This below is how to make soup.
It’s important to know how to make soup for many reasons. It’s delicious, sure, but more importantly (you know that if you are a regular reader of my blog) you can only lose weigh tor maintain an ideal weigh if you control what you eat. And cooking at home is the very best way to do just that.
By “soup” I mean making a homemade soup from scratch. At home. By yourself. Using the vegetables or ingredients you most likely already have in your fridge.
It’s actually easier than you think.
You see, that’s the important part. No need for recipes (although I do provide 3 below). YOU create the kind of soup YOU like, using the ingredients YOU prefer.
A soup only is a bunch of vegetables (almost any kind) that cook in stock/broth. You can stop cooking when the vegetables are al dente and tender, or let it cook for hours if you want to.
Nearly any vegetable can be turned into soup with a little time and effort. Let me show you the step-by-step formula to transforming nearly any kind of vegetable into delicious, nourishing, and healthy soup.
A homemade soup is the easiest way to warm up your kitchen on a cold day and to feed yourself and your family in one delicious and healthy bowl.
Blended soup or chunky soup?
First, we need to distinguish between the 2 (only 2!) kinds of soups you will ever find anywhere.
You see, all soups are either blended, or chunky. 2 different things. 2 slightly different techniques.
A blended soup is a soup in which you don’t see the ingredients. It’s smooth and pureed.
This works with any kind of soup, and you’ll be surprised at how creamy a soup can be with no dairy at all.
A chunky soup on the other hand is a soup in which you see most of the ingredients. It has bits and pieces, that are simmering in a broth of some kind.
Most chunky soup can become a blended soup. All you need is a hand blender.
And that’s important. As a side note, a hand blender is probably the number 1 tool you need to have in your kitchen. It blends soups and sauces, emulsify salad dressings, smoothen gravies, and the best part of all, the bottom part detaches and goes in the dishwasher, which is very convenient and simple.
What kind of vegetable should I use?
Nearly any vegetable you like will make a tasty soup. Sweet potato, zucchini, squash, turnip, tomato, celery, mushrooms, onions, leeks, cabbage, kale, and chard. Potatoes, rutabaga, celeriac, cauliflower, broccoli. These are just examples. The exhaustive list is much bigger, especially once we consider the combinations that are possible.
Note that consistency is important, especially for blended soups. For that reason, I usually choose to mix a “thick” vegetable (parsnip, carrot, beet, rutabaga, butternut squash) with a “watery” one (kale, spinach, tomato, zucchini).
How to add flavor to a soup?
Well, you have control over 4 elements:
- The main ingredient(s): That’s the vegetable(s) and/or meat you use in your soup. All vegetable and meat is tasty. But don’t add a ton of water or the flavor will dilute. Note that meat with bone (shanks, osso bucco, chicken legs) gives a lot of taste.
- The Aromatics: These are your spices, herbs and other aromatics. Use any spices you like but don’t get heavy handed. Simplicity is best.
Dry herbs you can add at the beginning. Fresh herbs at the very end.
Other aromatics include onions, shallots, ginger, etc…
- The stock/broth: Homemade is best. If you buy it, definitely choose no or low sodium. You can use any: vegetable, chicken, beef, bison…
- Salt and pepper: I can’t say it enough. You need to taste your soup at the end of the cooking process, and adjust salt and pepper. Don’t be afraid to salt; beginners usually under-salt their concoctions.
Practice makes perfect. Experience will tell you how to refine the details. So make more and more soups to be better and better at it.
Now, how to make soup?
Very simple. No recipe needed. All you need to do is to follow this simple formula for blended soup:
And this simple formula for chunky soup:
Where do I start?
Just go ahead and cut about a pound of vegetables into approximately 1 inch dice. Sauté the aromatics first (spices, herbs, and onions) in a little olive oil or coconut oil, keeping the heat to medium high. Then add the main vegetables/meats.
After the vegetables have softened a bit, add about 4 cups of stock, cover and simmer. Water can do if you don’t have stock.
Then just simmer for about an hour or until all the vegetables are soft. Puree the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender for a creamy soup, if you like.
That’s it. You have an easy, flavorful vegetable soup.
Watch the video and follow the foolproof “any vegetable” recipe below.
Here is a simple soup recipe that you can use for blended or chunky soup. Again, remember that the ingredients don’t really matter. You choose which ingredients to put in YOUR soup. What’s important is to follow the technique, which I just gave you above, and follow this simple instructions.
- 1 pound of any vegetables you like or a combo of vegetables and meat
- Aromatics such as onion, garlic, or leeks
- Olive oil or coconut oil
- Salt and pepper
- 4 cups of stock/broth/water
Cut up the vegetables into 1 inch dices, and dice aromatics if needed.
Heat extra-virgin olive oil into a Dutch oven over medium heat. Throw in the aromatics first, and sauté over medium heat for a couple of minutes, until fragrant and soft. Your aromatics can be onions, shallots, bacon, fresh singer, chili peppers, dry herbs, garlic, leeks, spices such as curry, chili powder, cumin, paprika, saffron, etc… or a combination.
Then add the diced vegetables and meat (if using). Add broth: Add 4 to 6 cups of broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer: Turn the heat down to low and cover the pot.
Let cook for about 30 minutes, then check the soup. If the vegetables are soft, you’re done. If you want a blended soup, keep cooking until they are very soft or falling apart.Taste and season: Whether you are leaving the vegetables intact or blending the soup, make sure to taste the soup as it finishes cooking.
If it is bland and/or too watery, reduce a bit (simmer down), adjust salt and pepper, and maybe a bit of lemon juice. If it is too salty and/or too thick, thin out with some extra stock/broth or milk/cream.When the soup is done, you can add to it: a bit of leftover cooked pasta, some bacon bits, some fresh herbs or strips of chicken.
Blend if desired: Once the vegetables are very soft, you can puree the soup in a blender or with a hand blender if you like.
Here also are two recipes I really like, and that you can see me demonstrate in the video above:
- 1 ½ pound carrots unpeeled and roughly chopped
- 1 onion roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 leaves sprig fresh tarragon
- 1 teaspoon chopped chives
- Salt and pepper to taste
Pour extra-virgin olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, fresh ginger, garlic, and salt; cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes.
Increase heat to high and then add carrots, stock, and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.
Process soup with a hand blender until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a sprinkle of chives and tarragon.
Pour extra-virgin olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Sauté’ onion and celery in olive oil until just tender, about 5 minutes.
Add chicken broth and stir in chicken, carrots, salt and pepper.
Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
Add pasta, basil, oregano, and simmer for another 10 minutes.
If you're following a Paleo or gluten-free diet, or are on Phase 1 of my weight loss program, leave the pasta out.
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