This classic Provençal seafood stew is loaded with clams, lobster and fish in a broth delicately flavored with fennel and pastis, a licorice-flavored aperitif. “There are no real rules to this dish except to use what’s fresh,” chef Ethan Stowell says. Make or buy a good fish stock and add different seafood at different times, so nothing is under- or overcooked (clams go in first; snapper and halibut go in last). The rouille, a sauce made with cayenne, garlic, bread crumbs and olive oil, is the perfect finishing touch.
Alison Attenborough and Jamie Kimm always make borscht around the holidays. One year, they had roasted fennel left over after a day of food styling and decided to add it to the soup pot; they've been making borscht with fennel ever since. They like their soup really sweet and sour, but you can adjust the vinegar and honey to your taste.
For Christmas Eve dinner, Judith Tirado, Michael Mina's late mother-in-law, always prepared cioppino—the San Francisco seafood stew that owes its origins to fishermen from Italy's Ligurian coast. “She&rquo;d spend a whole day infusing the broth with basil and tomatoes,” Mina recalls. Now he carries on the tradition by making her hearty, briny recipe, full of crab, shrimp and clams.
Growing up in Italy’s Marche region, Fabio Trabocchi roasted chestnuts in the fireplace to eat as a snack while playing cards with his family. At culinary school, he first transformed those chestnuts into this luscious soup. Incredibly creamy, it’s best served in small cups as an hors d’oeuvre.
The idea for this hearty, risotto-style soup came to Frédéric Morin while he was sitting on a combine in his uncle’s barley field. He could smell the peat from the neighboring farm, which reminded him of Scotch whisky.
Influenced by his Turkish-American wife, Meltem, Scott Conant spices up his silky potato soup with Turkish red-pepper paste (biber salcasi), made from sweet and hot peppers. Look for the paste at Middle Eastern groceries, or use harissa instead.
Chef Susur Lee is renowned for his creative, complex, Asian-inflected dishes at his restaurants in Toronto, Manhattan and Singapore. But one of his favorite cold-weather comfort recipes is this remarkably simple squash soup, which he sweetens with a little honey and garnishes with roasted pumpkin seeds.