Making soup - really good, praise-worthy soup - doesn't require a culinary degree or endless free time. It takes a little planning is all. And taking the time to build a homemade stock is best, but we give you some ideas to fudge that too in our time-saving tips.
"Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living. For soup can do more to lift the spirits and stimulate the appetite than any other dish." - Louis P. De Gouy, author of "The Soup Book," 1949.
Soup - such a simple word that conjures something different for everyone.
Steam rising in your face from a mug of tomato soup next to your mom's crusty grilled cheese, the perfect end to a day of sledding. A deep bowl of gazpacho made from veggies from your own backyard eaten on the patio on a summer's night with a glass of wine and fireflies. The comforting yet scalding hot sips of grandma's chicken and matzo ball soup while you sit propped up in bed, sick.
Soup can be so many adjectives: comforting, filling, rustic, elegant, soul-satisfying even. But few think it's easy. Instead, we imagine hours of shopping for the right ingredients followed by more hours of chopping and dicing followed by days of simmering and stewing. Oh, we're tired just talking about it.
But making soup - really good, praise-worthy soup - doesn't require a culinary degree or endless free time. It takes a little planning is all. And taking the time to build a homemade stock is best, but we give you some ideas to fudge that too in our time-saving tips.
Actually, let's break down some of the misconceptions you may have about making homemade soup:
- Takes too long.
Not really. In fact, you can overcook your soup so that the ingredients lose their color, texture and nutrients. In "The New Book of Soups," by The Culinary Institute of America, the writers advise tasting the soup frequently as it cooks.
"Taste the soup carefully once all the ingredients are properly cooked. You may find that you need a bit more salt and pepper, or you may want to add ingredients like lemon or lime juice, citrus zest, chopped fresh herbs or a dash of wine," they write.
Making homemade stock can be a little time-consuming, but it's also something that can be done ahead of time and frozen until you need it. Also, it really is worth the time investment as homemade broth adds such an amazing depth and richness.
- I'll mess it up
Soup, unlike some dishes, is very forgiving. Too much salt? You can water down the broth. Broth too watery? Add some more flavorings, like herbs and spices.
Find out you're missing some of the ingredients at the last minute? Some of the best soups are improvised with what's on hand.
- Canned is fine
This is a misconception held only by someone who has never tasted homemade. Try some of the recipes we've included from the book and see if this still holds true.
Jennifer Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.