Spring might be just around the corner, as Toad’s friend Frog says, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way in New York yet. I still need to layer on scarf-hat-and-gloves before heading out to face the wind, but I make up for it with a hot bowl of soup for dinner. Recently I simmered a version of my turkey soup with beans and greens, substituting chickpeas for the white beans and lime for the lemon, and it warmed me head to toe.
This week, New York Times Cooking has two new and gloriously easy soup recipes. Kay Chun brought us a lemony leek and fish soup with orzo (above), inspired by a Greek avgolemono. It’s after-work fast and supremely warming, with pieces of white fish poached in a broth made silky from eggs whisked in right at the end. (For a slightly more classic take on avgolemono, there’s my version with escarole.).
Equally compelling is a pot of t’chicha from Nargisse Benkabbou. This simple soup, from the Amazigh, or Berber, community in North Africa, combines pearl barley with tomatoes, sweet paprika and thyme. It’s filling and thick, but, made without meat, it’s still relatively light.
The same can be said for Jocelyn Ramirez’s garlicky, cumin-laced sopa de fideo, a Mexican noodle soup that’s perfect for any chilly weeknight.
You could round any of these out with a salad — say, the greenest green salad, with avocado, snap peas and cucumber, or a crunchy wedge salad with bacon and blue cheese dressing.
If you’re feeling momentarily weary of soup, how about J. Kenji López-Alt’s mayo-marinated chicken cutlets with chimichurri? You can make it either in a skillet or on the grill. (If it’s already grilling season where you are, lucky you!) I also love this chicken made with a couple of tablespoons of jarred Thai curry paste instead of chimichurri, which makes the marinade almost too easy to prepare. (That’s never a bad thing!) Serve it with Genevieve Ko’s fluffy mashed potatoes — she uses steamed rather than boiled russets for the most ethereal texture — and some miso-roasted broccoli on the side.
These also might be the last few appropriate weeks for hot chocolate — Mexican or spicy or vegan — before we ease into cold chocolate milk weather. And before you know it, milkshake days will be upon us.
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We are also on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram, where our Sara Bonisteel makes chewy-flaky butter tarts, a Canadian specialty with gooey, butterscotch-filled centers. (Some people add raisins to the filling, and you can do that too if you like; Sara’s recipe is very adaptable.) If you’re experiencing any technical problems, you can send an email to [email protected] for help. And I’m at [email protected] if you want to get in touch.
The famous wit and poet Dorothy Parker, even at her funniest, was generally more Toad than Frog. Her dark and lovely poem “The False Friends” casts a cold eye on spring, and yet its keenness and music (it was literally set to music recently by Myriam Gendron) are as irrepressible as spring itself.
I’ll see you on Wednesday, which truly is just around the corner.