Soup Season in Santa Fe - February 21, 2018

Soup to warm your heart as much as your body

Soup is made for winter. Hot, hearty and full of flavor, a bowl of soup is a bowlful of goodness that can heal a cold, a heartbreak or many other things that ail you. From chicken noodle to chowder, goulash and gumbo, soup has a potent power and a past as rich as its flavor.

In fact, it was soup that gave the world the word “restaurant,” derived from the French word “restaurer,” which translates as “to restore.” In 16th-century France, a robust soup sold by street vendors was known as “restaurer” for its ability to restore a person from sheer exhaustion. The soup was so popular that a shop in Paris opened in 1765 specifically to serve the soup, leading to the modern use of the word “restaurant” for places where people eat.

But the word itself has Germanic origins that evolved from “sop,” referring to bread used for soaking soup, to the Latin word suppa, which came to mean the actual piece of bread soaked in soup. The word soup as we know it came from the French, who called it “soupe.”

Soup seems to have been around since humans started cooking, and evidence of it dates back some 2,000 years. Through the centuries, it's ben made over hot rocks, open flames, campfires, wood-burning stoves and even been canned and dehydrated to provide meals for cowboys and soldiers. Today, there's a huge selection of canned soups found in grocery stories, but homemade is always best for flavor, freshness and creativity. Choose from a variety of ways to make your own soup, including clear bouillon and consommé as well as purées made thick with starch. Bisques are prepared with a shellfish purée or vegetables with cream. You can use bechamel to make a cream soup or eggs, butter and cream to make a thick velouté. But this is only a glimpse of the many ways you can put together a soul-satisfying soup.

When you don't have time to make your own soup, head out to sample some of the delectable offerings in Santa Fe restaurants. This time of year, especially, they will warm your heart as much as your body. Here are just a few recommendations to get you started.

You'll find two excellent soups on the menu at Joe's Dining and they'll both leave you feeling good about winter. The black bean soup has long been a big hit here, slightly spiced with Chimayo red and cut with a swirl of sour cream. Joe's award-winning New England clam chowder is rich and respectful of regional tradition, studded with potatoes and bacon and delectable with every bite.

The Compound's Mark Kiffin knows a thing or two about soup. A bowlful of his potato and leek soup reminds us of the many reasons why soup has long captured our hearts as much as our appetites. This highly creative recipe blends two classic soup ingredients with focaccia-smoked bacon Charlotte and Parmesan espuma, or foam.

Don't miss the red chile tortilla soup at Amaya at Hotel Santa Fe. It's a signature soup that locals love. Rich and filling, it's topped with avocado cream, asadero and tortilla chips. Or let Chef Walter Dominguez surprise you with his Soup of the Season.

When you're looking for a soup that's big on flavor, head over to La Casa Sena for a treat. The poblano soup nearly bursts from your bowl with the fragrant flavor of red chile oil and a polenta truffle.

For an elegant bowlful of satisfying soup, visit Geronimo. The warm leek and white asparagus bisque with spinach purée, jumbo lump crab and buttermilk biscuit will change your mind about winter, if you're feeling its blues. Once you've cleaned your bowl here, you'll exit into the midst of a cold season with a renewed feeling of joy.