Soup?s On

Spicy one-dish meals offer an antidote to the cold.

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Spicy, one-dish meals offer an antidote to the cold

Few foods are as satisfying on a brisk winter’s day as a bowl of hot soup. Dipping into a hot mug of thick potage is comfort food at its best. It’s an easy one-dish meal that warms and nourishes us while steaming up the windows of our kitchen. The best part is that soups will keep refrigerated for days, and then can be easily frozen and reheated.

Most fiery foods come from countries with hot climates, but spicy soups can be uplifting even when the weather is brutally cold. A spicy kick stimulates the senses, making you feel warm from the inside out.

The following soups offer a wide variety of flavors, textures and spiciness. The chickpea soup, which is moderately tangy, gets its gusto from red pepper flakes, particularly when rounded out with a variety of warming spices, ginger and cinnamon. Horseradish imparts a zesty and complex flavor to the potato-leek soup. In the velvety red lentil soup, the curry powder makes the difference between bland and bold flavors. Jalapeños infuse the broth for the Asian miso soup, with slivered chiles added for good measure—resulting in a soup that’s spicy enough to clear your sinuses! Chipotles in adobo sauce are blended into the black bean soup, which is then topped with avocado and a tofu-based Lime Cream to balance the bite. And the roasted red pepper soup has a tingling heat that contrasts with the cooling fresh flavor of a basil-infused tofu cream.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with these soups, especially if you prefer them milder or positively incendiary. They all can be adjusted. To raise the heat, simmer any of the soups with a fresh or dried chile. You can blend the chile back into the soup for extra zip. Or add more red pepper flakes, and use warming spices such as ginger. Whichever way you simmer them, these soups are sure to soothe body and spirit all winter long.