“We invented fire. We roasted meats. We made pots. We cooked soup.” This is how Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall sums up evolution. Quick, cheap, easy and warming, soup is certainly the fail-safe winter meal. But how to keep it exciting?
Nigel Slater recommends chucking a parmesan rind into the soup to thicken it and add depth and Heston Blumenthal advises infusing herbs in hot milk for a really complex dish. Croutons, roasted nuts and seeds, chopped red onion and corn are also great additions as sprinkles to add texture.
Want to spice up your repertoire? Here are 12 soup recipes to try this winter:
Aromatic Asian broth
Great for: a quick, light supper.
Fresh ginger, lime juice, fish sauce, chilli and plenty of coriander leaves make this clear broth zingy, fresh and warming. Add chicken, beef or prawns for a more substantial version.
Beetroot soup with ginger, coriander and red cabbage
Great for: a cosy night in.
A good hearty option, this soup is best served with a swirl of Greek yoghurt and chopped roasted hazelnuts.
Beetroot, horseradish and apple soup
Great for: a comforting, belly-warming lunch.
The sweetness of the apples complements the earthiness of the beets beautifully in this recipe.
Broccoli soup with parmesan toasts
Great for: a dinner starter for six guests.
Made with fresh cream, this soup could convince even the most hardened broccoli hater to love the veggie. (Serving it with crispy parmesan toasts helps, of course.)
Carrot and coriander soup
Great for: a light Sunday supper.
A great rendition of the classic recipe. Serve with a drizzle of cream or yoghurt and crispy ciabatta.
Honey-roast parsnip and pear soup
Great for: a rich, hearty dinner with family.
This gorgeously textured soup offers a great way to incorporate seasonal fruit into your cooking. Drizzle with honey and chopped pecans for crunch.
Mediterranean fish soup and red pepper rouille
Great for: a long lunch with wine and friends.
White wine, tomatoes, calamari and mussels make this a great winter warmer. Serve with a spicy rouille, a creamy garlicky sauce made with sweet grilled peppers, chilli, paprika and bread crumbs.
Pea and ham soup
Great for: impressing the in-laws.
A gourmet take on the store cupboard basic, this recipe is served with a fresh pea salad, ham terrine and a drizzle of truffle oil.
Spiced sweet potato soup with red pepper and lime salsa
Great for: a change from the usual curry.
Hearty root veggies combine with zingy harissa paste and crisp salsa to make a healthy, warming soup.
Spring noodle soup with crispy wontons
Great for: the more adventurous cook. These beautiful parcels can be made in a blink and add a lovely crunch to this green Thai broth.
Thai sweet potato soup with lemongrass, galangal and coconut milk
Great for: fighting colds. This soup has all the goods: chilli, lemongrass, galangal and garlic. Top it with coconut shavings and fresh coriander for a fragrant, Thai-inspired dish.