3 warm­ing soups that you can make in a flash

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Bob Townsend For Cox News­pa­pers

The pla­tonic ideal of soup is the im­age of a big pot slowly sim­mer­ing for hours on the stove-top — even if nowa­days it’s more likely to be a slow cooker perched on the coun­ter­top.

But what if you could cook up a fresh, flavorful soup in 30 min­utes or less? As it turns out, it can be eas­ily done.

The key is hav­ing home­made or store-bought broth on hand, and gath­er­ing the kinds of high­im­pact in­gre­di­ents that can be prepped to come to­geth er quickly.

Just in t ime­forc hilly weather, “Leon Happy Soups” by Re­becca Seal and John Vin­cent (Con­ran Oc­to­pus, $19.99) of­fers 100 recipes for hearty ,h ealthy soups that show you how to do just that, and su­per fast. The cook­book is an off­shoot of Leon, the beloved Bri­tish “nat­u­rally fast food” res­tau­rant chain whose dishes that aim to “taste good and do you good.”

Most of the “Happy Soups” recipes can be made in less than an hour, in­clud­ing prep time. And many have a cook time of 10-30 min­utes. There are gluten-free, dairy-free, veg­e­tar­ian and ve­gan recipes, with a wealth of in­ter­na­tional fla­vors. The eight chap­ters in­clude takes on “nat­u­rally fast,” “com­fort­ing” and “posh” soups, along with recipes for broths, sides and top­pings.

One soup tha t caug htour eye was Tom Yum, a spicy Thai soup with shrimp and oys­ter mush-

rooms, brightly fla­vored with chili, lemon­grass, galan­gal and lime leaves.

Sur­pris­ingly, per­haps, it calls for boil­ing wa­ter rather than broth, and it cooks in just 12 min­utes, de­riv­ing even more fla­vor and aroma from a fi­nal jolt of fish sauce, fresh lime juice and cilantro.

Per­fect for a win­ter sup­per, the au­thors’ spinach, sausage and orzo soup takes on the Ital­ian fla­vors of toma­toes, gar­lic and Parme­san cheese in a hearty combo that re­calls the tex­tures of pasta and meat­balls, and cooks in a quick 30 min­utes.

An­other 30-minute win­ner, a clas­sic mush­room soup, which can be made with ei­ther chicken or veg­etable broth, is earthy, creamy and clearly be­longs in the “posh” cat­e­gory — es­pe­cially if you use the tip of serv­ing it with truf­fle oil, a splash of sherry or brandy and some crusty but­tered toast.


Tom Yum is a spicy Thai soup with shrimp and oys­ter mush­rooms, brightly fla­vored with chili, lemon­grass, galan­gal and lime leaves. It cooks in just 12 min­utes.

“Leon Happy Soups” is the lat­est book from U.K. au­thors John Vin­cent and Re­becca Seal.

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