Here in Texas where winter is usually a fleeting thought at best, we’ve been hit with a few below-freezing cold snaps. Locals like to grouse about the difficult driving conditions and having to wear closed-toed shoes, but I get excited. I finally get to put on my favorite fuchsia winter coat and best of all, it’s prime soup-party time!
My friends can tell you that it doesn’t take much for me to throw a party. It’s never about being formal at my house, it’s just about friends getting together, preferably around good food — and soup parties offer some of the best, most comforting eats of the season.
On a lazy winter Sunday, I like to make a big pot of soup and call up a few friends to help me enjoy it. When I set the table, I make sure to include a few small bowls of soup toppings down the middle. As far as I’m concerned, the toppings are what turns the occasion from “just dinner” into a party!
This little tradition started with my family, when my parents would make congee, a simple rice soup that relies on toppings to bring the flavor, whether it’s pickled vegetables, pork floss or the mysteriously murky, umami-filled “thousand-year-old eggs.”
Some of my favorite soups for these kinds of parties are:
Mexican Chicken Soup with Ancho Chiles opens in a new tab, served with lime wedges, tortilla chips, cilantro and slices of avocado.
Potato and Leek Soup with Brie Croutons opens in a new tab, with extra brie and baguette slices on the side, please!
Cookoff-Winning Veggie Chili opens in a new tab, delicious with cornbread opens in a new tab, sour cream and queso fresco.
Soup Swap Meet
This kind of soup-exchange party requires a little more planning, but it’s definitely worth it. I send an invite out about a month ahead of the party, with a required RSVP and a request to let me know about any special diets. It’s integral to get an exact headcount in advance, so everybody knows exactly how many portions of soup to bring. I usually ask for a few vegan contributions too, so that those friends aren’t left soupless!
The week before the party, I assign everybody a number of individual containers of soup to bring. The day of, everybody brings their labeled containers of soup and we start the swap! Everyone leaves with a soup stash of as much soup as they’ve brought, but with a fun variety of flavors. It’s a great chance to add a few new soup recipes to your repertoire, such as Moroccan Spiced Chickpea and Lentil Soup opens in a new tab, Mini-Meatball Noodle Soup opens in a new tab or Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup opens in a new tab.
Do you have a favorite way to share your soup? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Now grab your biggest pot and ladle and get ready to sip and slurp — soup’s on!