Soup is one of those remarkable dishes that is simple, generally healthy, and an excellent way to keep your New Year’s resolution to eat more vegetables. According to the Chinese, soups are a great way to keep your immune system healthy. Hot foods on a cold day, (as well as hot foods on a hot day) are much less of a shock to our immune systems than cold ones–this includes cold drinks too. Immune boosting foods can be easily added to soups at any stage: mushrooms, ginger, thyme, garlic are all good options as well as winter greens kale.
Additionally, soups are a great option for experimentation in the kitchen for cooks of all expertise. It is an especially forgiving dish, so people who may not feel super comfortable branching out from a set recipe can even add variety to a basic soup without worrying that their meal will be a disaster.
Most of my soups start with a basic chicken stock and I like to save chicken carcasses until I have enough for a pot. It is simple enough to freeze them until you’re ready to use them. You could do this with any leftover bones if you wish.
Wondering what you’re going to do with that ham bone from Christmas dinner? You could turn it into any number of delicious soup options. In fact, I think mine may end up being a potato/leek/ham soup sometime this week. Are you worried soup may not be substantial enough for a meal? Try making a stew, or adding something like barley or another grain to increase its bulk.
Truly, you are limited only by your imagination when it comes to soups. The variety, the flexibility, and the health benefits are all wonderful reasons to serve soup for dinner.