Comfort yourself with these 6 hearty soups

A bowl of thick, chunky split pea soup is one of the all-time favorite winter warmers.

(CNN)How many more weeks of winter? Sounds like it's the right time for a bowl -- no, make that a cauldron -- of soup.

"People get so excited about soup," said Caroline Wright, author of the forthcoming cookbook "Soup Club" and founder of a Seattle-based weekly community soup club. "Soup is more than a food, it's also sort of a mood. It's very nourishing and it makes people feel safe and comforted."
And while we can't control the weather -- or a lot of other things beyond the four walls of our homes -- we can give ourselves some measure of reassurance with a home-cooked bowl of flavorful soup.
    Think something hearty that can power you through these next few months -- no delicate bisques or cold gazpacho will do during times like these. Try these six different rib-sticking styles and get some pro tips on keeping your leftovers as fresh as the day they were made.
      And if you'd rather shop your pantry than work from one of these recipes, make a soup with what you have on hand with this Empty Your Pantry Soup template.

        Clam chowder

        Manhattan or New England? Apologies to the greatest city in the world, but when it comes to the comforts of chowder, the creamy option really is the cream of the crop. Classic New England clam chowder combines that rich, thick soup base with starchy potatoes and the traditional oyster cracker topping for not one, not two, but three ways to get your comfort cravings fulfilled.
          Classic New England clam chowder combines a thick base with starchy potatoes.
          If you'd rather go vegetarian, but still want a chowder moment, substitute sliced, sautéed oyster or shiitake mushrooms for clams and vegetable broth for clam broth.

          Vegetarian split pea soup

          A bowl of thick, chunky split pea soup is one of the all-time favorite winter warmers -- and its simplicity doesn't hurt its popularity among home cooks, either.
          The recipe from the famous Moosewood restaurant, an icon among vegetarians, cleverly uses miso to boost the umami flavor in place of ham. Get a big pot going on the stove, or make it in the slow cooker for a hands-off technique.

          Chicken tortilla soup

          Oyster crackers aren't the only way to add crunchy contrast to a hearty soup. Crispy fried (or baked) tortilla strips are what give tortilla soup its name. When your soup is named after a topping, you know it's a nonnegotiable.
          Crispy fried (or baked) tortilla strips are more than just a topping in chicken tortilla soup.
          Make this soup in the slow cooker or Instant Pot to get tender, shredded chicken without hands-on simmering time. Bonus: You can bump up the level of smoke and spice by adding chipotle peppers in adobo sauce or chipotle powder.

          Avgolemono

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