Few things feed the soul like a great bowl of soup. There's always room for it, or so we were told growing up, although that may have been related both to soup's health-sustaining qualities and its ability to knock out a few days' worth of meals whether we were in the mood for stewed food or not.
Now that we've got our own kitchens we can cook whatever we like, but in the South we're still appreciative of those bowls of liquid sustenance. That's not only because we finally understand the value of putting whatever could reasonably fit in that big heirloom pot (especially once children start taking up space at the dinner table), but also because it's in the nature of a Southerner to feel a sense of nostalgia for those bring-us-back-home soup recipes.
Sure, winter is gone for now, but just because spring is in full swing doesn't mean there aren't fantastic soup recipes that work as the weather sways between warm and cool temperatures. And we all know it has healing properties of all sorts. Kicking a seasonal cold? Looking for a healthier lunch or dinner option as you get ready for that upcoming beach vacation? Feeling a little down for no particular reason at all? There's a soup for that. So grab a bowl, a ladle and a spoon, and use these recipes curated by Southern Kitchen Recipe Tsar Jeffrey "Cheffrey" Gardner as proof that the season is always right for a soup-spoon-full of goodness.
Anne Quatrano’s Fish Soup
JG: I love soups that can act as a meal. In this recipe, Anne Quatrano of Bacchanalia offers up her take on a bouillabaisse. Using a neutral base liquid like chicken stock allows the aromatic vegetables' subtle flavors to come through. And don’t worry if you can’t find black bass; any mild, flaky, white fish -- cod, snapper or grouper is a fine substitute.
Chilled Vidalia Onion Vichyssoise
JG: Cold soups can be truly satisfying when the weather starts to warm up. Vichyssoise, a classical potato and leek soup, gets a slight Southern makeover by substituting sweet Vidalia onions for a majority of the leeks. This is a great starter dish and can even act as a sauce for grilled poultry or fish.
Creamy Tomato Soup
Any grilled cheese enthusiast will tell you the sandwich feels somewhat incomplete without a cup of hot, creamy tomato soup beside it. I’m a fan of San Marzano tomatoes, which are harvested and canned in the state of Campania in Italy. They have a much lower level of acidity, which translates to a slightly sweeter tomato.