Soups: Recipe and Tips

Soups: Recipe and Tips 

Soup is the answer. Seriously.  Don’t eat enough vegetables? Eat more soup.  Don’t have enough time to cook? Make soup. Need easy lunch ideas? Soup.   

As the temperature drops our craving for hot, hearty and healthy dishes increases. Again, soup is the answer. Every kitchen, no matter the size, benefits from making more soup. It is a smart choice to serve soup and it comes down to dollars and sense.  

10 Reasons Why Your Kitchen Should be Serving More Soup 

1.  Big Batches 

Make the most of your time in the kitchen by making big batches of soup.  Making a double, triple or even quadruple batch doesn’t take much more time. 

2. Less Waste 

When ingredients in the fridge (or freezer) are looking less than fresh, a pot of soup would still gladly embrace their goodness. 

3. Simple Ingredients 

Soups can be as simple as needed and therefore budget friendly.  Delicious soups can be prepared using the easiest ingredients.  Sure, you can always up the ante with a few not so simple ingredients, but that is completely up to you.  For example, Cauliflower Soup - butter, onion, cauliflower and water.  That’s it. Up the flavour by replacing water with stock or roasting the onions and cauliflower first.  Add a roasted red pepper.  How about a splash of hot sauce?  It’s really that simple. 

4. Increase Vegetable Servings 

Everyone knows they should be eating more vegetables and fruits. Serving vegetable and fruit based soups is a no brainer.  Yes, fruit based - squash, tomatoes, peppers – all fruits. Remember other fruits for depth of flavour – pear with butternut squash, orange with sweet potatoes and apples with carrots.  

5. Managing Allergies/Aversions 

Whatever the reasons, medical, religious, social – everyone wants a choice so make it their way.  This process is much easier when you start and work with the simple ingredients used in soup. 

6. Half Scratch 

Sometimes soup is the answer, but lack of time throws a wrench in the plans. Half scratching it by using some prepared ingredients while still delivering a satisfying bowl of soup without as much fuss/time. A can of tomato soup can quickly turn into a homemade Tomato Tortellini with a few simple additions. 

7. Soup as an ingredient 

Think beyond the bowl. Take advantage of a big batch of soup to make more than one type of meal.  Butternut Squash soup is great as a pizza sauce.  Minestrone is a great start for a batch of stuffing or a batch of Vegetable Quinoa Pilaf. Black Bean soup in a Tex Mex casserole or as a dip for quesadillas. Or toss some cooked pasta into Curried Lentil and Tomato soup. 

8. Soup stores well 

Soup can be stored in the fridge and in many cases tastes even better after resting.  Soup can also be frozen for extended storage.  It isn’t recommended to freeze cream-based soups as the freeze/thaw process can cause the dairy ingredients to separate but know that it doesn’t affect the flavour.  

9. Soup is infinitely customizable

Even if you are making a basic vegetable soup there are so many ways to customize it: add protein (animal or plant-based), rice, grains or even pasta.  Change the flavour completely with a different spice blend. Add cubed bread, top with shredded cheese and broil. All started with a basic vegetable soup. It's so easy to travel the world (of flavours) one bowl at a time.

10. Soup reheats beautifully 

Soup goes from fridge or freezer to the table in minutes. 

    10 Tips to consider when making soup   

    1. Use the right tools to make soup  

    Start with the right pot – A sturdy heavy bottomed pot with a lid.  A flimsy pot just won’t cut it. Look for tight fitting lids and strong handles that make it easy to move around the kitchen. An immersion blender can’t be beat when it comes to pureeing soup for ease and control and removes the need to transfer the soup multiple times between containers. Ensure your spoon is long enough to stir the soup from a safe distance.

    2. Roast soup ingredients to intensify flavours. 

    Whether ingredients used in final soup or simply to make a rich stock, roasting brings out the deepest flavours.  Vegetables, meats or nuts all benefit from some time in the oven.

    3. Freeze soup in individual serving sizes. 

    Thaw only what you need.  Sure, you can leave in those containers with lids on or pop out frozen servings and store in a larger container so your smaller containers are ready to be filled again. 

    4. Soups with pasta

    Freeze before you add the pasta.  The pasta loses its firm texture sitting in the soup and going through the freeze, thaw and reheat cycle. 

    5. Use homemade stock  

    Whenever possible, use homemade stock. As you have bits and bobs of vegetable scraps (and meat bones) available, pop them in the freezer until you have enough for a batch. Making homemade stock also means you are in complete control of ingredients and the sodium content.

    6. Cook soup low and slow

    Allow your soup ingredients to get to know each other and mingle.  Once up to a boil, reduce and simmer. 

    7. Splash in something acidic

    During or at the end of cooking, adding an acidic kick can bring your delicious taste up another level.  Depending on your soup consider using the following – lemon, lime or orange, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, wine, beer or cider. 

    8. Season carefully

    You can always add a pinch of salt but can’t take it out. 

    9. Size matters

    Piece size should match the spoon.  When you scoop up a spoonful you don’t want it to be slopping all over and falling off.  Consistently sized pieces also mean even cooking.  If you are pureeing the soup, smaller sized pieces aren’t necessary because they are going to be broken down anyways, but cooking times may increase as piece size increases. 

    10. Turn leftovers into soup

    Sure, leftover soup can be turned into other meals, but other meals can be turned into soup.  Lasagna, taco filling, cabbage rolls, veggie stir fry are all a great start to a delicious soup. 

      Soup Recipe

      Sweet Potato Harissa Soup

      Sweet Potato Harissa Soup

      Sweet and spicy, this flavourful soup comes together quickly.  Vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free it's sure to please the most discerning palette.  Added bonus, this soup freezes beautifully.

      Makes 10 x 1 cup servings

      Ingredients

      1 tbsp vegetable oil
      2 cup diced onions
      1/2 cup diced celery
      1 garlic clove, minced
      6 cups chopped sweet potatoes (about 2 lb)
      1 tbsp harissa
      5 cups vegetable stock
      1/2 lemon

      Kitchen Equipment & Tools

      Paring Knife
      Chef Knife
      Cutting Board
      Measuring Cups
      Spoon
      Heavy bottom pot with lid
      Immersion Blender
      Ladle

      Directions

      1.  In a heavy bottom pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion, celery and garlic and cook, while stirring, for 5 minutes.

      2. Add sweet potatoes and harissa.  Stir until well combined, cover and cook for 5 minutes.

      3. Add stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Remove from heat and puree.

      4. Squeeze juice from half a lemon into the pureed soup and stir through.  Ladle into bowls, garnish as desired.  Enjoy!

      Chef Tips

      Garnish suggestions: plain yogurt, fresh parsley and/or cilantro, toasted almonds, roasted chickpeas.
      Replace 1 cup of stock with coconut milk.
      Use the soup as a sauce for pasta.
      Puree with an immersion blender right in the pot (after it has been removed from the heat) or in batches in a countertop blender.