Soup Season: The Beauty of a Simple Bowl of Soup
It’s our time of year, soup lovers.
By Teresa Laurenzo
I come from a long line of soup makers, mom and dad, aunts and grandmothers — all well-accomplished and practiced soup makers. So, my love of soup started early in life, and now I get excited to start making soup once the weather turns cool. Yes, I know there are great summer soups to try (who doesn’t love a good gazpacho?), but it must be the anticipation of a warm and comforting soup that makes me want to dive into a hot bowl on a chilly day, along with the memories of those that taught me their skills.
How to Make Soup Without a Recipe
By this time in my life, I can put a quick soup together without a recipe. The basics are called basics for a reason. When I crave a simple chicken and veggie soup, there are chopped carrots, onion, and celery, called mirepoix, to sweat in the soup pot. I usually add chopped bell peppers at this stage as well. At this point, I’ve learned to add the dry seasonings, plus a couple of bay leaves, so those flavors can get a little toasty and add even more of their essence. Add the minced garlic almost at the end of this stage, so the garlic releases flavor, but doesn’t brown and turn bitter.
Once the mirepoix is softened, add diced zucchini and tomatoes and any beans, like cannellini or chopped fresh green beans, along with chicken broth. Stir and scrape up any fond that’s left in the bottom of the pot — even more flavor! Simmer until the veggies are softened, then add your precooked chicken, either diced or shredded, and heat through. Be sure and check the spice level before serving, and make any adjustments. Now you have a tasty warm chicken soup in under 30 minutes. If you’re a pasta lover, add some cooked mini farfalle to each bowl, and don’t forget the Parmesan or Asiago to shred on top.
It’s easy to convert this basic method and give it a twist for Italian sausage soup, pasta e fagiole, or even meatball soup. But, when I want to try something different and follow a great recipe, I always learn something new, a method or technique that can apply to the overall soup making experience.
A SOUP REVELATION
Many years ago, I took notice of Cuisine at Home for the first time when a friend recommended the Cuisine publication Splendid Soups & Spectacular Sides, one of the best soup cookbooks out there in my estimation. I remember leafing through this cookbook and wanting to try every single one of the recipes. And I have made most of them.
The hands-down favorite in my family has to be the Cheeseburger Soup. What a great idea! Preparing this cheesy, beefy soup with mustard, ketchup, and pickles was mind-blowing to me at the time. This soup was a revelation to break out of the traditional mold and experiment with fun and playful ingredients. Admittedly, it changed my soup-making and cooking viewpoint forever.
My challenge to you is to make a new and different soup this season. It might just change your culinary perspective.
SOUPS TO TRY
- Try this 5-star Cheeseburger Soup
- Make this Chicken-Vegetable Soup with ranch and dill
- Try this tasty Lasagna Soup
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