Winter days seem a lot warmer and cozier with a bowl of hot soup. (Especially a bowl of hot soup that can go from recipe to reality in 15 minutes.) Luckily for those of us snuggled in for the season, some of the most satisfying ingredients are easy to come by in the winter: earthy greens, sweet root vegetables, deeply flavored mushrooms. And many summery ingredients are easy enough to harvest and freeze in September so that you can throw them into the pot in January. Nothing like frozen sweet corn to add a little summer to your soup!
This recipe makes a light-but-wintery soup that you can serve as a main course or a side. Feel free to add cooked grains like brown rice or millet to the broth, or you toss some pasta into the soup as it simmers. (Remember, though, that pasta tends to shed starch into its cooking medium, so if you cook the pasta with the soup, you’ll have a thicker soup. Which isn’t a bad thing…) Stir in canned or stove-cooked white beans if you like, or cooked shrimp. One of the best things about soup is that you can make them out of whatever you have on hand!
Corn, Mushroom & Spinach Soup Makes enough for a light dinner for 2. Recipe can be easily doubled or tripled, or you can add grains/pasta or beans to the soup to make it heartier.
Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
8 to 12 ounces crimini or button mushrooms, sliced (I like lots of mushrooms!)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth*
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 cup frozen corn
Several handfuls of curly spinach
In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium-low heat for 1 minute. Add onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onions have softened and mushrooms have shrunk. Stir in garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Your goal is to end up with nearly translucent onions and mushrooms that are starting to turn golden brown.
Pour in broth and crumble in rosemary, rubbing the herb between your fingers to help release its flavor. Stir in corn and let soup come to a light boil. Simmer for 5 minutes before you stir in the spinach, gently folding in the leaves as they wilt.
Simmer for 2 minutes to completely soften the leaves, then remove pot from heat. Serve immediately. A hard and flavorful cheese like Parmesan or Feta would make a nice garnish.
* If you’re adding raw pasta or grains to the soup, use at least 1 more cup of broth. Keep an eye on the soup as it cooks, and if it looks like it’s getting too thick, add another cup of broth. Various grains/pastas will absorb varying amounts of liquid — oats absorb astounding amounts, but millet hardly absorbs any. For pasta/grain that cooks in less than 10 minutes, simply add it when you add the rosemary, then let soup simmer for a few extra minutes before adding the spinach. Grains that take longer than 10 minutes to cook should be precooked and then stirred in with the spinach to warm them through.