Soup from Scratch
When I’m sick at home, there are few things that are comforting to me, some of which include a steamy shower, a hot tea toddy, and a fresh batch of soup. Today was one of those days, and since I had no soup in my pantry, I had to make some myself. From scratch.
I searched through my barren fridge to find a few, select ingredients that I thought could do, but I’ve never made soup from scratch before. I’m a recipe follower - so how would I know what tastes meld together well?
To my luck, I found this incredibly informative website that actually has some great suggestions - and confirmed that the ingredients I had would work beautifully. Yay, internet!
Here’s the information from the aforementioned website, Simple Bites:
1) Choose a type of fat
Your soup will (probably) need to start with some type of healthy fat, like butter or olive oil. This is to sauté any root vegetables or other initial flavors. Pick whatever you have on hand that will mesh well with your flavors. (I’d choose olive oil if I wanted an “Italian” soup with a tomato base, and butter if I were making a cream soup; otherwise it’s a toss up.)
2) Choose your base
What do you have on hand? Chicken, beef, or fish stock? Tomato purée? Cream or milk? Choose one — or two. Stock mixed with tomato purée is delicious, as is stock with milk. Or even cream with tomato purée! You choose the flavors you want.
3) Choose your meat
If you want meat, that is. Is this a chicken soup? Ground beef (like a chili, or made into meatballs)? Steak? Fish? Choose whatever you like. You’ll probably want this to match your base (beef with fish stock might not be such a great combination), but use what you have. I’ve used chicken stock in place of beef stock with great results, especially if I also added tomato.
4) Choose your veggies
Onion is a pretty standard veggie because it imparts so much flavor. Garlic, carrots, and celery are all fairly common too — though not always used. There are also beans, potatoes, spinach, kale, corn, and so on. Use whatever you have, and whatever you like!
5) Choose your spices
Sea salt and black pepper are your two most basic spices, so you will want to include them (well…at least the salt). Here are a few more popular flavor combinations.
- Celery seed, marjoram, thyme, parsley, and sage go well with chicken.
- Marjoram, rosemary and thyme go well with beef.
- Basil, oregano or fennel can be a nice addition to tomato-based soups.
- Chilis need chili powder and perhaps cumin.
- Cream soups might benefit from a dash or parsley or thyme.
Once you’ve decided on what ingredients to use, making soup is very simple:
- Heat a large soup pot over medium heat
- Sauté your aromatic vegetables (onion, garlic, celery, carrot) in your fat
- Cook your meat if necessary (for example, stew beef)
- Add your base (except milk or cream), veggies, meat, and spices
- Taste and adjust
- Allow to simmer for an hour or two
- Taste and adjust again
- Add any cream or milk just before serving and heat through
And here’s what I used:
- Half of an onion, chopped
- Half a carton of beef stock
- 2 frozen sausages, thawed, cooked, and sliced
- 3-4 small potatoes, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- A handful of baby carrots
- About a tablespoon of tomato paste
- Dash of sea salt
- Dash of oregano
- Dash of garlic powder
- Dash of basil
Keep in mind that I don’t usually measure when I cook… so when I say “a dash” I would estimate 1/4 teaspoon, but definitely taste-test and adjust to your liking.
I put everything into my crock pot and cooked on high for 3-4 hours (until the potatoes and carrots were soft). You could also simmer in a covered pot over medium heat for 1-2 hours if you don’t want to use a crock pot. It might be a bit quicker, but I just love my crock pot…
The soup turned out great and definitely made me feel better with such minimal effort.
What soups from scratch have you made and loved?