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Enjoy National Soup Month at Chicago joints - and help the hungry

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I love soups. I make them all the time at home and am constantly trolling the web for new recipes that use all the fresh vegetables I was getting from my CSA and now get from my dear friends, Peapod grocery delivery. One of my favorite discoveries lately is a way to gently poach chicken pieces that ends up also producing a big pot of delicious, incredibly nutritious chicken stock. Don't you love cooking once and eating all week from it?

And of course it's really fun trying new soups in good restaurants. So since January is National Soup Month (click for Tribune photos of some great soups), here are a few places you can get some creative soup ideas and, in some cases, get a deal for helping the hungry by donating a canned or boxed food item.

Delish Diner in Wicker Park invites you to donate a canned soup or other non-perishable food item and get 20 percent off your bill (one per person). Donations go to a local food pantry. Through Friday, January 31.

The same type of donation at either of Kanela Cafe's two locations (Lakeview and Old Town) gets you a complimentary order of Kanela's signature Loukoumades (Greek doughnut, lemon honey syrup and toasted walnuts - num, see photo). Not valid with any other offer or promotion; one per person. Through Friday, January 31.

Riva Crab House on Navy Pier has some mouth-watering soups this January. Just for the soup celebration, try the chef's Crab Gumbo creation made with blue crab, okra and fin fish ($7). Among the regular soup items are Riva Clam Chowder (New England style, fresh clam meat; $6 lunch and $8 dinner) and Lobster Corn Bisque (sherry, brandy, Maine lobster; $7 lunch and $9 dinner - OMG, see photo - I'm salivating).

And check this out. You've heard of wine flights and Scotch flights. Now Municipal Bar + Dining Company is offering soup flights! $8 soup flights. Their new Executive Chef Donald Penza has created a soup flight featuring three 4-ounce cups of soup ($8). Pick from chicken and wild rice, pozole, tortilla soup, cheesy broccoli, French onion, roasted tomato, roasted garlic and butternut squash. What fun to be able to try several!

Enjoy.

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