Succulent soup is always a wintertime winner

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.Updated 1 hour ago The weather is swinging back and forth as usual, so let's start this week with a soup to warm everyone up. You can put this together in little time so you can concentrate on dinner. It will accompany...

Succulent soup is always a wintertime winner

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Updated 1 hour ago

The weather is swinging back and forth as usual, so let's start this week with a soup to warm everyone up. You can put this together in little time so you can concentrate on dinner. It will accompany just about anything you are serving.

Toasted Garlic and Wilted Spinach Soup

(makes six servings)

1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil

16 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 pound fresh spinach, stemmed and chopped

salt to taste

5 cups rich chicken stock

freshly ground pepper to taste

1⁄2 lemon or lemon juice to taste

In a large heavy soup pot, combine the oil and garlic cloves. Set the pot over medium heat and cook, stirring for about 5 minutes, or until the garlic turns light brown.

Increase the heat to high and immediately add the spinach. Sprinkle the spinach with salt to encourage it to let out it's moisture. Cook while stirring occasionally, until it wilts completely and most of the moisture evaporates.

Pour the chicken stock into the pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer for a minute, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Don't be afraid to be generous with the seasoning. Squeeze the lemon or juice into the soup. Stir the soup and ladle into bowls.

• • •

Let's take a look at a soup that will go great with lunch fare or even as a lunch feature. Needless to say it will be welcomed by all as a dinner starter. You can adjust the seasonings to suit your tastes. Serve with some crusty, fresh bread or toasted baguettes.

Spicy Crab and Vegetable Soup

(makes four servings)

1 pound fresh tomatoes

4 cups fish stock or vegetable bouillon

4 teaspoons red wine

5 1⁄2 ounces red cabbage, shredded

2 red onions, sliced

2 carrots, washed, peeled and cut into short, thin “match sticks”

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 small red chile, seeded and finely chopped

1 bay leaf

7 ounces canned or freshly cooked crab meat

5 1⁄2 ounces canned or frozen corn kernels

4 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, plus additional for garnish

salt and pepper

Put the tomatoes in a heat proof bowl, cover with boiling water and let stand for a minute or two. Drain and plunge the tomatoes into cold water, then remove the skins – they should come off easily.

Chop the tomatoes, then put them into a large pan. Pour over the bouillon, add the wine, cabbage, onions, carrots, garlic, chile and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Add the crab meat, corn kernels and parsley to the soup. Season with salt and pepper. Cook gently over low heat for about 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and discard the bay leaf. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with chopped parsley and serve with some fresh, crusty bread.

• • •

Get the troops involved in this Thai favorite. It's very easy and cooks in a short time. Be sure to use fresh hamburger buns or other rolls to use as an accompaniment. All the favorites, ketchup, onions, salad greens, lettuce, tartar sauce, etc. will go nicely. Lemon grass is in most larger markets.

Thai Fish Burgers

(makes four servings)

12 ounces fresh haddock fillets, skinned and cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons chopped almonds

1⁄2 cup fresh bread crumbs

1⁄2 onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 egg white

1 red chile, seeded and finely chopped

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon finely chopped lemon grass

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon peanut oil

Put the haddock, almonds, bread crumbs, onion, chile, egg white, soy sauce, lemongrass and cilantro into a food processor and process until thoroughly blended. Transfer to a clean cutting board, and using your hands, shape the mixture into flat, circular burgers.

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the burgers, Cook for about 5 minutes, turning once, until cooked through and golden.

Remove from the heat and serve with all the fixin's.

As always, enjoy!

David Kelly is a freelance columnist for the Tribune-Review. He has been sharing cooking tips and recipes in Culinary Corner for 23 years.

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