider transferring to the saucepan and make use of a hand blender to process the mixture until it turns smooth. Serve in bowls topped with a good swirl of fresh cream and a good grinding of black pepper to further enhance its taste.

With the fluctuating season, leaf through the above-mentioned scrumptious pot soup recipes and turn the cold weather anxieties into a romantic idealism with thoughts of muggy drinks, soothing dishes and cozy scarves.

(Dr Siddhant Bhargava is Fitness & Nutritional Scientist, Co-Founder, Food Darzee)

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