Pleasant Peasant Soups
Some of the most enduring (and tastiest) recipes have humble roots. Peasant dishes were a way for the poor to ensure they were able to eat a filling meal and stay healthy with little expense, often using ingredients the rich considered beneath their tastes. Here are three peasant soups that are still popular today, whether made traditionally or elevated and modernized.
Onion soups had been a staple for French peasants since ancient times as onions were plentiful, cheap, and avoided by the upper classes. The French Onion Soup as we know it today came from restaurants at a 19th century market in Paris, where it was favoured by both early-morning workers needing a hearty breakfast, and late-night cabaret revelers needing a hangover cure. It is a soup consisting of lightly fried onions and beef stock, topped with croutons and cheese which are gratinéed crispy and brown.
The choice of cheese is up to you, but Gruyère, Comté and Emmental are standard.
Hot and Sour
Originating from Sichuan province in China, Hot and Sour Soup is a popular dish that has been adapted by many cultures. It began as a dish designed to keep the poor warm during the winter and to fight cold & flu. Hot and Sour Soup is traditionally made with pork or chicken broth, and contains wood ear mushrooms, bamboo shoots, dried lily buds, and tofu. The “hot” element comes from white pepper, while the “sour” component is black vinegar.
Whether you are making the Chinese, Japanese, or Indian version of the soup, a bowl of hot and sour is sure to warm up a cold dreary day.
Despite the name, the history of Italian Wedding Soup has nothing to do with weddings. This ancient soup comes from Naples where it was called minestra maritata, meaning “married soup”. The name refers to the marriage between the bits of meat and greens which are the main ingredients of the soup. Traditionally, it is made with inexpensive cuts or leftover meat paired with a leafy green (endive, cabbage, kale, spinach), made heartier with pasta or lentils and carrots. Italian Wedding Soup was made to ensure working people had the energy to get through a long day.
Grab a spoon and dig in!
Image credits:French onion Soup Photo by Dana DeVolk on Unsplash
Spicy Soup Photo by Ting Tian on Unsplash