Homemade soup is a thing of beauty. There is nothing more homey and satisfying as sitting down to a steaming bowl of soup that I made myself.
Benefits of Making Homemade
- It is much less expensive than store bought
- It is a great way to control the ingredients and flavours
- Homemade soups freeze really well
So many people have trouble making soup though. I used to be the same way and I avoided soup recipes at all costs.
That was before I understood what the key is to making excellent soup: layering flavours!
We have created a graphic that shows how to create your own customized soups.
When you read over the graphic, you will notice a few things:
- The “Base” (the liquid) is not actually added until the vegetables and spices have all been cooked. This prevents the vegetables from becoming flavourless and mushy.
- There are two very distinct flavour inserts (Step 2 – Saute Your Aromatics, and Step 6 – Add Herbs and Spices). This is part of the layering process.
In reality, all of the steps are meant to add flavour.
One great question that comes up when using this technique is:
How can you cook vegetables when there is no liquid in the pot?
This is possible because the vegetables are “Sauteed”. Sauteing requires a high heat and a small amount of oil. Oil is added at the beginning when cooking down the “aromatics”. This should provide enough oil to cook bite-sized vegetables used in a soup.
If a tad more oil is needed to cook the vegetables, go ahead and add some. Soup is very forgiving.
Deglaze the Pot
Before adding stock to your soup, it is a good idea to deglaze the pan. This just means using an acid to pull the bits off the bottom and releasing this flavour into the soup. This also prevents the bits from burning on the bottom of the pot.
Choose an acid that matches your soup. For example:
- If making a light soup such as chicken noodle, use an acid like apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar
- If making a richer, dark soup such as beef stew, use a deeper acid such as balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
Simply add the acid to the pot (about 3 tablespoons) and whisk until all the bits release from the bottom of the pan
Keep in mind that all rules can be broken, and this is a general guide to help you see what is happening when making soup. All of the ingredients are limited suggestions meant to provide a starting point. Feel free to add or eliminate any of the ingredients.
The most important thing is to understand the basic premise and learn how to expand on it.
We encourage everyone to put aside their hesitation and start from square one learning to make their own soup. Start with very basic soup and focus on the flavours. Then branch out and explore new and interesting flavours and ways to combine them.
Our White Bean and Ham Soup is an excellent recipe that follows these steps.
The only change made was the point at which the cooked white beans were added. We opted to add the beans AFTER the carrots, because carrots take much longer to cook than it takes to reheat beans.
Soup Generator Steps
Step 1: Heat your Oil: Olive Oil, Vegetable Oil, Bacon Fat, Coconut Oil
Step 2: Saute your Aromatics: Minced Ginger, Minced Garlic, Diced Onion, Sliced Leek, Diced Shallot, Diced Carrots, Sliced Celery, Minced Chilis, Diced Bell Peppers, Cubed Meat
Step 3: Sear or Saute your Protein: Chicken, Pork, Beef, Beans, Tofu
Step 4: Saute your Additional Vegetables: Carrot, Potato, Peas, Corn, Celery, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Green Beans, Bell Peppers
Step 5: Add your Base: Chicken/Beef/Vegetable Stock, Vegetable Puree, Water
Step 6: Add your Herbs and Spices: Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, Cayenne, Paprika, Cumin
- When addition “Additional Vegetables”, think about the time needed for each. Add longer cooking vegetables first
- If using commercial stock, check the salt content before adding additional salt
- Do not add cold milk or cream to a hot soup or it will curdle. Warm it first. Also, add milk or cream at the “Simmer Stage”, not the “Boil Stage”
- For pureed soups: Allow the soup to cool and then put it in a blender or processor