Five Spiked Soups
In honor of January’s National Soup Month, Wine Enthusiast is ladling out five loaded soups for your slurping pleasure. From a Southern-style, Madeira-drizzled turtle soup to a Tequila-laced seafood tumbada, these five spiked soup recipes will help you to warm up this winter (and finish off any leftover alcohol from the holidays).
“Spiking soup with certain liquors is a Cajun and Creole tradition,” says John Folse, chef at Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans. “During the trapping season, men would go into the swamplands spending months at a time to hunt game. During these cold winter days, spiking soup with brandy, Madeira or Sherry would add a little warmth not only to their bones but to the conversation in the cabins.”
Whether you use a fresh, floral wine—like an Alsatian Riesling in a charred eggplant soup—or stir a nutty brown ale into a rich, French onion soup dripping with Gruyère cheese, adding a shot to your soup lends depth of flavor—and something saucy to the dinner table.
Recipe courtesy Fabienne Eymard, chef, Pinch American Grill, Yonkers, New York
Beer is king at this Ducasse Studio American Grill, located inside the Empire Casino. There are 100 local craft beers to sip, along with six tabletop taps and a growler-filling station, so it’s no surprise that a brew makes an appearance in the restaurant’s popular Gratinéed Onion Soup.
“Spiking this flavorful soup with a nutty beer such as Ithaca Nut Brown Ale adds an additional layer and depth of flavor, providing a great level of comfort to this dish ideally enjoyed during the wintertime,” says certified Cicerone James Tai, who runs the beer program at Pinch.
2 pounds Spanish onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces butter
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 head garlic
5 cups beef broth
1 cup brown beer, such as Ithaca Nut Brown Ale
4 cups shredded Swiss and Gruyère cheese
Peel and julienne the onions. Sauté in a large pot over medium heat with olive oil, butter, salt and pepper.
Cut the garlic head in half and add to the pot. Reduce heat to low, and cook until the onions are caramelized and soft.
In another pot, bring the broth to a boil, then pour on top of the onions. Keep cooking at a low temperature for one hour. Preheat an oven to 500˚F.
Add the beer to the broth mixture and taste Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if desired. Slice the baguette into 1-inch croutons.
Pour the soup into individual oven-proof soup bowls, top with one layer of bread and add the shredded cheese on top. Place the soup bowls inside the oven until the cheese is melted, brown and crispy. Serves 4.
The Pour: Cicerone James Tai is the beer program manager at Pinch, and his preferred beer pairing is the Ithaca Nut Brown Ale. “The caramel notes in the beer pair well with the sweetness the onions pull out from the soup,” says Tai. “The beer’s nuttiness aligns nicely with the nutty flavors derived from the Gruyère.”
Recipe courtesy Danny Trace, chef, Brennan’s of Houston, Houston, Texas
Loaded with potatoes, oysters and cream—not to mention a heavy pour of Pernod—this spiked stew is a hit with diners during the winter at the popular Houston restaurant, and its creaminess makes it a winning wine pairing for white Burgundy fans.
“It’s all the ingredients of comfort,” says Trace. “You can’t go wrong with the classic oyster-absinthe combination. It’s like a Southern hug in the wintertime.”
8 ounces bacon, diced small
2 onions, diced small
3 celery stalks, diced small
10 cloves garlic, minced
2 green bell peppers, diced small
¼ cup flour
3 cups Pernod Absinthe
4 cups oyster liquor
3 bay leaves
1½ pounds purple potatoes, diced small
1 cup heavy cream
3 pints oysters, shucked (liquor reserved)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
Place a large soup pot over high heat for 1 minute. Add the bacon and cook to render for about 5 minutes, or until the fat is clear, stirring occasionally. Add the onions, celery, garlic and peppers and cook for about 15 minutes.
