Today's Special: Miami Recipes

It’s time for a soothing bowl of steaming soup

Corn, curry, and spiny lobster soup.
Corn, curry, and spiny lobster soup.

This time of the year puts me into the comfort-food mode. And nothing is more soothing than a steaming bowl of homemade soup on a cool February day.

A hearty soup, by itself or with a sandwich and salad, makes a complete dinner on a busy day. Assembling a whole meal in a bowl with simple ingredients, such as beans, sautéed onions, a handful of lentils, chopped vegetables and fresh herbs can be very satisfying. It’s a myth that rich-flavored soups from scratch are time-consuming. Once you get the soup started and throw everything into the pot you can go about your other activities until it’s ready.

Mix and match ingredients based on what’s on hand in your refrigerator and pantry — leftover cut-up cooked chicken, beef, or turkey, beans, noodles, rice, vegetables, and herbs are all good soup additions.

Buy the best broth you can (Zoup brand available at Fresh Market is excellent), or better yet, make your own for a rich, full-flavored soup. Replace part of the broth with heavy cream, coconut milk, chopped tomatoes and their juices, or bean broth.

Soups are part of cuisines from around the world whether it’s Mexican tortilla soup, Vietnamese pho, Russian borscht or American chowder. Covered in the refrigerator, most soups will last for up to five days, but they also can be frozen for up to two months. Just bring back to boiling before serving.

Carole Kotkin is manager of the Ocean Reef Club cooking school and co-host of Food & Wine Talk on

Corn, curry, and spiny lobster soup

Star-chef Norman Van Aken has returned to his South Florida roots with the opening of Three Restaurant and No. 3 Social Rooftop Bar & Lounge in the Wynwood Arcade. This recipe is adapted from “My Key West Kitchen” by Norman and Justin van Aken, Kyle Books ($29.95) This soup is exceptional served either hot or cold. Add a green salad, crusty bread and a McBride Sister 2016 Chardonnay from California’s Central Coast ($16.99) and call friends to the table.

Serves 6

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 leeks, white part only, diced

2 tablespoons curry powder

4 cups fresh corn kernels, cut off the cobs (about 4 ears)

1 ½ cups apple juice

3 cups Chicken Stock, either homemade or low sodium canned

Bouquet garni of ½ teaspoon coriander seeds, 5 black peppercorns and 6 stems cilantro with leaves, tied in cheesecloth

1½ cups heavy cream

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

2 squirts of Tabasco sauce (optional)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 to 1½ cups of half and half

Sour cream, for garnish

Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, cover, and sweat until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the curry and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the apple juice and reduce by three-quarters. Add the corn, chicken stock and bouquet garni. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

Add ½ cup of the heavy cream. Stir and remove the pot from the heat. Add the coconut milk and set aside for 30 minutes for flavors to steep.

Remove and discard the bouquet garni. In batches, purée the soup in a blender, or alternatively use a stick blender. Stir in the remaining 1 cup heavy cream and Tabasco, if using. Strain through a large-holed sieve into a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Note: If serving cold, chill thoroughly in the refrigerator. (The soup may be very thick at this point.) Stir in the half-and-half to the desired consistency and set aside.


2 pounds spiny lobster meat (or shrimp), shelled and cut into bite-sized pieces

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons pure olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a nonstick sauté pan and heat the oil. Add the lobster meat or shrimp and cook over low heat until cooked through. Set aside some of the seafood for the garnish. Transfer remaining seafood to the soup and taste to adjust seasoning. Serve garnished with sour cream, slices of apple, and reserved seafood.

Note: If serving cold, transfer seafood to a plate and set aside to cool. Add cooled seafood to the soup and taste to adjust the seasoning.