Below are two great soup recipes. Each has a unique flavor and some surprise elements. Check them out.
Thai Cucumber Soup serves 5-6
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sliced scallion
2 lg or 3 med. cucumbers, peeled and chopped
1/3 red wine vinegar
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1 jalapeno pepper seeded and finely chopped, or amount to your liking
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp chopped lemon grass (I use a lemon grass paste that comes in a tube and is organic. I got mine at Hannaford's grocery store. It lasts a long time in the fridge.)
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp fish sauce*
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp. ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream
Melt butter in a deep pot over med. heat. Add scallions and cook until soft. Add everything else except the sour cream, salt and pepper. Simmer over med. until the cucumbers are soft, about 15 minutes. Stir in the sour cream and season with s & p. Serve warm.
* I was once told in a Cambodian cooking class that there is only one really good fish sauce in the U.S. It is called Three Crabs and looks like this.
Food Network Magazine (January 2015), recipe by Bobby Flay
2 cups dried cranberry or pinto beans, picked through (I used a combination of both.)
8 ounces Spanish chorizo, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped (I did not have celery so I threw in 1/2 tsp of celery seed.)
1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch kale (about 8 ounces), stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
8 cups chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine (I used Prosecco)
Olive oil, for drizzling
Put the beans in a pot and cover with 4 cups water. Cover and set aside at room temperature to soak overnight. Drain.
Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook until lightly golden brown and the fat has rendered, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chorizo to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon and pour out all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat. (The amount of fat will vary depending on the chorizo that is used. If your chorizo does not render at least 2 tablespoons fat, add some olive oil.)
Add the garlic, carrot, celery and onion to the fat in the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soft, 8 to 9 minutes. Add the kale and cook until slightly wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the stock, wine and 2 teaspoons salt; cover and bring to a boil. (I did not add salt as my chicken stock was salty enough.)
Add the cranberry beans and cooked chorizo to the saucepan; lower the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until the beans and kale are soft, about 1 1/2 hours. Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with olive oil.