"I love making this lentil soup when the weather begins to cool," says 2017 Food & Wine Best New Chef Nina Compton, chef-owner of New Orleans hot spot Compère Lapin. "The ham-hock aroma hangs around the kitchen beautifully; the smell alone makes you warmer. Adding a little ginger and lemongrass brightens the soup and reminds me of being back home in St. Lucia. Using local okra reminds me of my Louisiana home and adds a different texture." To make your own croutons for this rich, brothy ham hock and lentil soup, toss 3 cups of cubed baguette with 3 tablespoons butter and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt; bake at 375°F, stirring three times, until toasted, about 15 minutes.
When tomatoes are at their best, take a cue from Hetal Vasavada and don't cook them at all. "In the summer, Indian families often make kachumber salad. It's basically an Indian pico de gallo situation, minus the cilantro," says Vasavada. "My husband loves gazpacho—he's the kind of person who drinks salsa from the jar—so I thought this would be a nice, cool summer dish." Vasavada channeled her love for kachumber, a fresh, cucumber-based Indian salad, to inspire this exciting riff on the classic chilled summery soup. Warm spices and a hint of chile add flavor and heat without overwhelming the fresh tomatoes; sev, a crispy chickpea noodle snack, adds a pleasant crunch.
This creamy, spicy, and boldly-flavored White Chicken Chili cooks in one pot in under an hour. It gets its luscious texture from creamy navy beans and chopped corn tortillas, which thicken the broth and give it a long-cooked flavor. A lightly piquant combination of fresh jalapeños, diced green chiles, ground cayenne, and chili powder lend heat without overpowering the chili, while fresh and cooling cilantro, stirred in at the last minute, balances each bowl.
Inspired by s’erbuzzu, a classic Sardinian soup packed with more than a dozen varieties of herbs and spring greens, this recipe delivers big flavor with fresh parsley, tarragon, and chives. White beans, crispy bits of pancetta, and fregola sarda, tiny balls of dried semolina pasta, add heft; orzo or Israeli couscous are delicious substitutes. Stirring in a handful of tarragon, parsley, and chives just before serving this soup preserves the color and flavor of the delicate herbs.