Everyday Food: Bring the heat with hearty soups

Chicken Soup with Dill Spaetzle: Your family will love this one-pot meal with chicken, veggies and more.
Chicken Soup with Dill Spaetzle: Your family will love this one-pot meal with chicken, veggies and more. Sharon Radisch

Nothing grounds you like sitting down to a bowl of home-cooked soup.

These recipes take just an hour or less to put together, yet each is substantial enough to serve on its own, freeing you from having to cook anything else.

Studded with vegetables and fortified with hearty ingredients — meatballs, spaetzle, white beans and smoked fish — these one-pot meals will leave you soothed and satisfied.

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Mixed seafood chowder

This Scottish-style chowder is made with smoked salmon, but you can try other hot-smoked fish, like trout or haddock.

Makes 4 servings

  • 3 to 4 pounds littleneck clams (about 32), scrubbed
  • 2 sprigs thyme, plus leaves for serving
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium leeks, white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced, washed well and drained
  •  1/4 cup dry vermouth
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into  1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces hot-smoked salmon (available at specialty stores and some supermarkets), skin removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Freshly ground pepper

1. Bring clams, thyme sprigs and 4 cups water to a simmer in a large pot. Cover; cook until clams open, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, discarding any that remain closed. Strain liquid into a bowl. Reserve 12 clams; coarsely chop meat from remaining ones.

2. Melt butter in pot over medium. Add leeks; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 minutes. Stir in vermouth; cook until almost evaporated, 2 minutes. Add celery, potatoes and clam liquid. Simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes; mash a few with the back of a spoon to thicken soup. Stir in cream, salmon and all clams. Cook until heated through, 1 minute. Season with pepper and serve, topped with thyme leaves.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 481 calories, 31 grams fat, 30 grams carbohydrates, 18 grams protein, 117 milligrams cholesterol, 524 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber, 59 percent of calories from fat.

Mexican meatball soup

Meatballs and rice make this hearty, home-cooked soup substantial enough to serve on its own.

Makes 4 servings

  • 1  1/2 pounds ground beef (85 percent lean)
  •  1/3 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  •  1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
  •  1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more leaves for serving
  •  1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 large zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach (2 ounces)

1. Mix together beef, rice, mint, cilantro, cinnamon, egg, 2 teaspoons salt and  1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Form tablespoons of mixture into meatballs (about 40).

2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 3 minutes. Add broth, 2 cups water, tomato sauce, zucchini and meatballs.

3. Simmer over medium, partially covered, until meatballs are cooked through, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in spinach and serve, topped with cilantro leaves.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 690 calories, 47 grams fat, 29 grams carbohydrates, 53 grams protein, 181 milligrams cholesterol, 859 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber, 57 percent of calories from fat.

Minestrone with winter greens

Cannellini beans add a rich flavor to this one-pot meal.

Makes 4 servings

  •  1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cans (15.5 ounces each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  •  1/2 cup dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
  • 1 large sprig sage
  • 1 piece (2 ounces) Pecorino Romano, plus more grated for serving
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) ditalini or other short, tubular pasta
  • 4 cups shredded chicory, escarole or kale
  • Red pepper flakes, for serving

1. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add oil and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally until garlic is golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook, stirring 1 minute. Add beans and wine; simmer, stirring occasionally until liquid has thickened and wine has almost evaporated, about 4 minutes.

2. Add 8 cups water, sage and cheese; season with salt and black pepper. Simmer, partially covered, over medium-low heat for 25 minutes.

3. Bring soup to a boil, stir in pasta and cook until al dente according to package instructions, stirring occasionally. Add chicory; cook, stirring, just until wilted, about 1 minute. Serve, topped with grated cheese and red pepper flakes.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 478 calories, 19 grams fat, 58 grams carbohydrates, 18 grams protein, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 392 milligrams sodium, 11 grams dietary fiber, 36 percent of calories from fat.

Chicken soup with dill spaetzle

Enjoy the spaetzle and the hint of dill in this rich chicken soup.

Makes 4 servings

  •  3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  •  1/3 cup whole milk
  •  1/4 cup packed fresh dill, chopped, and 1 large sprig, plus more sprigs for serving
  • 1 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast (2 pounds), split
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into  1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into  1/2-inch pieces

1. Whisk together flour,  3/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper in a medium bowl. In another bowl, beat together eggs, milk and chopped dill; gradually add to flour mixture, whisking with a fork until combined. Cover batter and store in refrigerator up to 1 day.

2. Bring chicken, broth and dill sprig to a boil in a large pot. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate with tongs.

3. Skim foam from broth with a large spoon. Stir in carrots and parsnips and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.

4. Shred chicken into bite-size pieces (discarding bones) and return to pot. Bring to a boil. Working in batches, push batter through the large holes of a colander into broth. Season soup with salt and pepper and serve, topped with more dill sprigs.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 405 calories, 9 grams fat, 46 grams carbohydrates, 51 grams protein, 175 milligrams cholesterol, 203 milligrams sodium, 7 grams dietary fiber, 17 percent of calories from fat.