It’s winter and it’s cold. January was National Soup Month, but there’s still plenty of winter left to warm up from the inside out with a delicious bowl of soup.

The fact that there are more recipes for soup then there are paint swatches at the hardware store means one should never tire of soup. A pot of soup can come together quickly, often tastes even better the second day and many recipes can be successfully frozen to enjoy at a later time.

My favorite soup is anything thick and creamy. When making a creamy soup, there are several alternatives to reach that creamy status. Thanks to thekitchn.com for sharing several of those alternatives:

• Adding cream is the most obvious way to get a creamy soup. It gives a silky mouthfeel and rich flavor. Milk and other dairy products also work, but the taste will get less creamy as you go down in fat percent.

• Puree a cup or two of the soup with a stick blender or in a food processor and add it back to the original soup. It will add body but still keep the chunky goodness.

• Add a few slices of stale bread to the soup. First, tear the bread into pieces and let them soak in a cup or two of the hot soup before pureeing and stirring back into the main pot.

• Plain yogurt works a lot like cream, but with a lighter result when added to certain soups. It also adds a tangy flavor.

• Ground nuts were actually one of the first thickeners used in soups and sauces, historically. Grind a handful of nuts until they have completely crumbled and are just verging on becoming a paste. In a small bowl, whisk the nuts together with some of the soup broth and then whisk it into the main soup. Cashews are especially tasty.

• Make a beurre manie. Don’t let the fancy words scare you. Simply knead equal parts butter and flour into a thick paste, and then whisk it into the soup until completely dissolved. Adding beurre manie is like making a reverse-roux. It will thicken soup in a similar way.

• Add flour, cornstarch or other starches. Starches thicken soup and give it body. Whisk a few tablespoons of starch into a little of the broth in a separate bowl before whisking it all into the main pot. This prevents the starch from clumping and helps it dissolve into the soup evenly.

• Coconut milk is another thickening option. A quarter cup will add creaminess without drastically changing the flavor. Just add a bit more to get a subtle coconut flavor.

If you have a favorite soup recipe, please share it with me. We have a lot of winter left, and I would love to share another round of favorite soup recipes.

Janelle Thomas can be reached at janellethomas@charter.net.