Soup people always win
Easy to make, endlessly versatile, and perfect for sharing
There are two types of people in this world: soup people and non-soup people. Soup people will share their favourite recipes, ideas and tips. Non-soup people will give you their portion. Either way, soup people win.
In what I refuse to believe is a coincidence, there are also two types of soup. Clear soups and puréed soups. And no, I will not give you my portion. studded with bite-sized ingredients. They can be light and refreshing, like classic Chicken Noodle, or rich and hearty like French Onion. They go from pot to bowl with nothing more than a ladle. thanks to a blender, cream, or both. You can purée the soup to a uniform smoothness or leave some ingredients unblended Cream of Mushroom.
No matter which style you prefer, soup is easy to make, endlessly versatile, and perfect for sharing with other soup people.
Most soups taste the better next day possible, make a double batch and freeze the leftovers. Regardless of how much soup you plan to make, start with a large saucepan. Go big. A wide pan will simmer more quickly, while the larger surface area allows some of the stock to evaporate, concentrating flavours.
Create a base: Sauté your aromatics in oil, or oil and butter. These include onions, garlic, shallots, carrots and celery. If you’re cooking meat for the soup, brown the meat first, remove it, then cook the aromatics in the residual fat.
Bring on the broth: Most soups use chicken, beef or vegetable broth, but don’t limit yourself. Include the juice of tinned tomatoes, a bottle of beer or even plain old water.
Wine or juice add brightness, but use sparingly or they will overwhelm the other flavours.
Slowly simmer: Once your liquid of choice is added, bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered. Add uncooked items like noodles, rice, dried beans, or raw or frozen vegetables at this stage. made with dried beans cook more evenly and lose less liquid if the pot is partially covered.
Adjust the seasoning: Most soups can benefit from a bit of salt or acid, such as vinegar or lemon juice. For added flavour, try soy sauce, fish sauce, miso or Worcestershire sauce.
Add the latecomers: To avoid overcooking, add precooked meat, tender vegetables such as spinach, and fresh herbs at the very end, cooking only long enough to heat through. Dairy should be added at the last minute for chowders or after puréeing for smooth soups.
Finish with garnish: This can be as simple as a grinding of black pepper or as suits the flavour of the soup.
Go beyond croutons. Try bacon, cheese, fresh herbs, guacamole, sour cream, plain yogurt, pesto, toasted nuts or spiced pumpkin seeds.
For convenience, purée the soup right in the pot with an immersion blender. This reduces cleanup and the possibility of splashing. While it won’t produce a silky finish, it will create a rustically puréed soup perfect for most occasions.
For a velvety soup, you’ll need a standard counter-top blender, not a food processor. To avoid getting scalded, work in batches, filling the blender only half full. After securing the lid, remove the plug to release the steam, cover with a tea towel and blend, starting on the lowest setting and slowly increasing the speed.
For a restaurant-quality finish, strain the soup through a sieve. If adding cream or milk, gently reheat the soup, being careful not to boil since the dairy could curdle.
If the soup is too thin, simmer longer to reduce the stock. Alternatively, add some soaked dried beans, uncooked noodles, rice or raw potato pieces to absorb some of the excess liquid.
Alternatively, if the soup is too thick, thin it with any liquid that will suit the soup — cream, milk or evaporated milk for cream soups, and stock or water for clear soups.
TO FREEZE OR NOT TO FREEZE
Most soups freeze beautifully. However, dairy- and potato-based soups, as well as those thickened with cornstarch or eggs should not be frozen. Their textures can change, or the soup can separate when reheated.
For best results, don’t add pasta or fresh herbs before freezing. The pasta will be mushy, and the herbs will not retain their bright flavour. Instead, add them when reheating the frozen soup.
For fast defrosting and reheating, freeze soup in single-serving portions, about 1½ to 2 cups per person.