A Refreshing Bowl of…Soup!
On a chilly day, the thought of warming up to a steamy bowl of soup paired with fresh from the oven bread is a comforting one. From favourites like clam chowder or French onion, to creamy squash or a classic chicken noodle, hot soup has long been a meal staple in Canadian households.
But when the outdoor temperature rises and refreshment is the goal, hot soup typically isn’t the first choice for a meal or snack. But it’s worth thinking about. Soup hydrates, it can offer tremendous nutritional value, be very satisfying and is quick and easy to make. Soup doesn’t have to be reserved for wintery days. On warm days, consider serving a perfectly seasoned chilled soup.
Although not a common practice for many of us, the idea of serving soup cold has been around since at least 1917 when a cold, creamy potato and onion soup was served at the Ritz-Carlton in New York City.
The soup was named Vichyssoise, after the hometown of its creator, chef Louis Diat. This soup made from fresh garden potatoes, fresh leeks and onions adds a couple of servings of vegetables to a meal and makes a perfect accompaniment to an open face ham or roasted chicken sandwich with a summer-fresh green salad.
Gazpacho, perhaps the most common chilled soup, is a delicious idea for using fresh from the vine tomatoes chopped finely with onion, cucumber, bell peppers, celery, parsley, cloves and garlic. Fresh lemon juice, a little sugar and tomato juice add to this zippy soup that can be enjoyed as a meal, an appetizer or an accompanying “vegetable” to grilled meat or fish. Invented in Spain, gazpacho makes an ideal addition to a Mexican-themed meal. Consider it for your next backyard gathering.
Borscht, common in Ukrainian and Russian cuisine is another perfect way to enjoy the garden harvest – this time beets, carrots, cabbage, onions, green beans and more while benefiting from disease-fighting antioxidant nutrients. Borscht is equally delicious served hot or cold. To keep it light and refreshing, if intending to serve it cold, use vegetable stock rather than a meat-based stock. Enjoy it as an appetizer to a Ukrainian barbecue of grilled smokies, perogies and of course sauerkraut.
And for summer’s bounty of fresh fruit…a simple, elegant idea is dessert soup. Yes, soup for dessert. Ginger Peach, Melon, Raspberry, Strawberry-Rhubarb and Blueberry are just a few delicious, nutritious examples that make for a light and refreshing ending to a meal.
If you love to cook, but haven’t yet discovered the versatility of chilled soups, have fun browsing cookbooks and online recipe collections where you’ll find great inspiration. Let me know how you make out!