Our family is addicted to soup, any time of the year. Yet many soups, especially bean and legume varieties, take some advance planning to prepare. Any bit of time savings helps (so does setting up the soup in a slow cooker!), especially for weekday dinners.
The format for preparing most soups is to start with base ingredients like a mirepoix of onions, celery, and carrots or other vegetables, sauteing those to soften, adding spices and herbs, then the beans/vegetables/starch, water/broth and bringing the entire thing to a boil before turning the heat down to a simmer. Lately, I’ve found myself getting impatient with that last part.
So I’ve gotten into a habit of boiling water in a tea kettle alongside the soup, then pouring it over the starting ingredients. The soup will come to boil in a matter of seconds, rather than many minutes, at which point you lower the heat and simmer away. The same approach works if you are using broth – heat it in a separate pot. It may be one more pot to wash, but in return, you get right down to cooking the soup, not wasting time waiting for the proverbial water to boil.
Here are a few soup ideas to try out, and “soupy” polenta too: