Homemade Hearty Soup – Preparing good soups, even hearty soup recipes, is so easy that it should be featured as one of the first lessons in cooking along with the perfect hard boiled egg and your basic white sauce.
Not only are soups some of the most nutritious, healthy and inexpensive foods, there are so many variations that you could feature soup on the menu for a month and never have the same soup twice.
From the rich clear broth of a bouillon to the transparent, broth based Wonton soup with a few dumplings to the many levels of consistency, color and ingredients, to the hearty soups recipes which contain enough meat, fish and vegetables to qualify as a meal in themselves.
The French Pot-Au-Feu (literally a “pot on the fire”) used to be the main source of food in the diet of the French peasants of long ago.
Soup & Comfort: A Cookbook of
Homemade Recipes to Warm the SoulTo the soup pot was added every type of nutritious food. The slow cooking over a low fire extracted all the juices and flavors of the food and created a savory meal sure to satisfy any hunger.
In this modern day and age, we do not have the traditional stock-pot on every range, with its steaming contents ever ready to be ladled out, not just for soup but for sauces as well. Who among us has time to watch over a stock pot for hours?
Get out your crock pot or slow cooker. There is no better kitchen appliance to create any rich soup stock. Ours gets a serious workout after Thanksgiving making soups of all kinds beginning with “leftover” turkey wing soup.
The first time I made the soup, it only included the wings. Now the entire carcass makes into the pot.
Today, we rely on cartons or cans of ready made stock to flavor our dishes and make the base of our comforting soups. It is nice to see that they are now available in everything from lamb broth for a savory stew to seafood stock for a quick chowder. Some are even flavored with white wine and herbs!
Also nice is the fact that they come in various sizes. Bouillon cubes come in a variety of flavors from vegetables to shellfish, vegetable, chicken, beef, ham and pork.
Beware of the sodium content in ready made stocks. Canned soups are notorious in their salt laden content but the same goes for the these cartons.
I personally find it amusing that they range from 440 mg of sodium for the regular stock to 70 mg for the low sodium version and 130 mg for the unsalted stock.
Brown stock is made from beef, or a combination of beef, veal, chicken, and mixed vegetables. Our after-Thanksgiving turkey soup produces as a brown stock due to the spices and grilled skin of the roast poultry.
White stock is made from a combination of veal and chicken, or from veal alone, seasoned with onion, celery, white pepper, and salt. The idea is not to use any ingredients which would give color to the stock.
Veal is one of the priciest cuts of meat at the supermarket but every so often you can find, veal shoulder chops at a good price. We also make our turkey soup with fresh turkey pieces which results in a white stock.
Beef round, shin bones (the gelatine in bones will cause the stock to jelly when cold), neck pieces, veal knuckles and poultry. You can’t find all of these meats at a regular supermarket but butcher shops do have them!
Stick with the tried and true.
Soup vegetables include onions, carrots, turnips, parsnips and celery but minestrone is ideal for using just about any veggie you have in your ‘fridge or pantry.
Cut them in small pieces. Once the soup is cooked, you can scoop out a portion of the vegetables and cream them before adding back to the stock.
Voilà! Creamed soup without the added calories. Although, there is a place and time for adding real cream to your soup.
Pulke Herb infuser Kitchen Home Cooking Funky Design Gift OTOTOPlace any herbs and spices in a tightly wrapped mini bag made of cheesecloth or use this handy little silicone drumstick shaped herb infuser for soups. It cleans up in the dishwasher and you will find yourself using it for stews as well.
Create a “bouquet garni” with parsley, peppercorns, bay-leaves and other herbs. It is easy to remove from the finished soup stock. Or…add regular spices and later simply drain the stick through a cloth lined sieve. How many of us have a garnished “bouquet” ready to plop down in the soup broth?
Use one quart of cold water to a pound of meat.
For a total of four quarts of water, use 1 each of medium sized vegetables of your choice, two stalks of celery tops with leaves (I prefer using the leaves to the sticks because the are not stringy), and an herb bouquet containing parsley with leaves, one bay-leaf, twelve peppercorns, and one sprig of fresh thyme.
Check out our selection of homemade hearty soup recipes include:
Post Thanksgiving Dinner Turkey Wing Soup
Our favorite Chinese Cabbage Soup recipe
Cooking a frugal, quick and Easy Minestrone
Our “doctored” version of canned Mushroom Soup
My version of a famous Baked Potato Soup
Dad’s favorite Philadelphia Pepper Pot soup recipe
Dad’s other favorite – Rich Oxtail Soup
My Grandmère’s Leek and Potato Soup
Hearty Homemade Chicken Soup