Good soup is a hallmark of Polish cuisine. In this episode of 1 Minute Meal, Derek Rudnik describes what goes into the complex yet comforting flavor of this soup, one of many he relies on to connect with his roots.
Caroline Lange: Acorn Squash Soup from A Cozy Kitchen
Every year, my autumn CSA wallops me with squashes, so much so that I can line them up in rows on top of my refrigerator. They don’t last for long, though, because I make this soup so often. It is creamy and hearty and salty and sweet, it freezes well and it’s fast. I swap out butternut for acorn squash interchangeably; kabocha would probably work well, too. With or without puréeing it (I just mash the squash against the side of the pot with my wooden spoon) or the recommended cheesy toast, it might be the perfect fall soup — truly.
Amy Zavatto: Spicy pork, mustard green soup from Bon Appétit
I discovered this recipe for spicy pork, mustard green soup last year when leafing through Bon App one weekday afternoon on the subway, and realized, “I have all that stuff in my pantry and ‘fridge right now.” Dinner was saved. That night, I went home, made it, and it was an instant hit for my husband and me. Warming, filling, and super fragrant with a kick, it’s the kind of soup that offers a lot of bang for the buck — it’s cheap to make and like many soups, it has an awesome sub-in factor (swap out the chard for… whatever; the noodles for rice; the chicken broth for vegetable; the pork for chicken or tofu). But as I seem to have pretty much all of these things on hand at all times, this went into heavy rotation in its original form at my house until the usual soup summer hiatus. But now, it’s back in effect and this week I’m already planning on getting some chicken stock in the freezer so I can whip it up in a jiffy whenever I want as the weather gets chillier. Shlurp.
My current favorite soup isn’t technically a soup but a Mexican stew — what’d you call a guisado in Spanish. When I have leftover salsa verde — I use a tomatillo salsa recipe from Roberto Santibanez, of Park Slope’s Fonda, and make a giant batch on purpose — I like to stew chicken in the leftovers. I use thighs or cut a bird in half, then let it simmer in the salsa till it’s tender. I think it might be more traditional to use cubed potatoes in a chicken guisado, but following the lead of my friend Patti Jackson, who just scored a Michelin star for her Williamsburg restaurant Delaware & Hudson, I started using kohlrabi and now really prefer its firmer texture. For now, you can still find both tomatillos and kohlrabi in the farmers’ market, too.
Gabrielle Langholtz: Stewed squid with tomatoes, garlic and anchovies from New York Times Magazine
Regular readers already know how much I love squid. We plumbed its depths in our cover story on the species, and if you’re like me, you eat it often. After all it’s local, delicious, healthful, cheap and one of the most sustainable options in the ocean. It also cooks in about a minute — except in soup. Like cauliflower, squid is something you should cook very quickly or very slowly, and while I love to stir-fry squid all summer with mint, jalapeños, peanuts and lime, when October rolls around, I’m ready for stew. Squid shines in this simple preparation by the almighty Mark Bittman. Use up some of the season’s last tomatoes and let the squid slowly simmer till succulent.
Eileen M. Duffy: Italian Pasta and Bean Soup—Pasta E Fagioli from Cooks Illustrated
The link is probably behind a paywall, but I have to give credit to Cook’s Illustrated for this recipe. I can make it in my sleep. I do modify it. Instead of bacon, I cook two hot and two sweet Italian sausages removed from their casings, take the sausage out of the Dutch oven, make the soup and then return the sausage. The people at Cook’s are umami fans big time, so it’s no surprise they use anchovies, but when I discovered this recipe 10 years ago, it was like a lightening bolt of inspirations. Here’s what they have to say: “To develop a pasta and bean soup recipe with great flavor and proper texture in less than an hour, we cooked some bacon and pancetta and then cooked our vegetables in the rendered fat. We discovered other quick flavor boosters: Adding the tomatoes and beans together allowed them to absorb flavor from each other; a 60:40 ratio of chicken broth to water added richness without turning our pasta and bean soup into chicken soup; a Parmesan rind gave our soup depth; and a finish of parsley and minced anchovies lent a bright final note.” I always use ditlini.
Featured photo credit: Flickr/Three Points Kitchen