Soup Hints and Tips
by Amy Hunt
Making homemade soup can be as easy or difficult as you choose to make it; for me the easier the better. The following tips on soup making come from the Home Cooking section at about.com. I took special note on adding a potato to cure over salted soup (I can get carried away).
• The best soups are made with a base of homemade stock and fresh ingredients. Obviously this can be a time-consuming endeavor. You can reduce your time in the kitchen by using canned or frozen broths or bouillon bases. Even so, plan on taking your time with a good soup or stew.
• Fresh ingredients are best, but some canned or frozen vegetables will work well, such as peas, green beans and corn.
• A hot soup will help recondition the palate between meal courses or after consumption of alcholic beverages.
• Ideally, cold soups should be served in chilled dishes.
• If the soup is not intended as the main course, you can count on one quart to serve six; as a main dish, plan on two servings per quart.
• Since liquids boil at a lower temperature at high altitudes, you may need to extend recipe cooking times at altitudes above 2500 feet.
• To reduce the fat content, make the soup the day before, chill and scrape off the fat that rises to the top. If you don't have time to chill the soup, use an unprinted paper towel to soak up oil from the surface.
• Savory soups and stews always taste better if made a day or two in advance and reheated just before serving.
• Check seasonings of cold soups just before serving as chilled foods tend to dull the taste buds and will need more seasoning than hot soups.
• If your hot soup ends up slightly salty, add a whole, peeled potato to the soup and simmer for about 15 minutes to absorb salt. Remove the potato and serve. (Save the potato for the cook's treat!)
• Be aware that herbs will have a more intense flavor if added at the end of the long cooking process.
• Wine is a great flavor addition to soups and stews. When using wine or alcohol in soup, use less salt as the wine tends to intensify saltiness. Wine should be added at a ratio of no more than 1/4 cup of wine to 1 quart of soup.
Other helpful soup tips from Growlies for Groups:
- To make meat or some vegetable stocks, roast the vegetables and or bones in some olive oil in an open pan in the oven, and then add all of them and the roasting pan bits to the broth along with some fresh herbs and spices. Simmer, then stain out the chunks before using the broth to make the rest of the soup.
- Fresh chopped parsley added in the last few minutes of cooking adds a wonderful fresh flavor to soups and stews.
- Precook your pasta before adding it to the soup. It doesn't bring all the starch with it and can be added last so it doesn't get overcooked. You can even use leftover pasta that you have stored in the fridge.
- Add the vegetables to your soup in the order of the time it takes to cook them. Carrots, onions and potatoes first, zucchini, fresh corn frozen peas, etc. during the last 10 minutes.
- Try making soups with 'everything' in them, potatoes, barley, beans, lentils, rice, pasta, an d lots of veggies too. (Barley needs about 1 1/2 hr. to cook)
- To make a cream soup without all the cream, for each qt. of cold water add 1/2 can of evaporated milk and approx. 2 c. of powdered milk. Do not boil; cook this type of soup in a double boiler.
- Don't forget a dash or garlic, this is the 'vanilla' of soup making.
- A pinch of red pepper flakes makes a wonderful addition to most soups.
- Freeze your soups in serving size jars, pails etc. to be ready as needed.
- To make a good base for your soup, you can use any of the following: canned soups, such as tomato or mushroom or cream of chicken canned tomatoes or tomato juice, canned chicken broth, homemade stocks, commercial soup bases, oxo type cubes or powders, the addition of some bacon, clam or seafood broth
* DVO welcomes your kitchen hints and cooking or nutrition questions! Email us and we'll post your hints and Q/A's in upcoming newsletters! *