I make a lot of soup for my family. Especially in the winter time. It is a meal that can be made ahead of time and put on the stove to simmer until it is time to eat. Great for those days you want to be outside snowshoeing or skiing. It is also nice if someone you love is fighting a flu or cold.
Over the years the soups I make have evolved into works of art. I know it sounds like I am bragging, but I don’t mean to. The soups I used to make were dull, bland, and too salty. Somewhere along the way I learned how to make a great pot of soup. The one secret I feel is the key is to not boil it! Boiling it makes the veggies mushy and tasteless and it makes the meat tough. Plus it makes the soup too hot to eat!
The soup above is a throw together soup made mostly from leftovers. Hamburger and black beans from our tacos. Lentils and rice that we had last week. Green beans that were from our Monday meal. Beef broth, and a package of frozen mixed veggies were the only thing not ‘left over’.
Lots of my soups are born from leftovers but many are made intentionally. It seems like there are many steps but really it isn’t too bad. I start with a broth. Is it a beef, poultry or veggie soup? If it is chicken or turkey then use the carcass if you have one and make the broth from that. I already made a post about that here. Store bought broth is just fine too. The second thing I do is prepare the veggies. I saute them in a pot or pan. Don’t cook them all the way, just until slightly tender. I don’t usually saute spinach or kale or other greens, they get thrown in later.
After the veggies are done I put them in the broth. At this point the broth should be hot, but not boiling. Now you can add in any other things that are wanted in the soup but making sure that everything is cooked like beans, tomatoes or rice. Barley can be added now uncooked because it will cook while the soup simmers. Sometimes uncooked white rice can be added depending on how long the soup simmers.
Now I would saute any meat. The leftover soup had hamburger that was already cooked so I just threw it in but when you make a soup with carcass meat or boneless meats you want to wait until the end to add the meats. I saute up any raw meat in a pan with oil or butter (or both). Add salt, pepper and garlic powder. Then I add the meat close to serving time. I let it simmer for just enough time to be cooked but not overcooked.
The last thing to add is any pastas and greens, and herbs. I never add pasta to the actual soup. I cook it up separate and add to the bowls afterwards. If you add them directly to the hot soup they are always there through all the second helpings and leftovers and pasta cooks fast and gets mushy. Leftover soups with pasta already in the soup are never that good.
So it is pretty easy but just has extra steps. Broth, veggies and other additions, meat, then greens and pasta. Season to taste and enjoy. Just remember; most ingredients get cooked separate then added to the broth. Just don’t boil the soup!