When time is tight, I frequently rely on soup for a fast meal. I have a pool of wonderful recipes and, although the ingredients may vary from one to the next, I find that a couple of techniques stay the same. Almost all of the purees, such as the creamy fennel soup, involve a simple three-step process: I sauté vegetables, add store-bought broth and perhaps potatoes and let everything simmer, then puree the mixture and season it. Alternatively, I make a clear soup, like the ginger broth with shiitake mushrooms, simmering the broth in a pot while I quickly sauté fresh vegetables in a pan. When I combine all the ingredients, the result is intense and lovely—and quick.
Judith Barrett is the author of several cookbooks, including Pasta Verde (IDG Books Worldwide) and, most recently, Saved by Soup (William Morrow).