Winter is here, we can feel it in our bodies, chilling our bones. To my mind comes a huge cup of warm cup of coffee or cocoa, sitting on my favorite chair with a book and my cat on my lap. Even better, what about a nice, hearty and succulent bowl of soup?
When I was little, in , my mother used to cook a big pot of soup that lasted three or four days. That was the first dish of our meals. She always said, like all the Spanish moms, that a bowl of soup gives you health and energy. And I believe it too, and I want to share some easy recipes with you.
One of my favorites is the carrots cream. My mom was an expert, and I kept the tradition, adding some variations.
You will need, for four persons, 10 medium carrots, 5 medium potatoes, one onion, two garlic cloves and two tablespoons of olive oil.
-Clean the carrots, peel the potatoes, the onion and the garlic, and peel them in small pieces.
-Bring to boil water with salt in a pot. Do not use a lot of water; my mom always said that all the veggies’ vitamins get lost in the water, use enough to cover the ingredients.
-Add the ingredients, reduce heat and cover the pot. Does not overcook, if you don want to listen to my mom talking about loosing the vitamins.
-Let it cool a little beat, add the raw olive oil and blend everything together.
And, as always, “Voila”. For the ones that are not worried about their weight, let me tell you a secret: Use some old bread, like baguette, to cut it in tiny pieces and fry them in a little olive oil. That will look like croutons, but in a Spanish style. Add them to your bowl of carrots cream, and enjoy it.
Another wonderful recipe for soup from my mom is the one for a typical dish from , . Caldo Gallego is a soup that went from poor people’s meal to gourmet food. It is easy, and healthy.
In we use a vegetable that is exclusive from the area, “grelos”. Its taste is similar to the collard or mustard greens, so you can use them. You will need also potatoes, some beans like red kidney beans, a cured bone hook and a fresh side pork piece. Soak the beans the previous day.
-Cook the hook and the side pork piece, checking on the salt.
-When the meat is ready, add the potatoes and the beans.
-When the potatoes and the beans are tender, add the greens.
And is cooked, an easy and nutritive soup for the cold winter.
My mom always had fascination with the next soup. She cooks it all the time and I think is delicious. She calls it “potaje”, and is a heavy one.
You will need to soak some beans the day before, choose your favorite ones, baby beans, kidney beans, or whichever ones you like. You will use too rice, onion, potatoes, garlic and paprika.
-Bring to boil the beans with some salt.
-Peel and cut in little pieces the potatoes, and the onion, and add them to the beans.
-Grab a couple of handfuls of rice and add it to the pot.
-In a skillet, pour a tablespoon of virgin olive oil. Cook the garlic carefully, do not let it burn.
-Move the skillet from the heat and add a tablespoon of sweet paprika.
-Add the skillet content to the pot.
Cooked, simple and nutritious.
Another of my mom’s favorites was the lentils soup. It is good, and the lentils have a lot of iron, she cooks them very often. You will need three cups of lentils, she always uses the brown middle size, one potato, to carrots, one onion, three garlic cloves, one tablespoon of sweet paprika, a piece of fresh bacon and a “chorizo” (the paprika Spanish sausage, if you can’t find it, buy a hot link).
-Soak the lentils the day before.
-Cut in little pieces the bacon, the chorizo, the potato, the onion and the carrots.
-Boil on medium heat the lentils, the chorizo, the potato, the onion and the carrot. Do not overcook them, so you will not loose the nutrients and have to listen to my mom.
In a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil, cook slightly the garlic and add the paprika.
-Add to the pot and mix all up.
And you will have a wonderful soup cooked in very little time. A secret: If you cook too much soup, do not worry, you can blend the leftover and have a tasty lentils soup cream!
Some people, like my dad, feel hot all the time. He loves my mom’s winter soup (for his sake), but he always loves a treat of a cold soup. In , we have one that is wordy famous, the gazpacho. It is simple and very healthy. Buy a red bell pepper, one cucumber, one onion, two garlic cloves and a couple of good tomatoes. Cut them in small pieces and blend them until the mixture is smooth. You can serve it with little pieces of pepper, tomato and cucumber floating on the surface, and do not forget to add the salt and pepper in each bowl.
You see, I have so many easy and good Spanish recipes that I have to share them. And don’t worry; there are more on the way. Enjoy!