No Fail, Easy & Quick Soup
Contributed by: The Maitre D
In keeping with our theme of " it doesn't have to
be complicated to be good" we offer our
approach to no fail, easy & quick soup making.
We're not going to give you a specific recipe but rather invite you to discover the joy of inventing your own unique and delicious meal.
But we need to understand a few basics first,
that we can build on later.
Our soup is always built around some good,
fresh stock. We prefer chicken but beef or lamb
stock can be used also. Then we add some
meat, vegetables, spices, tomato sauce, some
seasoning and some pasta or grain such as rice
or barley. You mix it all together, bring it to a
boil and simmer for a while, and voila, you've
got the best soup in the world because it's your
very own creation.
First the stock. While you can use canned
stock or prepare it from bouillon cubes we
always prefer fresh stock and it's surprising
how easy it is to prepare. The next time you
cook a meal with chicken, instead of using
deboned breasts, why not cook a whole
chicken. After your meal place the chicken
carcass in a large pot, cover with water, bring
to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.
Allow to simmer for several hours until whatever
meat is on the carcass comes off easily by hand.
Remove the carcass from the pot, remove all
meat still on the carcass, set aside and there you
are, fresh chicken stock. The approach is
basically the same with beef or lamb. Just put
the beef or lamb bones in a pot and simmer
until the meat come off by hand. The point is to
toss all the unused pieces into the pot and
simmer away until you can remove the bones
and leave behind everything else. We like to
make a lot of soup so we usually try to get at
least 8 cups of stock to start with.
Now that your stock is ready it's time to add
the other ingredients. If you made it fresh then
you already have meat, if you're using
prepared bouillon or cubes add your chicken,
beef or lamb, as little or as much as you want.
You'll just have to experiment but start with 1
to 1 ½ cups diced of your favorite meat.
Next you need to add vegetables and this is
where the fun starts. It's time to clean out the
refrigerator or your vegetable bin. Whatever
you have is what goes in. Onions are always
good as are carrots and potatoes but don't stop
there. Have you got some green or red
peppers, in they go. Found some turnips you
weren't sure what you were going to use them
for. In they go. There is almost no limit to what
you can add. Just dice them up, chop them,
slice them, whatever, just get them into the pot.
This is a great time to use up those leftovers.
Yes, even previously cooked veggies can go in.
Now you're getting into it. Be creative; try
different combinations, no matter what, if you
like the vegetable before it goes in your going
the love the soup it makes.
Allright, now the spices. Again it's a question
of what you have and what you prefer. There
is no limit to the combinations you can create.
My favorites are rosemary, basil and oregano
but we've used chili powder to add some zip,
herb de provence, curry… It doesn't matter,
just as long as you like the spice throw it in. Of
course, some caution is needed when using
spices so start first with the basics and then add
something new from time to time to experiment
with until you get your favorite combinations.
And for a final touch of flavor now is the time
to add a 14 oz can of tomato sauce.
Now bring the whole mess to a boil and then
turn down to a simmer. How long you simmer
depends on what you put in. If the vegetables
were raw then you might need a little longer in
simmering. At a minimum you should have it
simmer for at least 20 minutes but I find the
longer it simmers, the more the flavors get to
mix and do their thing. The soup just gets
better and better.
Finally, about 30 minutes before you're ready
to serve add some pasta, rice or barley,
whichever you prefer and have handy. This
adds a little substance to the soup and turns it
almost into a stew. This last step is not
necessary if you prefer a clearer soup but I find
it adds the last touch to make the soup a meal
So there you are. Now you have a delicious
and most importantly, unique soup that is your
creation. I have never had one not turn out
and it is unique everytime you make it.
Finally, don't forget that you can freeze any
unused soup for use later.
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