What is it about a meal of soup and bread that generates a sense of holiness? Is it its sheer simplicity, that it’s a no-fuss, one-dish, and one-pot meal? The fact that a meager serving of a cup of hot soup and a piece of bread can actually satisfy us, keeping our bellies full for longer than we expect? Is it how it can warm us from the inside out, radiating from within like a joyful thought that makes you smile?
Soup is a Lent food for me, even more than a Friday fish fry, because to make it often takes little work and a lot of patience as it warms, and develops from a hodgepodge of ingredients in liquid into a satisfying and nourishing dinner. Likewise, it’s a frugal and simple meal to share before meeting for midweek evening prayer on Wednesdays or after praying the Stations of the Cross on Friday. One pot and one loaf of bread is enough to feed a family for one dinner, a couple for two, and one person for several nights. And there’s no end to the possibilities for recipes. If I have some potatoes in my pantry, I can make a potato soup. If there’s just some onions, bread, and cheese laying around because I haven’t yet been to the grocery story, I can make French onion soup (barring I have the time).
Making a pot of soup and a loaf of bread from scratch each week during Lent is a practice that allows me to slow down, unclutter my mind and heart, and express gratitude for my family and friends, and of course to God.
Here are seven of my favorite soups for the seven weeks of Lent. I do realize that I’m a bit late with this as a week has already passed. But that’s no reason to not make a pot of soup from scratch twice in one week. For each week during Lent, I’ll update this list with recipes and short reflections that I hope you find inspiring in your kitchen and at your table. I'd also love for you to share your favorite soups in the comments.
6. Spring Pea and Orzo Soup with Peasant Bread
7. Green Garlic and Spinach Soup with Onion Focaccia