When we seek comfort in soup

I was watching Miren play outside when I just knew something was not right with her. Nothing that anyone else would notice – not even C.

Then I felt her forehead and cheeks.

“Apa amatxu, apa” she said. She wanted me to pick her up. Her runny nose finally caught up with her and developed a fever.

So the last few days I have been home taking care of her. Not much of an appetite on her part, but I cooked pots of soups to last for a few days – to give us a sense of comfort.

Mirroring my mother’s cooking habits, I like to cook soup in the morning. I make tea and almost before anyone else is up, I turn on the stove and chop away. My mom always did that – she still does. Some might think that smelling leeks first thing in the morning is not most appetizing, but what can I say, I disagree.

Speaks of winter and comfort.

Miren was lying down watching Caillou while I stirred a pot of fennel, potato, and watercress soup. She smelled the scent of leeks, garlic, and fennel seeds and she called for some. “Amatxu sopa” she said quietly. Her sense of smell was indicating there was something tasty cooking, but the appetite wasn’t quite there.

She took a nap instead.

But her appetite returned a few hours later and joined me at the table for some of the fennel, potato, and watercress soup served with some sauteed Key West pink shrimp. Miren loves shrimp. Loves.

She devoured it, walked over to the sofa, and rested some more.

The next day I made another batch of soup with celeriac, rutabaga, and acorn squash and served with almond and parsley pesto. This one even creamier than the one before. Both simple soups, quick, but nourishing for those days when we are not feeling so well.

Leftovers went in the freezer and we will be having them again soon.

She is still ill and weak – seeking lots of cuddles and love.

So we are staying put for a couple of days.

And as you might have guessed it, there is another pot of soup on the stove. This time Rancho Gordo bean and vegetable stew. Hearty and nourishing.

That is what we need today.

Celeriac, Rutabaga, and Acorn Squash Soup

serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium leeks, tough green ends removed and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 medium celeriac, peeled and diced
1 medium rutabaga, peeled and diced
1 medium russet potato, peeled and diced
1 small acorn squash, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
1 quart (1 liter) vegetable broth
1 cup water
Almond and Parsley Pesto

Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, leeks, garlic, carrots, and celery and cook for 5 minutes until tender, but not browned. Add the celeriac, rutabaga, potato, squash, coriander, and thyme. Cook for another 5 minutes while stirring occasionally. Add the vegetable broth and water. Bring the liquid to a boil, cover the pot, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 20 minutes.

Puree the soup with a blender. Adjust liquid if needed and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the pesto.

Fennel, Potato, and Watercress Soup

serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium leek, sliced
1 medium shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium fennel bulb, diced
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup watercress
1/2 cup (125 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
8 ounces pink shrimp, peeled and deveined (optional)

Heat a medium pot over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, leek, shallot, garlic, and fennel. Cook for 5 minutes until soft but not browned. Add the potato, coriander, and fennel seeds. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the vegetable broth. Bring liquid to a boil, cover the pot, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 15 minutes. Add the watercress and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the coconut milk. Puree the soup and adjust liquid if needed. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a saute pan over medium high heat. Toss the shrimp in the remaining olive oil. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute on each side and serve on top of the soup.

you may also like…

65 Responses to “When we seek comfort in soup”

  1. Rowaida says:

    Beautiful amazing and delicious! love your recipe Aran.
    Best Wishes xo

  2. Hope she feels better soon. Sounds like she has someone very lovely looking after her! :)

  3. I absolutely love acorn squash (especially with a little brown butter and brown sugar), and the thought of pureeing it in a soup sounds positively sublime!

    Your photo are truly breathtaking, by the way!

  4. I love trying new soups and this recipe is fantastic! Yum!

  5. I am absolutely going to make your leek & potato soup! Hope M feels better soon -hang in there!

  6. Wonderful! Soups are very comforting and both recipes sound amazing.



  7. With these cheery colors around her, she can’t be ill for long!

    How lovely. Best, Katherine

  8. SOUP SOUP BEAUTIFUL SOUP! Well if the soups today are anything like your carrot soup that we tried a few months back, these should be DIVINE!

  9. Rowaida says:

    I hope Miren will feel better soon. Love your post and recipes

  10. Nicole says:

    I agree that there is great comfort in a pot of soup simmering on the stove in the morning. You know that no matter what, you will be nourished later in the day.

  11. Johanna says:

    Mmmmmh they both look delicious! I love soups :)

  12. tinajo says:

    I hope she´ll recover as fast as possible – wonderful pics here! :-)

  13. they both look divine. and yes, soup gives such comfort. i made some last night with the ham bone I had leftover. topped it off at the end with gobs of chopped fresh spinach. hearty and delicious. thankfully my husband enjoys soup as much as i do.

