Eat: Soup as a Meal

Convincing H1 that soup is a meal is perhaps one of the proudest achievements of my life, even though he still reacts with slight suspicion when I tell him we're having soup for dinner. I'm not at all sure what he considered soup to be back in his unenlightened days (a snack? A starter? Dessert?) but he was very firm in his belief that it was most definitely not a meal. So how did I change that belief? Ha. How does anyone change anything? Carbs, bacon, and cheese, my friends. Carbs, bacon, and cheese*.

I don't remember the first soup I ever made him as a meal, but it was probably broccoli and cheddar. It's a really thick, creamy soup, with cheese in it. It's basically liquefied broccoli with cheese sauce**. He was all confused and sulky looking when I set it down, but he perked up when I placed the bread on the table also, and by the end of the meal*** he was in an exalted state, high on cheese and bread.

"You're right!" he exclaimed. "This is a meal!"

I sat back and tried not to look smug. 'I told you so,' isn't my style****.

So now H1 accepts soup as a meal - mostly. His face still drops a little bit when I tell him we're having soup. To get around this, I tend to avoid anything broth-like, and go straight for the creamy and delicious - as you should anyway in the cold months*****.

Last week, I made sweet potato soup. This recipe evolved from a parsnip and apple soup, which I made last year for Thanksgiving. It was good, but I don't usually have parsnips in the house, so next time I made it, I used sweet potatoes instead. Also good, and one I've made a lot.

This time I didn't have apples, so I reduced it to sweet potato soup, then added cayenne pepper to up the interest. I don't often follow recipes, and I also don't tend to write my recipes down, so here is the loose description of how I did it:

3 medium sweet potatoes Half a big yellow onion Vegetable stock Pinch of cayenne pepper Salt and pepper to taste Splash of milk Goat cheese Bacon

Put the sweet potatoes in the oven to roast with a little olive oil. While they're roasting, soften the onion in a large pot. Add stock and roasted sweet potatoes, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and let it reduce a little. Cook bacon and drain on paper towels.

Totally doesn’t matter if the onions brown a little…

…or the sweet potatoes, for that matter. It DOES matter if they’re green. These aren’t – they’re just under an awful fluorescent light.

Blend, preferably with an immersion blender, until mostly smooth. Doesn't need to be perfect. Season to taste, then add a splash of milk if, like me, you've put in slightly too big a pinch of cayenne pepper and you'd prefer your dinner not to injure anyone. Roughly chop bacon and goat cheese into small-ish bits, dish up the soup, and use these to top it. Eat a couple of pieces of bacon before they hit the bowl, because you're the cook and you deserve it.

The right amount of bacon to cook is as much as you like.

Serve with more carbs. Watch merrily as your husband's ideas of what he likes and what he doesn't are shattered into small pieces.

Idea-shattering soup.

Would love to hear if anyone else also thinks soup is not a meal - but mostly would love a decent amount of backup. Does anyone bother with 'thin' soups******? Can they be a meal?

*Hey, has anyone tried this in an active war zone?

**Ew. Actually, that sounds gross. It's not that at all.

***Just after I told him there was enough for seconds, actually.

****It's TOTALLY my style. But I didn't want to ruin the moment.

*****The only time I really eat soup is when the weather is cold. I just don't like the idea of cold soup in summer - it seems wrong.

******Not as, like, a diet thing - as a consistency thing.