In the coldest months, hot soup provides belly-warming sustenance in a bowl. But forget the cans on the supermarket shelf: making a hearty homemade soup from scratch is easy, and once the ingredients enter the pot, cooking them requires little more than an occasional stir. To inspire you at the stove, we asked two Trustees chefs to share some of their favorite winter soup tips and recipes.
Chicken Pho (Pho Ga)
Long before becoming Chef and Cooking Instructor at Powisset Farm in Dover, Thi Bowles had a fondness for pho, a Vietnamese staple made from broth, meat, and rice noodles. “Pho is the first recipe that I made with my mother,” says Bowles, who is Vietnamese, and who demonstrates the finer points of pho in cooking classes at the farm. “It’s a comfort food for a lot of Vietnamese people because it’s something you find on every street corner.”
To make her pho Bowles traditionally uses beef, though she often substitutes bone-in chicken thighs to save time. She parboils the chicken to clarify the broth, the hallmark of a well-made pho. “The broth is king, but a lot of the flavor is going to come from the spices,” says Bowles, like fresh ginger picked right there at Powisset Farm. Rice noodles and the chicken add heft, while condiments and accompaniments add texture, flavor, and depth. “I like a lot of spice and acidity, so I always add extra lime and sriracha. Some people like it sweeter, so they’ll add hoisin. That’s the fun thing about pho: you’re able to personalize it to your taste.”
RECIPE:Chicken Pho (Pho Ga)
Chef Thi Bowles, Powisset Farm, Dover
Traditional pho calls for 1 part noodle and 4 parts broth to enjoy with accompaniments.
4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 (5-inch) pieces skin-on fresh ginger
2 medium yellow onions, peeled
10 whole star anise pods
8 whole coves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1⁄4 cup fish sauce
5 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 pounds fresh pho rice noodle (or dried, cooked according to package directions)
For accompaniments: 1 peeled yellow onion, thinly sliced, 1⁄2 bunch cilantro, chopped, 1 pound fresh bean sprouts, 10 fresh Thai basil leaves, 2 limes cut into wedges (to squeeze into the soup), 2 jalapenos sliced, sriracha sauce and/or hoisin sauce
1. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a stockpot. Add chicken thighs; boil 5 minutes. Remove chicken; discard water.
2. Bring another 6 quarts of water to a boil; add chicken and salt. Simmer stock 30 minutes, skimming surface occasionally to remove impurities.
3. Place ginger and onions in a dry pan over high heat. Char aromatics on both sides; add to stock. Toast star anise, cloves, cinnamon stick, and peppercorns in same dry pan over medium-high heat until spices are fragrant and pan slightly smokes. Transfer spices to stock; add fish sauce and sugar. Simmer stock 30 minutes.
4. Remove chicken; simmer stock for 1 hour more, then strain out aromatics. (Broth will seem salty until combined with noodles.
5. Remove skin and bones from chicken; shred meat.
6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook for 1 minute; drain.
7. To serve, place a portion of noodles in a large soup bowl and top with shredded chicken. Ladle hot broth over noodles and garnish with accompaniments to taste.
Chicken Pho (Pho Ga)
Curried Carrot Apple Soup (vegan)
At Appleton Farms in Hamilton & Ipswich, Chef Tom Bush makes most of the vegan and vegetarian fare for a simple reason: he doesn’t eat meat, but he knows how to give plant-based recipes a meaty richness. “I ate meat my entire life until around two years ago when I met my current partner, who is vegetarian,” says Bush, whose lengthy culinary résumé included five years as a professional baker working alongside Jess Wagoner, Culinary Program and Food Service Manager at Appleton Farms. “I miss chicken and things like that, but there are ways you can still get great flavors and still be satisfied.”
For soups, Bush’s first flavor-boosting tip is roasting vegetables. “The onions, apples, and carrots will get some char on them, and you’ll also be getting some browned bits,” which adds umami, he says. “Then you add the roasted veggies to the pot with your liquid mix, bring the soup to a simmer, and blend it.” To jazz up bland recipes, add in elements with complex flavors, like miso, tamari, or even ketchup. Swapping out animal products is easy: as a substitute for cream, Bush uses unsweetened coconut milk; instead of butter, he cooks with coconut oil or olive oil. And while Bush avoids using nuts at the farm, he says a final swirl of nut butter can give a plant-based soup incredible richness and body.
RECIPE: Curried Carrot Apple Soup (vegan)
Chef Tom Bush, Appleton Farms, Hamilton & Ipswich
1 pound carrots, trimmed and thickly sliced
2 medium apples, each peeled, cored and cut into 6 pieces
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon madras curry powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon each: garam masala and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 13.5-ounce can, coconut milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Toss together first 11 ingredients (everything except the coconut milk, maple syrup, and cider vinegar) in a large bowl; evenly scatter veggies on a baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, 25-30 minutes or until carrots are soft.
3. Transfer roasted ingredients to a soup pot. Stir in broth and coconut milk; bring to just a boil. Remove soup from heat; stir in maple syrup and cider vinegar. When soup is cool enough to handle, blend until smooth.
Curried Carrot Apple Soup (vegan)