Unlike a traditional dinner party that takes extensive planning and preparations for each course of the meal, a soup party is typically a much simpler affair. Not only is it easier to plan (choose a few of your favorite soup recipes, and you're done), but the ingredients tend to be inexpensive. Plus, many soup recipes can be prepared in advance, including in a slow cooker. In fact, many soups actually improve in taste and consistency with time.
Here are some tips for hosting a delicious soup party.
Setting the Table
By nature, a soup party is going to be a fairly relaxed gathering. After all, soup is commonly seen as a comfort food. So your table settings and any decor should reflect that comfortable vibe.
It's OK to use casual dinnerware rather than your finest dishes. Each individual table setting could include a placemat, napkin, large soup bowl, small plate for bread or salad (or any other food besides the soup that you're serving), drinking glass, fork, knife, and soup spoon.
A simple seasonal floral arrangement would make a nice centerpiece. But a big basket of bread at the center of your table can be just as attractive. Candles also can enhance the warmth and comfort of the meal.
Planning the Menu
When choosing the menu for your soup party, be sure to provide some variety. Two or three courses of soup is typically a good number. This number will still be relatively easy for you to make, and it will allow your guests to have some fun experiencing different soups.
Moreover, it can be fun to select recipes from different types of cuisines to make it an international soup party. This will help to ensure that all of your guests (even those with finicky tastes) will find at least one soup that they truly enjoy.
Bread is a tried-and-true side dish for soup. You can save time and energy by purchasing fresh loaves of bread to accompany your meal. But if you're feeling ambitious, you also can make bread from scratch. If you own a bread machine, it's fairly quick to toss together the ingredients for a home-baked loaf before the machine does the rest of the work.
It also can be nice to add a fresh component to round out the menu with a simple salad. Keep your salad ingredients basic though, as you want your soups to be the star of the show. Still, you can easily make your own vinaigrette from scratch to give your salad a little extra pop if you want.
Soups for Thought
If you want to try a new soup recipe, here are some tasty options:
- Ribollita: This recipe for Italian bread soup should be made a day in advance for maximum flavor.
- French onion soup: Seemingly decadent, this onion soup is an inexpensive classic that appeals to many tastes.
- Avgolemono: This Greek chicken and rice soup with egg and lemon is a light yet satisfying twist on traditional chicken soup.
- Egg drop soup: This comforting soup is a simple combination of chicken broth and eggs.
- Tom yum kung: As long as you can find the specialty ingredients for this Thai spicy soup, it's easy to make; the result is a complex blend of flavors.
- Gazpacho: This Andalusian cold tomato soup is refreshing and healthy; it would be ideal as a first soup course because it's fairly light.
- Crockpot chicken noodle soup: This comforting classic chicken noodle soup recipe should appeal to most, if not all, of your guests.