  14. mar says:

    Disfruto tanto contigo! las fotos, las deliciosas recetas, es impresionante, una maravilla. Gracias!

  15. Dena says:

    Lovely. There’s nothing like soup simmering on the stove to comfort an ill child, even if she is not quite up to eating it right away. I hope you enjoyed the soups as much as Miren once she was feeling better. And I hope she is well now with a a hearty appetite for all good things from your kitchen.

  16. Joy says:

    there’s seriously nothing more comforting than a mother’s hugs and simple good ol’ soups. hope she gets better soon!

  17. Lauren says:

    Soup has always been one of my son’s favorite meals. He just got bottom braces on yesterday, so two nights of soup in a row. These bright colors don’t mirror his mood, but they cheer mine. Thank you!

  18. Shelby says:

    I just love soup. Especially when wintry weather gives us a good excuse to stay inside and warm ourselves with good food. These recipes look fantastic…. Hope Miren gets better soon!

  19. Tara says:

    I love the photos of the soup – makes me want to start making some right now! I also really like the pots with the pour lip in your photos. Do you know what those are called or where to get them? They remind me of Turkish coffee pots, but larger.

    Thanks for the recipes!

  20. molly says:

    poor little dear. those flushed cheeks are so sad!

    i do hope she feels better soon.

    and i, too, cook soups in the morning :)

  21. rasbarri says:

    Ive been following your blog for years. Your photography is breath taking – from the lighting, to the colors…I wish there were more blogs with such great content and photos. Thank you!

  22. Absolutely – soup is the ultimate comfort food. Especially at this time of year. My latest obsession is pear and stilton soup – it doesn’t look nearly as pretty as your divine soups pictured here (love love love your photography, by the way – stunning), but it does taste absolutely scrumptious… Maybe you’ll give it a try? :)


    Hope that Miren feels better very soon!

  23. looks so delicious and healthy!:)

  24. Hope Miren feels better….the first few months in nursery/ school, they aalways manage to catch something or the other. But nothing a nourishing soup won’t fix.

  25. Tara- those pots are from Riess an Austrian company. Not sure if you can buy them in the US. I got them in Europe.

    Thank you all!

  26. Dana says:

    Hi – Can I just say that your pictures are absolutely gorgeous? I love your style. As someone who has nearly none, I appreciate beautiful style and art in others. I love your blog. I’m not a gluten free girl, although I’m sure I could do with eliminating most of it from my life, but I want to eat everything you take a picture of. I think I’ll start with trying these soups.

  27. When I think organic eating, I think your photos here. Just pure color and tastiness. Gorgeous!

  28. ChichaJo says:

    Beautiful photos or beautiful soups! Oh I do hope your Miren feels better soon…she is definitely well cared for :)

  29. Oh Caillou…I can’t remember the last time I heard that show mentioned. My younger sister watched it all the time when we were kids. Now Caillou and delicious soup, that’s something else. Feel better Miren!

  30. Nisha says:

    Great recipes & combination of vegetables for both the soups.
    Soups, salads, lentils & juices are a common part of my diet, especially being a vegetarian.
    But considering that I mostly make the simpler & plain spinach, tomato, mushroom, or broccoli soups – it’s going to be interesting trying some ingredients from these recipes that I’m new to!
    Thanks for sharing these, and the beautiful photos!

  31. Wishing Mirren better, my daughter too wasn’t well today either and I’ll be making some of your soup for her tomorrow so we can both relax together! Made a Jerusalem Artichoke soup today but yours sound amazing, luckily I have most of the ingredients! Stunning photos too, thank you for sharing!

  32. Elisa says:

    aww hope she feels better soon. Yes lots of cuddles and love.. I’m in the same situation, my little one is sick as well, unfortunately I don’t have the flexibility to stay at home with her,it’s unfortunately that we don’t have any family nearby to help us out, but we are managing. our neighbor brought us chicken soup and tea and get well wishes.

  33. Maureen says:

    Poor Mirren, she’s such a beautiful child – I hope she’s well soon.

    It’s summer in Australia so I’m making a chilled lemon soup. I love soup any time of the year. I’ll give your recipe a try when it gets a bit cooler.

  34. Y says:

    I rediscovered soups too, when Barry got ill. Three weeks later and he’s finally feeling better + regaining his appetite. Hope Miren gets well soon!

