Easy dinner recipes: Three rich soups in only 45 minutes

You can't go wrong with a simple bowl of soup when you're looking for something quick, warm and comforting. Each of these recipes contains only a handful of ingredients and comes together in no more than 45 minutes.

Halibut chowder with spring herbs and sugar snap peas: New potatoes and tender chunks of halibut are simmered in a rich milk broth flavored with bacon and bay leaf. When the chowder is ready, add fresh chervil and chives, along with sugar snap peas, which will brighten and keep their sweet crunch.

Salmon bisque: With the depth of flavor in this rich and creamy soup from Robin's Restaurant in Cambria, you'd never guess it came together in less than an hour. Butter, leeks, mushrooms and garlic form the base to this soup, layered with crushed tomatoes, chopped fresh herbs and cubes of fresh salmon. The salmon cooks in just minutes, the fragrant soup thickened at the end with cream. Yes, it's that easy.


Arugula and potato soup: With such rich depth of flavor, you might never guess this soup contains only 5 ingredients. Simmer potatoes in chicken broth just until tender, then add arugula to wilt. Puree the soup and season with a touch of white pepper, then serve with a little creme fraiche or olive oil. That's it.

You can find the recipes below.

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Total time: 45 minutes | Serves 6

1/4 pound bacon (about 3 thick slices)

1 shallot, minced

1 pound small potatoes, cut into similar-sized pieces

2 cups milk

2 cups half-and-half

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 pounds halibut, cut into 1 1/2 -inch pieces

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 pound sugar snap peas, strings removed if necessary

1 tablespoon minced chives

2 teaspoons chervil leaves

1. Cut the bacon in thin slices crosswise and combine with the minced shallot in a medium pot. Place over medium heat and cook just until the shallot softens and the bacon frizzles (you don't want it to render completely, just begin cooking) about 5 minutes.

2. Add the potatoes and stir to combine the flavors. Add the milk, half-and-half and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Cook, maintaining a moderate simmer, until the potatoes are quite tender, about 20-25 minutes.

3. Remove the bay leaf. Add the halibut and the salt and cook until the halibut is firm, about 4-5 minutes.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar snap peas, chives and chervil. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Serve immediately into heated bowls.

Each serving: 377 calories; 33 grams protein; 22 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 17 grams fat; 9 grams saturated fat; 81 mg. cholesterol; 375 mg. sodium.


Total time: 45 minutes

Servings: 4 to 8

Note: Adapted from Robin's Restaurant in Cambria, Calif.

1/4 cup salted butter

1 cup sliced leeks

1 cup sliced white mushrooms

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2¾ cups (22 ounces) clam juice

2 cups crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus fresh sprigs for garnish

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 cups cubed fresh salmon (bones removed and cut into ½-inch cubes), about 1½ pounds

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups heavy cream

1. Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add the butter, and, when it is melted, stir in the leeks, mushrooms and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks are translucent and soft.

2. Stir in the clam juice, crushed tomatoes, chopped parsley and dill, and season with the salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then stir in the salmon. Continue to simmer until the salmon is fully cooked, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. While the soup is cooking, whisk the flour into the heavy cream in a small bowl. Slowly add the cream to the soup when the salmon is cooked. Continue to simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.

4. Ladle the soup into bowls, and serve garnished with dill sprigs.

Each serving: 475 calories; 21 grams protein; 10 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 40 grams fat; 20 grams saturated fat; 147 mg cholesterol; 4 grams sugar; 535 mg sodium.


Total time: 45 minutes

Serves 4

1 carton (1 quart) chicken broth

2 medium Yukon gold potatoes (about 9 ounces), peeled and sliced

2 (5-ounce) cartons or bags baby arugula

1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

2 tablespoons creme fraiche or olive oil

1. Pour the chicken broth into a large saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Add the potatoes and cook, covered, until they are very tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

2. Wash and drain the arugula. Add it to the saucepan. Stir to combine and simmer until the arugula is completely wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Puree with an immersion blender right in the saucepan, or in a food processor in one or two batches, transferring each batch to a clean saucepan or warm tureen. Stir in the pepper and swirl in the creme fraiche or olive oil.

Each serving: 91 calories; 5 grams protein; 14 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 2 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 3 mg. cholesterol; 405 mg. sodium.