tips for making soup

Here is an easy way to make your own homemade chicken broth

How to make vegetable broth

Avoiding too much or too little salt

The best time to salt  your soup is in the beginning when you are saute the vegetables.  Adding salt at this step will help enhance the flavors of the soup.  After you add your stock, remember that it is going to need more salt, but wait until almost ready to serve to add the salt.  Your soup is going to boil down and become concentrated so we don’t want to over salt it.  Before you serve it, add some salt and taste it.  Adding salt to taste, usually 1-2 teaspoons is all that is needed.

Okay what about if I taste it and it is WAY TOO SALTY?  No need to panic, just add a few extra cups of liquid (broth or water).  You can also add a potato or two chopped up, to help absorb the salt.  Adding some rice or noodles will also help fix this issue.

Ways to thicken soup:

What are some ways to help “thicken” the soup that I made:

  1. Cream.  Whether you use a few tablespoons or a few cups, cream gives soup a silky mouth feel and rich flavor.
  2. Puree part of the soup.  Blend just a cup or two of your soup with a stick blender or in a food processor — not the whole batch, though. You just want to add a little body, but still keep the chunky goodness.
  3. Stale bread.  Letting a few pieces soak in some of the broth and then pureeing it, will help add thickener.
  4. Plain yogurt or sour cream will help add a slight thickener as in cream without the heavy calories.  Remember don’t boil your soup after you add this as it will cause it to separate.
  5. Kneading butter and flour into a thick paste and then whisking it into the soup, will make it thicker.
  6. Flour, cornstarch, or any other starch whisked into a small amount of liquid before hand and then added to the soup will help it become thicker.
  7. Baby rice cereal.  Yes you read that correctly, if you have leftover baby rice cereal you can add it and not even notice the difference in flavor.
  8. Instant mashed potato flakes.  This is our favorite way to thicken soups and add some flavor.

How to freeze leftover soup

If you make a batch of soup and it seems to last for a long time, you can freeze some into individual portions.  Ladle the soup into muffin tins and freeze.  Once frozen, take out and let sit for a moment.  Pop them out and put them into resealable plastic bags.

You can also ladle them into quart freezer bags.  Lay them flat in the freezer to freeze solid.  Then you can stack them nicely to have stored until use.

Use canning jars. Ladle the desired soup into quart or pint jars and freeze.  Make sure to not fill to the very top as the soup will expand when frozen.  Fill to about an inch below the lid.  You can take these out the night before and have an easy meal to take to lunch the next day.

Serving and eating soup:

  1. Soup dishes are always deep.
  2. Soup plates are used for dinner soup.
  3. Soup bowls and cups are used for luncheon soups.
  4. Set soup dishes on a plate slightly larger than the soup dish.
  5. A soup spoon is smaller that a tablespoon and larger that a teaspoon.
  6. Bouillon spoons are small round-bowled spoons.
  7. In using a soup spoon, dip the spoon away from you. Take the soup silently with the lips from the side of the spoon and not the tip.
  8. Do not leave spoon in soup dish. When not using it, place on the plate.
  9. When soup is served in a bouillon cup it is customary to take a few spoonfuls and then it is permissible to set the spoon on the plate, and drink the remainder of the soup from the cup.
  10. It is permissible to put two or three pieces of crackers or toast on top of soup. NEVER crumble crackers or toast in your soup and then stir it.

Things to serve with soup

  1. Croutons – use dry bread if possible. Spread with butter, cut in cubes, place in pan and toast in broiling oven until delicately browned. These may be put in soup at time of serving or passed in a separate dish.
  2. Cheese Paprika Toast – Sprinkle various shapes of toasted bread with grated American cheese and paprika. Put in a pan and place in broiling oven until cheese melts.
  3. Savory Crackers – Spread crackers with softened butter or margarine; sprinkle with paprika, onion salt or celery seeds.Place in a pan and heat in a moderate oven.
  4. Chive Squares – Add chopped chives or grated onion to softened butter or margarine. Spread on crackers and heat in a moderate oven.

Garnishes for soup

  1. Croutons – both as a garnish and accompaniment.
  2. Grated cheese – sprinkle over top of soup.
  3. Thin slices of frankfurters – float on top of soup.
  4. Bits of crisp bacon – sprinkle over top of soup.
  5. Parsley, chives, or watercress – cut very finely and sprinkle over top of soup.

Remember the healthiest things to make are in their most natural form or state.  For example:  an apple is better for you than applesauce.  Homemade bread is better for you than store bought bread.  The reason is because you have to “process” them to make the product.  You lose some of the nutrients within them.

When making soup and the recipe calls for chicken broth or bouillon what should you do?

Option 1: Remember to make your own chicken broth is healthiest.  How do you do that you may ask?  I have a recipe on my blog here but basically you take the bones and some leftover meat and fat pieces from a chicken and you boil it down.  This gets all the nutrients out of the bones and you get a pure healthy natural broth.  When you make your own chicken broth….after you let it sit for awhile it will accumulate a layer of fat near the top. This is just part of the natural process.  If you let it cool,you can easily scoop off the fat from the top.

Option 2: you can also purchase canned chicken broth.  This is done in a factory and is the same concept as the first option. But again, it is processed just not as much as the next option.

Option 3:  Chicken bouillon cubes or powder.  This you purchase and mix with water to create a chicken broth.  It is the least healthy of the three options.  If you look at the ingredients on a container, you will see what they add to it.

When cooking meat for soup always make it beforehand.  This will ensure that you have properly cooked all the meat to avoid any type of contamination.