Every winter I find myself returning to some version of a creamy puréed broccoli soup. This time around I’ve gotten the making of it down to a very simple formula. In fact it’s a formula that I’ve used successfully for making a roasted butternut squash soup and a roasted cauliflower soup. I think it’s a formula you can use to make other roasted vegetables into soups as well, without overthinking it, adding different spices or herbs to bring an individual flavor to each soup.
Cocina Al Minuto, a well-loved Cuban cookbook by Nitza Villapol and Martha Martinez, is the source of inspiration for this version of Cuban black beans. Nitza Villapol, considered Cuba’s version of Julia Child, was a chef who also used television to teach many home cooks how to achieve success in the kitchen.
For my third and final soup this month, I present the ubiquitous turkey soup. Most families who traditionally cook a turkey for Thanksgiving have some form of this recipe, and mine is no exception. But this is the first year I’ve made it myself, tweaking my mom’s recipe to my own preferences and making it entirely from scratch. I even fashioned my own poultry seasoning and have included that recipe here too. The thing that’s great about a basic dish like soup is that you can change it up any number of ways. I’ve kept this version of turkey soup pretty basic, but you can be sure that when I discover another way to switch it up I’ll be all over it.
Though it’s been almost twenty years since I visited Spain, I still remember the food we ate. Of all the places we visited, between Madrid in central Spain or farther south in Cordoba, Seville, Granada or Marbella, my favorite food was in northwest Spain. While driving north to Galacia from Madrid, we stopped in a small town for a snack and ate a tuna empanada rich with olive oil in a flaky pastry crust. For a late night dinner in A Coruña, we ate sizzling garlic shrimp in a small earthenware dish and an earthy, crusty bread we couldn’t find anywhere south of that area. In Santiago de Compostela on a Sunday afternoon, we wandered into a bar, closed for drinks but willing to serve us food in the back, and ate deep-fried calamari with salad greens. While visiting my husband’s cousins, we tasted aguardente, or firewater, a very strong alcohol made from cherries that they lit on fire before drinking. In Lalín, my husband’s great aunts served us a typical homemade Caldo Gallego, with potatoes, greens, white beans and meat in a broth. All of the food was simple, fresh, and amazingly good.
Every Monday through Friday I send my husband off to work with a thermos full of hot homemade soup and a slice of bread. He believes soup is one of the healthier things you can eat, and has often mentioned how his paternal grandfather always had a bowl of soup at the beginning of a meal. Who am I to disagree? In fact, I often eat homemade soup for lunch now as well, so for the month of November I thought I’d share three soup recipes. If you are a big fan of soup and want a cookbook with an abundance of soup recipes, I’d also highly recommend Anna Thomas’ Love Soup cookbook. Although the soup recipes are vegetarian, I’m not, so I tweak them by using homemade chicken stock. I do this because making my own soup stock or bone broth gives the soup additional beneficial minerals, and it helps me use up leftover bones and scraps from the meat that we cook.