  35. pierre says:

    rine à dire tu arriverais à faire manger de la soupe àdes enfants !pierre

  36. Those beautiful photos have me wishing I could pull up a chair at your kitchen table this week :-)

  37. We all need a bowl soup when feeling down. Makes us stronger and defeat the cold faster.
    “apa” in my native language means “water”

  38. Beautiful soup for the soul. Feel better soon, little one.
    Heidi xo

  39. There is nothing like a warm healthful soup to nourish and comfort the soul. I hope Miren gets well soon.

  40. Hope the little one is fully recovered now. Love, love, love your photos….and the recipes, goes without saying, are sublime. Thanks for sharing.

  41. Thanks everyone for your kind comments and wishes. So it seems Miren had fifth disease. She had a fever for 3 days, then a rash broke out. She is well but still fighting a cold and a bit weak. Had to keep her home with me all week.

    Thanks again and enjoy the weekend!

  42. would enjoy being ill at your house!! best wishes for Mirren.

  43. Anya says:

    Lots of health to little Mirren!

  44. Aida says:

    I would like to wish you, first of all, the greatest year, since so many of your dreams are about to come true and I truly wish you the best, eventhough I do not know you in person; but I guess that when a person decides to share a bit of her life for years with total strangers, and those on the other side decide to follow those flashes willingly, effortlessly and eagerly we kind of become friends. I´m from Portugal, I do not post very often but I follow your blog daily, anticipating with excitment what the news are going to be this time, never disappointing and always revigorated and inspired. Secondly I’d like to thank you for letting a door open for us, so that we could appreciate through the years the way you’ve evolved into someone so inspiring, so creative, so meticulous, so spontaneous, but above all, so genuinely true to yourself. Thank you, for I have also grown with you. I’ll keep on coming here, visiting you, hoping that if you come to my country one day, I’ll have the pleasure of welcoming you personally, opening then the doors of my house to you and hoping that you’ll feel at ease, just like I do, everytime I come to your blog.I invite you to visit mine as well http://cottoncandy-peaches.blogspot.com/
    Cheers to you! Keep on being very Happy!

  45. Aida- thank you so much for those kind words… wow… i’m speechless. just know that i will keep them close to me. i love portugal. i spent 4 weeks there a few years ago and i have very fond memories of the people i met and places i visited. will have to go back soon then.

    Thank you!

  46. Maribel says:

    Muchas gracias por tu magnifico blog. Me encanta: las fotos, las recetas (sobre todo las de los Macarons)de nuevo mil gracias.Besos

  47. Karen says:

    Hello Aran, I’ve nominated you for the Verstile Blogger Award, feel free to visit me and collect!

  48. emiglia says:

    Poor thing… but she’s lucky to have such a caring mother! Hope she feels better soon.

  49. a. maren says:

    what beautiful, beautiful soups. your daughter is very lucky, and i hope she feels better soon.

  50. Sini says:

    It’s -22°C outside so a soup is exactly what I need right now. Can’t wait to make these beautiful winter treats!

    Hope Miren feels better soon!

  51. TXcoyote says:

    These soups look great. Just one question: Is that a typo in the celeriac soup, when you call for 4 quarts (?) of vegetable broth? Seems a lot.

  52. TXCoyote- it is indeed a typo! Thanks for bringing it to my attention. It is 1 quart or 4 cups not 4 quarts.

    Thank you!

  53. Holly B says:

    I don’t know if it’s a comfort or an addiction for me, but I have developed a habit of eating soup nearly every day for dinner! I try variances here and there, but these recipes look delicious!
    and as always, your photography is so inspiring!!

  54. Anonymous says:

    Arantzazu: Betiko moduen… qué delicia…
    Tengo unas ganas terribles de ver a Miren y a Jon. “La bruja” cada día está más guapa.

  55. Ilke says:

    Hope she feels better. I always long for my mom’s soups when I am sick and now far away from her. Also the mint-lemon tea she used to make. I am sure Miren appreciates every single aroma in the house right now.

  56. I am such a sucker for soup! I am also a huge fan of your food photography. It is always delicious!

  57. chris says:

    I have to confess that I’m a skimmer. I’m here for the visuals, honestly, but I’m never disappointed when I visit your blog. The colors in your photos just pop off my screen… gorgeous. Thank you for sharing your beautiful creations.

  58. Excelente blog, se ven deliciosas las sopas y buena imaginacion para decorarlas

  59. Yum says:

    Wow, your images are amazing! The soups look delicious, thanks for sharing!

  60. Cate says:

    Hi I love yuor recipes.


    Would you be able to suggest me another restaurant – in Krakow or in your hometown – where relishing an authentic and delicious typical Polish dinner?


  61. […]  I cooked this soup tonight.  I accidentally went heavy on the thyme.  I actually only tasted a spoonful tonight; I can give […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.