As winter settles in with its chilly winds and gloomy skies, there’s nothing like a warm bowl of coastal-inspired wintery soup to lift your spirits and transport you to sun-kissed shores. Embracing the flavors of the sea, these comforting soup recipes not only provide a delicious escape from the winter blues but also bring a taste of coastal serenity to your dining table. Join us on a culinary journey that blends the coziness of winter with the freshness of the coast. This collection of soul-warming soup recipes promise to brighten even the coldest of days.
MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE
To start, I’ll share one of my favorites for this time of year. To enhance the experience, serve it with a side salad and a crusty baguette for an easy and enjoyable meal. Additionally, it’s creamy and rich – but I’ve added chicken to make it even more filling as a one-pot meal. Looking ahead, next time I think I’ll try adding shrimp!
Fresh Corn and Green Chile Soup
Olive oil flavored spray
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 cups corn, cut from the cob (reserve cobs)
1 (15 oz.) can yellow hominy, drained, rinsed
1 t Adobo paste from canned chipotle chiles
2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 cup 2% milk
2 T chopped cilantro
12 oz. evaporated skim milk
2 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips, baked crisp
2 oz. Queso Ranchero or feta, crumbled
Optional – Shrimp, bacon or chicken can be added for richer flavor.
First, sauté the onions in a covered pot using olive oil spray. Add garlic and continue cooking for another minute. Then, simmer the stripped corncobs with the chicken stock for 15 minutes. Strain (discard cobs) and add the liquid to the onions along with 2 cups of the corn, the hominy, and adobo paste.
Afterwards, cook 10 minutes, puree, push through china cap or sieve and then return to the pot along with the carrot, poblano, remaining cup of corn and 2% milk. Next, simmer until the carrots are just tender. Stir in the evaporated skim milk. Add cooked protein as desired. Finally, serve hot, garnished with tortilla chips, cheese and cilantro.
BECOMING A LEGEND
Legend tells us the origins of South Carolina’s she-crab soup was created for a presidential dinner at the home of Mayor Rhett in the early 1900s. Rhett’s butler made up a rich sherry-infused soup using freshly crabmeat and cream. He added in the coral-colored roe from the female crabs (thus the name.)
More recently, efforts to preserve the crab supply have banned the harvesting of roe from the egg-bearing female crabs who carry the roe outside of their shells. Only female crabs with the roe on the inside may be used.
Since then, recipes have suggested crumbling hard-boiled egg yolks on the bottom of the soup plate as a substitute. Like all recipes, there are many versions to try. The recipe we choose to share is considered a South Carolina favorite.
SHE CRAB SOUP
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 small white onion, grated
1 stalk celery, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 quarts half-and-half cream
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup sherry wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 pound lump crabmeat
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
First, melt butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Stir in flour to make a smooth paste; cook and stir for about 3 minutes. Next, gradually whisk in half-and-half so that no lumps form. Stir in heavy cream and chicken broth; bring to a simmer. Continue to cook and stir for about 4 minutes.
In a separate pan, sauté onion, celery, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Add sautéed vegetables to the roux mixture above. Add 1/2 of the sherry, then season with dill, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Cover and simmer until soup has reduced by 1/3, about 30 minutes. Add crabmeat; simmer for 10 more minutes. Finally, ladle soup into bowls. Top each serving with a splash of remaining sherry and sprinkle of chives.
Enjoy this wonderful wintery soup!
IT’S A CLASSIC
Another coastal delight is the classic clam chowder, a creamy and hearty soup that hails from the New England region in the United States. Brimming with succulent clams, tender potatoes, smoky bacon, and fragrant herbs, this wintery soup embodies the essence of seaside comfort. The combination of fresh seafood and wholesome ingredients makes clam chowder a cherished wintery soup that warms both the body and soul.
The succulent clams which have been harvested from the shores give it the oceanic essence. The creamy broth and tender potato chunks add texture so that every spoonful is a reminder of the hearty warmth shared by coastal communities. You’ll love it!
(OUR FAVORITE) NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER
2 cups cubed potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
3 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams, drained with juice reserved
Water to cover
¾ cup butter
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 quart half-and-half cream
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
Ground black pepper to taste
Place potatoes, carrots, celery, and onion into a large skillet; pour in clam juice and add enough water to cover. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Whisk in cream and stir constantly until thick and smooth. Stir in vegetable mixture with any juices until just heated through.
Finally, stir in clams just before serving. (If they cook too much they get tough.) When clams are heated through, stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
GOOD CHOWDER, BOBBY
Chowder is a popular type of wintery soup that most often (not always) has a creamy base and is chunky in texture. There’s clam chowder, corn chowder, and of course, this seafood chowder!
Most recipes start with either seafood or chicken broth for simmering the vegetables. Chowders can be thickened using a roux and in the case of this seafood chowder recipe, the potatoes also provide a bit of starch to help it thicken it.
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 1/2 cups corn (optional)
2 potatoes, diced large
1 lb. fish of your choice
1 T garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups seafood stock
1 lb. shrimp, peeled
1 lb. scallops
3/4 – 1 t dill
5 T olive oil
First, in a large skillet, sauté onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, dill, and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until onions become transparent and begin to simmer. Next, add heavy cream and seafood stock. Then, let simmer for approximately 30 minutes at a soft boil. As the soup reduces slightly, add the shrimp, scallops, and fish, and allow to simmer for 15 more minutes.
No single dish epitomizes the Gulf Coast more than gumbo. It’s far more than a soup – it’s a significant cultural emblem of coastal cuisine. While it’s unquestionably a staple of the entire region, it practically defines Louisiana. In fact, gumbo is the official dish of the state, and it has enjoyed popularity since 18th-century Louisiana. Heavily seasoned, gumbo can be made with a variety of seafoods with other meats frequently added as well. With its flavorful “gravy,” it is generally served with rice.
Among the thousands of different recipes, our favorite here is quick, easy, and sooo tasty.
SHRIMP AND VEGETABLE GUMBO
4 scallions, cut diagonally into ½-inch pieces
1 large yellow pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ lb. okra
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 t salt, divided
2 T vegetable oil, divided
1 bay leaf
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 T chopped fresh thyme, or 1 t dried
½ t ground red pepper
In large skillet over medium-high heat, cook scallions, yellow pepper, okra, garlic, bay leaf, and ¾ teaspoon salt in 1 tablespoon hot oil for 7 minutes. Next, stir in cherry tomatoes and cook 5 minutes or until just tender.
Meanwhile, in large plastic food-storage bag, combine shrimp, thyme, ground red pepper and remaining 1 tablespoon oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Next, seal and shake to coat. Then, cook shrimp 3 to 4 minutes or until pink in a skillet over medium-high heat. Finally, stir into vegetable mixture. Gumbo is a perfect warm, wintery soup!
FROM THE SEA
Even though our time at the coast is limited in winter, we can still relish the ocean’s bounty through delightful and warming creations. Whether it’s the creamy embrace of clam chowder or the spicy kick of seafood gumbo, wintery soups bring comfort during the colder months.
Before we know it, we’ll be headed back to the beach for fun in the sun. Until then, I’ll have some soup.