Add the flour, stirring constantly so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the flour is well distributed and the mixture thickens. Add the Pernod and cook for about 3 minutes or until the alcohol is cooked off, then add the oyster liquor, bay leaves and potatoes. Simmer uncovered about until the potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the cream, bring to a boil, cook for 2 minutes and then add the oysters. Cook until the edges of the oysters curl, then season with salt, pepper and green onions. Serves 10.
The Pour: Wine Director Jason Sherman recommends Maison L’orée’s 2010 Vieilles Vignes Bourgogne Blanc to match with the oyster stew. “A stunning Chardonnay made from old vines in the Burgundy region of France, this is a truly great example of Old World Chardonnay,” says Sherman. “With its core of minerality and acidity, this wine screams for rich cream dishes and buttery overtones.”
Recipe courtesy John Folse, chef, Restaurant R’evolution, New Orleans
Famous in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region, hearty yet sophisticated turtle soup is traditionally spiked with Sherry, but this iteration calls for Madeira, and Folse is partial to pouring Vinhos Barbeito’s Boston Bual Special Reserve, part of the Madeira Historic Series.
And if you’re wondering where to source turtle meat, many Louisiana seafood retailers ship nationwide, like Harlon’s LA Fish and Seafood.
2 pounds ground turtle meat (available at online seafood suppliers)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
¾ cup vegetable oil, divided
1 cup flour
2 cups onions, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup green bell peppers, diced
¼ cup minced garlic
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
12 cups beef stock
1 lemon, sliced
Louisiana hot sauce, to taste
½ cup green onions, sliced
¼ cup parsley, sliced
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
3 ounces Madeira
18 deviled quail egg halves, for garnish
Season the turtle meat well with salt and cayenne pepper. In a heavy-bottomed stockpot, heat ¼ cup vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Pan-fry the turtle meat until water has evaporated from and the turtle is caramelized and golden brown. Remove the turtle meat, drain on paper towels, then set aside. In the same pot, heat remaining the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly until a dark brown roux is achieved. Add the onions, celery, bell peppers and minced garlic. Sauté 3–5 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Stir in the tomato sauce and cook 2–3 additional minutes. Slowly add the beef stock, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly until it reaches a soup-like consistency. Return the turtle meat to the pot, add lemon slices and season lightly using salt, cayenne pepper and hot sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning and hot sauce accordingly.
Bring the soup to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and cook approximately 45 minutes or until the turtle is fork-tender. Add the green onions, parsley and nutmeg. Cook 2–3 minutes then adjust seasonings if necessary. When ready to serve, ladle a generous portion of soup into each serving bowl and garnish with 3 deviled quail egg halves. Gently pour ½ ounce of Madeira over each bowl of soup and enjoy. Serves 6.
The Pour: Wine Director Molly Wismeier recommends Domaine Rolly Gassmann’s 2009 Moenchreben de Rorschwihr Auxerrois from Alsace, France, “to match and bring out the spices in the dish.” Wismeier also suggests Paolo Scavino’s 2010 Nebbiolo from Lange, Italy, “to accentuate the warm richness of the tomatoes,” she says.
Recipe courtesy Rodrigo Bueno, chef, Rancho Pescadero, Todos Santos, Mexico
Arroz a la tumbada means “tumbled up rice” in Spanish—an appropriate reference for this seafood-based stew recipe, which can be likened to a Baja-style jambalaya. At Rancho Pescadero, Bueno spices things up with the addition of guajillo peppers and a hit of Tequila—which he also recommends serving alongside your soup bowl.
5 ounces Roma tomatoes
3 ounces peeled white onions, plus ½ onion, chopped
2 ounces cilantro
2 ounces shrimp shells
3 dry guajillo peppers, seeded, and cut thinly
Dash of salt and pepper
2 ounces white rice
1 clove of garlic, chopped
3 jumbo shrimp
3 ounces white fish
4 clams in the shell
1 squid, cleaned and cut into rings
2 ounces aged Tequila
2 ounces cooked and diced octopus
1 ounce green peas
1 ounce carrots, diced
In a blender, combine tomatoes, peeled onions, cilantro, shrimp shells and peppers, and blend ingredients well. Transfer to a medium pot, and bring mixture to a boil for 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Drain and keep warm.
