As the weather gets colder and the days get darker, hearty falls soups are a delicious way to bring warmth and brightness to your dining table. These robust, filling and flavourful meals are kind of like a big old hug in a bowl and some are even well-suited to making in larger batches which can be frozen into individual portions easily warmed up to enjoy later. My favourite falls soups run the gambit in terms of textures and flavours – everything from pure and simple one-not soups featuring things like squash or potato, right through complex and delicately seasoned broths with lightly poached meats and vegetables.
Diverse flavours in the form of spices and sauces from regional cuisines around the world are more readily available and easy to purchase than ever before, removing any excuse to settle for bland or insipid flavours. Introducing interesting international flavours to your comfort classics is a great way to keep things fresh and tasty. So please, pull up a bowl and enjoy this collection of hearty fall soup recipes and our favourite go-to wines for each of these savoury creations.
Brothy, Creamy or Purée?
Broth-based soups, cream-based soups and puréed soups make up something of an edible holy trinity delivering diversity in flavours and textures that so stark that you could enjoy on of each on consecutive nights and feel like you’d eaten three completely different dishes. For me, broth-based soups offer a terrific platform for creating complex flavour harmonies, presented alongside delicate and thoughtfully cooked vegetables and meats. This style of soup is a perfect way to showcase aromatic seasonings and spices or a prized homemade broth made from either meat or vegetables. I like the additions to these soups to be cooked gently and to offer mild flavours that complement, rather than dominate, the broth – which should remain the star of the show. Puréed soups, on the other hand, are all about creating great texture and delivering a purity of flavour more similar to a single note on a piano vs the chord you might achieve in making more complex broth-based soups. Finally, we come to creamy soups, which walk a bit of a balancing act between these two previous styles, delivering some of the decadent richness of a puréed soup with some of the complexity and depth of flavour found in more broth-based styles.
Making it Hearty + Filling
When I am looking for ways to making a soup more hearty and filling there are three go-to tools in my kit. The first, is the addition of fat which is most commonly accomplished through the addition of cream or butter – but other creative options include cheese or even rendered animal fat, like bacon or pancetta, can be drizzled over the soup just before you serve it. The second method I use often is the addition of spice or heat. This can be accomplished by using whole or chopped hot peppers, or through the addition of your favourite hot sauce – either to the soup as it cooks, or as a drizzle as you’re finishing each bowl. The third option involves the addition of rice, grain, pasta or beans to your soup – and this is an area where you can be quite creative. For example, there are literally dozens of different types of beans and ancient grains available. These various options offer different flavours and textures and can elevate a more simple recipe into something more interesting, with very little added effort involved.
Topping it Off in Style
Now that you’ve taken the time and effort to create a thoughtful, flavourful and fulfilling bowl of soup, don’t forget to finish it off in style. Croutons, drizzles, flavoured oils, crispy bacon or pancetta, chopped nuts or a sprinkle of aged cheese are all tasty and beautiful ways to finish your soup, adding flavour, texture and colour to your bowl. When contemplating these final touches, keep in mind that less is more – one or two additions in rather small amounts can take your soup from good to great, but overdoing it will distract from the main attraction. With more one-note soups, like squash, potato, asparagus or pea, I like to add a dose of intense flavour, like an aged cheese, but with more complex soups I tend to look for ways to add colour and texture through these garnishes.
[ Recipes ]
Saffron Consommé w/ Pea-Parmesan Noodles: RECIPE
Wine Match: Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux or New Zealand
Brothy Chicken, Chili + Shitake Soup: RECIPE
Wine Match: Riesling Kabinett from Germany’s Rheingau or Mosel
Fall Farmers Market Harvest Basket Soup: RECIPE
Wine Match: Light + fruity reds like Beaujolais or Barbera from Piedmont
Cioppino Inspired Italian Fish + Seafood Stew: RECIPE
Wine Match: Dry Pinot Noir Rosé from Sancerre
Creamy Kale + Potato Soup w/ Crumbled Italian Sausage: RECIPE
Wine Match: Dry Amontillado Sherry or Barrel-Aged Chard from California