It takes just two pieces of hardware to stock your fridge with some of the best winter soups.
There are few things more comforting on a cold winter day than a steaming bowl of soup. And if you play your cards right, a pot of the stuff can last you the better part of a week… unless you go back for seconds.
Now, not every soup requires heavy-duty hardware, but sometimes, the right piece of machinery can make a tedious process like stock-making quick and easy. For us, few pieces of equipment do the job quite like a pressure cooker — you don’t even have to check on your soup while it’s cooking.
How, you ask?
Under said pressure, bones (like those from oxtails and chicken wings) break down as the connective tissue is converted via heat and water into gelatin, which provides an unctuous mouth feel and a luscious broth without an all-day cook. And because the cooker remains sealed during the cook, no flavor is lost to evaporation.
Despite what your old aunt Marge may have told you, 21st-century pressure cookers are completely safe. And you may already have one inside your cabinet: An Instant Pot is just an electric pressure cooker, after all.
Don’t believe it? Try these tasty applications for yourself:
Chicken Soup a la Pressure
With the help of your pressure cooker, we get a rich broth in just 45 minutes rather than several hours. Said broth serves as the base for a chicken soup that just might rival what mom used to make, not that you’d ever tell her, of course.
Pho Bo (Beef Pho)
A pressure cooker transforms a handful of humble ingredients and an aromatic array of spices into a deeply rich beef broth that’s best served with thinly sliced sirloin, rice noodles, bean sprouts, a few limes, and Thai bird chiles for a hefty kick.
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you should really get your hands on one. But in the meantime, a classic high-quality blender or handy immersion blender can whip up some equally delicious bowls of goodness.
In addition to providing your finished product with a pleasant consistency, blenders (both immersion and conventional) do a marvelous job of emulsifying and aerating, that is, blending flavors and incorporating air into your food for a lighter, silkier texture.
While immersion blenders certainly cut down on time and dirty dishes, they often aren’t equipped with a particularly powerful motor, which can leave your soup with a bit more body than you might expect — but, depending on your soup, that’s not necessarily a bad thing! The immersion blender is perfect for chunkier, lightly blended soups like lentil or vegetable, but, unless you have a top-tier model, you’ll want to whip out your conventional blender for a super smooth bisque or squash soup.
Ready to hit the kitchen? Here are a few flavorful applications to get you started:
Butternut Squash Soup
Perhaps our favorite winter squash, butternut squash gets sweet and caramelized in the oven before being pureed with ginger and nutmeg in this classic and comforting soup.
Garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and Marsala wine bring balance to this rich and creamy cheese soup. It’s a comforting classic for cheese lovers.
Curried Split Pea Soup
Traditional split pea soup gets a flavorful kick from curry powder and garlic in this quick and easy recipe.
Leek Potato Soup
A hearty bowl of comfort on a cold winter day (or served chilled during the summer months), this leek potato soup is made extra creamy thanks to the addition of buttermilk, which also provides a pleasant tang.
Hearty and healthy, this simple lentil soup recipe combines nutritious lentils, garden-fresh vegetables, and a slew of spices into a warm bowl of goodness.