French Onion Soup Gratiné
Chef Dana Calabrese, Ship Lantern Inn
At the historic Ship Lantern Inn in Milton, hospitality is the key ingredient in every meal. Owner Michael Foglia and chef Dana Calabrese work together to preserve the 89-year-old restaurant’s old-fashioned charm and create timeless dishes for its classic menu. Don’t confuse traditional with ordinary, though—the chef’s French onion soup is a comforting classic that offers plenty of rich flavor. Rather than using a single variety of onion, Calabrese combines red onion, white onion and shallots to create complexity and various levels of sweetness. The flavor of the slow-cooked caramelized onions is enhanced with a topping of toast and a mound of melted Gruyere and provolone. The slightly salty, butteriness compliments the deep and savory broth. Foglia suggests pairing the soup with a crisp Riesling. “A semi-dry, dry or Alsatian Riesling is light and not too sweet, so it will pick up the flavors of the onions and cheese, but won’t overpower it.”
Golden Nugget Squash Soup
Chef Josh Kroner, Terrapin Restaurant
For Josh Kroner, chef/owner of Terrapin Restaurant in Rhinebeck, developing recipes that cater to various dietary needs is key to a successful menu. His golden nugget squash soup substitutes coconut milk for heavy cream to create a flavorful vegan option—like cream, coconut milk offers rich and creamy texture that compliments the squash, giving it a full and satisfying body. Inspired by the flavor of the coconut, Kroner steeps lemongrass in the soup for over an hour, imparting delicate lemony notes and a nod to Southeast Asian flavors. Rather than pumpkin or butternut squash, Kroner prefers to use golden nugget squash. “Pumpkins are very fibrous, so [they] don’t make for very good soup, while the golden nugget squash is very creamy and makes an excellent soup,” he says. “It’s also richer than a butternut squash.” The golden nugget gives the soup bright orange color, as well as deep squash flavor. For those who don’t maintain a vegan diet, the soup can be served with a dollop of sour cream, which adds mild tanginess as well as additional body to the soup.
Roasted Tomato with Peanut Butter Soup
Chef Pam Brown, Garden Café
Chef/owner Pam Brown brings the unique combination of tomatoes and peanut butter to Woodstock’s Garden Café. “Tomatoes and peanut butter may seem a bit unusual, but in this instance they are the perfect match to create a rich, satisfying and warming soup,” she says. Tomatoes are tossed with onions, ginger, garlic and cinnamon before being lightly blistered in the oven. Oven roasting concentrates the flavor of the tomatoes, enhancing their sweet and savory qualities. A seemingly unlikely pair, the rich peanut butter balances the natural acidity of the tomatoes, while giving the soup a full-bodied texture. The soup is spiked with a dash of cayenne, enhancing its warmth. Brown suggests pairing the soup with Malbec, which is complex, fruity and compliments the mild, spicy sweetness of the soup. If you prefer seasonings other than cinnamon, Brown emphasizes the soup’s versatility and suggests personalizing the recipe by replacing the original spices with chipotle and cumin and garnishing with crushed tortilla chips for a Southwestern option, or adding curry powder and pinch of turmeric for a hint of India.
German Potato Soup
Marianne Olive, Sour Kraut
A big bowl of potato-and-bacon soup is a sure way to keep warm this winter. At Sour Kraut Restaurant in Nyack, chef Marianne Olive dices up Yukon Golds as the basis of her hearty German potato soup. Potatoes, carrots, celery, leeks and onions are cooked tender in a combination of bacon fat and butter, giving the soup a smoky richness. Unlike russets, the Yukon Gold potatoes provide a deeper, buttery flavor—and they contain about twice as much vitamin C as regular baking potatoes). The soup is seasoned with parsley and marjoram. (Often confused with oregano, marjoram offers a grassy, lemony flavor that’s sweeter than oregano.) Smoky soups pair nicely with acidic white wines like Pinot Gris; the minerality will also compliment the potatoes’ earthy flavor.
White Bean with Kale Soup
Chef Eddie Lauria, Aroma Osteria
Want a taste of Tuscany this winter? At Aroma Osteria in Wappingers, Eddie Lauria has been sharing rustic Italian cuisine with the Hudson Valley since 1997. Lauria’s traditional soup is hearty yet light, and packed with protein-rich beans and seasonal kale. Since kale is a member of the cabbage family and a cool-season green, it’s available here late in the season, making it a valuable winter ingredient. Cannellini beans make great soup because they hold their shape well under heat and provide mild, creamy flavor. Lauria uses rendered pancetta fat to give the soup a savory boost and hearty meatiness that compliments the beans and the herbaceous, slightly bitter kale. It’s finished with a drizzle of premium extra virgin olive oil that rounds the soup with a peppery zest.
Black Truffle Soup
The Bocuse Restaurant
If you travel to the Culinary Institute of America this winter, stop by The Bocuse Restaurant for a bowl of black truffle soup, a.k.a. soupe aux truffes noires. This classic recipe, originally created by the restaurant’s namesake, Chef Paul Bocuse, is a celebrated and iconic dish that Bocuse first introduced while working at the Elysée Palace in Paris. Presented in Bocuse’s customized white bowls embellished with lions’ heads, the soup is hidden beneath a crown of golden, puff pastry. Break the shell with soft tap of a spoon and inside you’ll find root vegetables that have been diced into perfect, gem-like squares, decadent pieces of black truffle and a savory, rich broth. While the broth is light, it’s enhanced by the pungent and distinct, earthy aroma of the truffles. As the pastry is broken, the steam from the soup is released for a multi-sensory experience.