9 Spectacular Soups for Spring

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Photo courtesy of Sonja and Alex Overhiser of A Couple Cooks  (recipe featured below)

Too often soups are relegated to the thick, bone-sticking stews of winter, but we challenge you to think outside the bowl. Spring soups have a lighter, daintier body and incorporate the best of what’s newly in bloom – think fresh peas, asparagus, leeks, green garlic, fava beans, and more. Olive oil is the perfect vehicle for the silky and smooth pureed soups common to the season, and a smart way to saute soup vegetables to coax out the most flavor. With shorter cooking times, the result is often a quick, tremendously flavorful, seasonal broth. Spring into soup with some of these ideas to fill your kettle.

Peas? Yes, please!

The switch from heavy split pea soup (made from dried legumes) to a vivid green fresh pea soup speaks volumes about the change in season. Traditionally this pureed soup relies on cream to give it body and flavor – this pea soup with morel mushroom cream is elegant and decadent. But if dairy isn’t your thing, try one creamed with potatoes and topped with fresh chives.

Don’t pass on asparagus

Asparagus has a unique flavor, a statuesque appearance, and it makes for an unforgettable soup. We suggest pairing asparagus with the flavors that make it shine best: lemon and Parmesan. In German cuisine, this indulgent white asparagus soup is a seasonal delicacy. As the temperatures begin to rise, consider a chilled asparagus soup, fortified with spinach for extra color, as a sweet segue into summer.

Still hungry? Leeks, artichokes, and watercress

Potato leek soup is a classic French dish; we recommend Julia Child’s recipe. In truth, the only artichoke soup recipe you’ll ever need is from Duarte’s Tavern in Pescadero, CA; it has put them on the culinary map. When you find it, fresh, peppery watercress is outstanding in this soup made with pickled cucumbers.