Fundamentals Of Soup

Soup might not be the sexiest meal out there, but when it’s the dead of winter, and your nose is runny and your home is cozy, a big old pot of soup is a pretty damn good option. So far this winter, I’ve already made a couple of outstanding soups if I do say so myself. Firstly, a Portuguese Kale Stew, with white beans, chorizo and kale, and a good old fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup (using stock that I made myself and a whole lot of parsnip, dill, and shallots for flavor). Talk about food for the soul.

Here’s the deal: soups are simultaneously extremely simple, and deceptively complex. More than anything, they usually require time and patience, which is what makes them such a good option for lazy winter days. Here are a few cardinal rules to live by when jumping into the wonderful world of winter soup!

1. Stick to one pot. Whether it’s browning meat, or sautéing vegetables, preparing all of your ingredients in one cooking receptacle means that you’re not going to lose any flavors along the way!

2. Pile on the aromatics. Onions, garlic, and plenty of fresh herbs will pack your soup full of flavor. Plus, fresh herbs will also add a stunning visual element!

3. Make your own stock. This might be time consuming, but it’s an absolutely worthwhile step. Utilizing bones from your previous night’s roast chicken dinner, throwing in parmesan rinds, or adding the last bit of a roast pork shoulder, to add dimension is a great way to make the most of your leftovers. Plus, there’s going to be far less sodium and far more nutritional value in a homemade stock than in a store-bought bouillon.

4. Don’t rush. It takes time for flavors to develop! So, don’t try to throw together a soup from scratch in thirty minutes and expect it to be any good. Allow yourself ample time for the mixture to simmer on the stove. Sometimes, I even prepare the soup a few hours ahead of time, and allow it to sit out at room temperature on the stove before reheating to eat. This way the flavors have time to get to know each other; creating a richer and more balanced final product!