1Wash 3 cups of fresh (or 1 cup dried) elderberries (stems removed) and place in a large nonaluminum soup pot. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes or until the elderberries are soft. Blend and then strain through a sieve. Return the strained liquid to the cleaned pot over medium heat, and add 3/4 cup of sugar.
2In a separate bowl, make a slurry by combining 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water. Whisk the slurry into the pot and bring back to a boil, whisking often.
3Add 2 cups peeled and diced tart apples and 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, and simmer for 5 minutes or until the soup is thickened, smooth, and clear.
4Cool the soup and refrigerate to chill. Serve cold topped with crumbled gingersnap cookies and dollops of sour cream.
Softened vegetables, including onions and bell peppers, amped up with spices like chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne, form the base of this tortilla soup. Chicken broth and tomatoes are added, along with soft corn tortillas that meld into the liquid to make a hearty, thick meal. Finally, shredded chicken is stirred in, and everything is garnished with crunchy tortilla strips, sour cream, shredded cheese, and scallions (avocados, pickled jalapeños, and cilantro would all work too).
Classic Tomato Soup
This comforting tomato soup is super easy and super delicious. Canned San Marzano tomatoes marry with soft, sautéed onions and garlic, a pinch of red pepper, and chicken broth to create a soothing, savory bowl. Finished with a bit of cream, this is begging for a grilled cheese sandwich on the side. But really, it tastes great with lots of things, as well as on its own (though a basil and Parmesan garnish doesn't hurt).
Basic Vegetable Soup
This soup is an equally wonderful way to use up all the leftover veggie odds and ends in your fridge, or to celebrate the freshest produce in season by buying it specifically for the dish (and if you get a CSA box, it can serve both purposes). Whatever vegetables you use, this is an easy, nutritious, and delicious meal, and endlessly customizable. Fresh pesto makes a great, vibrant garnish, but you could also simply sprinkle on a bit of grated Parmesan and cracked black pepper.
Easy Lentil Soup
This easy lentil soup is healthy, filling, and delicious. It happens to be vegetarian, too, and is packed not only with tender yet toothsome lentils, but carrot, celery, onion, spinach, and tomato. A little bay leaf, fresh thyme, and a splash of red wine or sherry vinegar perks everything up. Perfect with a loaf of good, crusty bread!