Anatomy of a Good Soup
A piping hot bowl of flavorful soup can fill your body and soul with happiness, if it’s made well that is. Now, we know what you’re probably thinking: ‘I have cans of Campbell’s in my cupboard, isn’t that good enough?!’ Well, no, it’s not, and good news for you, we’ve rounded up some easy and delicious recipes from foodlife that will take your soup skills up five notches.
We chatted with Chef John Chiakulas who gave some tips and tricks on crafting the perfect soup.
What are some key ingredients that go into making a good soup?
The three basic ingredients are carrots, celery and onions. They are universal staples in most soups. Sauté the onions first to a light, golden color.
Are there any important tricks that readers will want to know to ensure their soup is flawless?
Don’t cook the soup too much as it will eventually boil away the flavor. Be sure to keep it covered the whole time, otherwise the steam will release and that’s where all the love and flavor is!
If the soup is cream based, be sure to add the cream at the end. This way, it will hold better.
When making a barley, lentil or pasta soup, undercook it, because as you boil the soup, the grain will keep getting softer.
Make homemade stock a day before or hours in advance, since it’s important to let the stock ‘rest’ and be strained before the actual soup is being made.
What about a more classic chicken soup?
If you are making chicken soup, you can leave a tiny bit of chicken fat for extra flavor. Make sure to triple clean the meat to ensure that there are no bones, skin or large amounts of fat.
Sounds easy enough. Anything else?
Always use a pot that is oversized vs. undersized. And remember, soup should be comforting and filled with flavors that you know and love.
So there you have it! A steaming pot of soup is just what everyone needs on a winter day, so whip one up and enjoy!
Tomato Bisque Soup
- 1 ¾ lbs.yellow onions
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. basil
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper
- ¾ oz. chopped garlic
- 2 oz. chicken base
- ¼ cup dry sherry
- ¼ cup red vinegar
- 8 cups whole canned tomatoes
- 4 cup roma tomatoes diced
- ½ cup tomato paste
- 3 cup water
- 1¼qt.whipping cream
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 3 oz. brown sugar
- 3 oz. corn starch
- 2½ oz. water
- 1 oz. *basil chiffonade – 1 oz.
- Saute onions, basil and chili flakes in olive oil until tender and slightly caramelized.
- Add garlic and chicken base.
- Cook an additional 3 minutes.
- Add sherry and vinegar, reduce by half.
- Add canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, tomato paste and water.
Mediterranean Lentil Soup
- 2 tbsp. light olive oil
- ¾ lb. spanish onions
- ½ lb.carrots
- ½ lb. celery
- ½ tbsp.fresh garlic
- ¼ tsp.thyme leaves
- 1 pinch crushed chile flakes
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- ¾ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 ea. bay leaves
- 2 cups – can plum tomatoes
- 3 oz. vegetable base
- 6 cups water
- ¾ lb. lentils
- ¼ cup fresh spinach
- In large soup pot, saute onions with olive oil over high heat until light golden in color.
- Add carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper and chiles and cook over high heat.
- Saute and lightly brown all vegetables and spices for 7-8 minutes.
- Add vinegar and bay leaves.
- Boil to reduce vinegar.
- Add tomatoes, water and vegetable base and bring all to a boil.
- Simmer for 18-20 minutes.
- Add lentils.
Chicken and Kale Soup
- ½ gal. light chicken stock
- 1½ lbs. chicken breast
- 2 tbsp. house olive oil blend
- 2 cups spanish onions
- ½ tsp. fresh garlic
- ½ tsp. kosher salt & pepper mix
- ½ tsp. fresh rosemary – chopped
- 1 tbsp. fresh basil – chopped
- 2 cups carrots
- 1 cup celery
- 12 cups water
- 2 oz. chicken base
- 1 lb. fresh kale – chopped
- In a separate pot, bring chicken stock to a boil and cook chicken fully.
- Cool down, clean and chop half of the chicken into ¾ inch dice, set aside.
- In a large, heavy bottom pot, add onions, oil, garlic, thyme and 2 tablespoons of salt and pepper mix.
- Cook over high heat until onions are golden brown in color.
- Add fresh basil, rosemary, carrots and celery.
- Cook until light golden and tender.
- Add water, chicken base and chicken cooking liquid and bring to a boil.
- Simmer for 15-20 minutes, and add chopped kale, chicken.
- Bring to a boil.
- Service immediately or chill to 40 degrees or colder.