In a pan over medium heat, sauté the rice with chopped onion until the mixture turns light brown, add the garlic and then half of the broth (reserve the other half). Add the carrot and peas. Let mixture simmer until the rice is cooked. Add more broth gradually until mixture gets a thick soup consistency.
In a separate pan, sauté the shrimp, the fish and the clams until they open, then add the octopus and the squid and sauté for an additional 30 seconds (but don’t overcook the squid). Add the Tequila and flambé. Add the mixture to the soup. Mix well before serving. Serves 2.
The Pour: Chef Rodrigo Bueno recommends serving the stew with a pour of the same Tequila that gives his tumbada recipe a kick. He prefers Tequila Herradura Reposado, which is aged for 11 months and boasts subtle notes of vanilla and cinnamon.
Recipe courtesy David Fuñe, executive chef, Splashes at Surf & Sand Resort, Laguna Beach, California
This hearty vegetarian soup was inspired by a food truck competition, in which Chef David Fuñe had to use a specific ingredient: eggplant. The dish he made created the basis of this rich Riesling-spiked soup, perfect for the winter season. And while everything bagels are not actually used in the recipe, Fuñe recreated their flavor profile by adding a homemade crumble topping for texture.
For the soup
1½ pounds eggplant, skin on
½ cup organic butter
½ pound yellow onions, peeled, diced
½ pound celery stalks, diced
⅓ pound carrots, peeled, diced
2 garlic cloves, whole
1 tablespoons fresh thyme, leaves
2 cups Alsatian Riesling
Pinch of salt and pepper
6 Yukon potatoes, sliced to 1-inch thick
1 cup heavy cream
8 cups organic vegetable stock
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Char the eggplant on stove or over fire grill, approximately 15 minutes, reserve. Heat the butter in a large cooking pan and sauté the onions, celery, carrots, garlic and potatoes over medium-high heat. Season with the thyme, salt and pepper. Deglaze the pan with the Riesling. Add the vegetable stock and heavy cream and cook for 35 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add eggplant and remove mixture to a blender. Blend at high speed (a Vitamix is recommended) until very smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning.
For forbidden rice purée
2 cups overcooked forbidden rice
4 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
¼ cup vegetable stock (as needed)
Place the rice, soy sauce and vinegar in a blender. Blend at high speed until very smooth. Add a bit of vegetable stock to create the consistency of crème fraiche. Place the mixture in pastry bag or squeeze bottle. Set aside.
For “everything bagel crumble”
3 tablespoons black and white sesame seeds, toasted
½ tablespoons dehydrated onion
½ tablespoons garlic powder
½ tablespoons poppy seeds
½ tablespoons fennel seed, ground
½ tablespoons black pepper, cracked
½ tablespoons sunflower seeds, toasted
2 tablespoon kosher salt
Blend sesame seeds, onion, garlic powder, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, pepper, sunflower seeds and salt in a bowl. Set aside until needed.
Pour hot soup into a rimmed bowl. Swirl a thin circular pattern on the surface of the soup with forbidden rice purée. Top with everything bagel crumbles. Serves 6.
The Pour: Ante Dapic, food and beverage director, recommends Spellbound 2011 Petite Sirah from California to pair with the eggplant soup. “The combination of the creamy eggplant along with the sweet floral notes from the wine and coating textures play delicately with the Sirah,” says Dapic.
- 2Gratinéed Onion Soup with Beer
- 3Matagroda Bay Oyster Stew
- 4Creole Turtle Soup with Madeira
- 5Seafood Tumbada with Tequila
- 6Charred Eggplant Bisque with “Everything Bagel” Crumble and Riesling