Confession: I am really bad at making soup.
Don’t get me wrong, I can throw together chili, I could live off of this pumpkin black bean soup, and I make a pretty wicked tortilla soup (thanks Suze, for that recipe), but pretty much any other soup, and I am best off just popping open a can.
I live for squash soup season, aka fall, because it means that every restaurant can fulfill my longing for pureed gourds. This longing started in Paris during college, when my host mother would make some ambiguously blended veggie soup every weekend. I got an immersion blender last year for Christmas, and I too have dutifully pulverized every soup in sight. Mine taste like hot baby food. I think that if I ever successfully make non-bland squash bisque, I will spontaneously combust from happiness.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t love soup, because I do. Once the weather gets cold, I basically try to make as many meals as possible that can be eaten with a spoon. My lack of natural soup-making skill does not deter my determination to eat that food I love. The week before Thanksgiving I think we had soup every night that week, as James’ love for soup surpasses even my own. On his birthday, in August, he said he wanted soup and vanilla ice cream, and maybe to yell at kids in the park. Yes, I married a grouchy old man.
Whenever I visit James’ family in Indiana, I am reminded why he loves soup. James mom makes soup so delicious that you just want to swim in it, mouth wide open. Over Thanksgiving she made this five onion creamy soup goodness that I am pretty sure could save your soul. She is one of those soup people, the type I want to be, who just makes soup with whatever is around. (She gave me her squash soup recipe, so I am hoping it will free me from my baby food rut, but there is a strong chance I will mess it up.) My friend Leslie is the same way, just cooking everything up into a delicious spoon-it-up feast. For me, making soup is more stressful than most other things. See these beautiful bowls of French onion soup?
Our kitchen looked like I had blown up an onion farm by the time I was done. And it smelled like that… for a while. (But oh, was it GOOD!)
So soup people, what’s the secret? What are your best soup recipes/tips/tricks? The winter is long before us, and I am armed with a beautiful navy pot, an immersion blender, and a desperate desire to eat all my meals from bowls. Please leave a comment/link below to tell me what I am missing or share a favorite recipe!
One of my favorite things is to save all my veggie trimmings from other meals and once I have a Ziploc full, boil them in water for about 15 minutes. You end up with a great, flavorful veggie broth that is a great starter for all kinds of “throw-it-together” soups. I was actually going to post about it soon…so thanks for the reminder! 🙂
Amazing beef stew (in a crockpot, no less): http://movitabeaucoup.com/2011/11/10/slow-cooker-sunday-beef-stew/
Also, for whatever reason, I often I feel like spices don’t speak as well in a soup as the recipe thinks they will. I pretty much double everything and salt-and-pepper the heck out of it.
I share your feelings about spices. I usually just end up trying to spice them into flavor, with varying levels of success.
I’m sure you will find lasting soup happiness soon. You probably just have higher standards than the rest of us, who kind of like hot baby food. 😉 But do try the beef stew; it’s quite good.
Not so sure about the standards…. I actually like lots of canned soups, I just feel determined that I should be able to make ones that are better than the canned ones. Maybe this is a false cuisine god.
I attempted potato leek soup the other week and it turned out oh-so-wonderful. I posted about it on my blog … http://wp.me/pejmY-ah … it was my very first attempt at “real” homemade soup (as in, not just a bunch of veggies in broth), and it tasted amazing, especially on the day after it was made. So, I imagine it’s not too hard to mess up. Also, I am jealous of your immersion blender!!!
That sounds sooooooo good! Will have to try it!
And you should get one, as I feel that it was made to give variety to vegetarians. : ) It is not too expensive and so much easier to clean than any food processor.
A few falls ago, the lovely Ms. Abby Hummel bestowed upon me the Gift of Potato Soup to initiate my immersion blender. Since then, it has been taped on the inside of my apartment’s kitchen cupboard and has become a delightful go-to meal in my kitchen (and my sister’s!) — quite the “gift that keeps-on giving . . .” if you will.
[I know you’re there, Abby — the comment box below is calling your potato soup’s name . . . *wink*]
Abby needs to share the wealth! If she doesn’t…. you may just have to come back and post it! : )
I make a veggie stew sometimes–just get all the veggies I like, and throw them in with some spices, maybe a little garlic, and some tomato paste. I put carrots and things like that in first that need to cook a bit longer, then just throw everything else in and let it simmer for a while. It tastes really good if you use the right veggies, spices, etc. Also try to thin yours out if they’re a little too thick–using the tomato paste, chicken broth/veggie broth, maybe even water helps a lot. And if you want it thicker maybe try a rue first? I don’t know, I’m still a novice soup-maker as well. Let me know what you find. I LOVE butternut squash soup, and I have not yet found a recipe I love. I think I need to experiment with some nutmeg, cinnamon, etc., but it’s SO easy to overdo it with those! Good luck! Let me know what you find! Love you!
I don’t know why it is s hard to find a good butternut soup recipe!!! I have tried probably 5 and only one was any good, and it was still kind of too sweet.
When I find it, I will make it, and you can come up to DC and we can eat it together in bliss. : ) ❤
I love that you asked for soup recipes. I too am on the quest this winter to expand my soup recipes. I will be checking back on this post to see what other recipes have been added. =)
Here is of our favorites: loaded potato soup: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/loaded-potato-soup-10000002012818/
I also have an amazing beef stew recipe and a squash bisque recipe but I can’t find the link to them. If you give me your email address, I will send them to you.
yes please!!!!! It is email@example.com
Yay for squash bisque!!! And you should try the pumpkin black bean soup I linked to in the post. SO GOOD. I leave out the ham, half the tomatoes, and double the cumin. Heaven. Looks pretty gross, but tastes sooooo good!
I’ve email you those two soup recipes. Here are a few others that we have tried and enjoyed:
Broccoli-cheddar soup: http://www.food.com/recipe/panera-broccoli-cheese-soup-150384
Homemade chicken noodle soup: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/quick-chicken-noodle-soup-10000001949741/
Tomato torellini soup: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/Tomato-Tortellini-Soup?keycode=ZFB
Hannah Girl, help is here is the name of Mama Hen. Please email me so I can remember. I am too tired tonight. I make the most wonderful potato soup. I can give you some help on Butternut Squash Soup. Mine used to taste as you describe so I can help you out of that one into the almost buttery flavored smooth stuff. I make a mean semi homemade Tomato Soup. And there is this wonderful, Hambone Soup, my favorite. I have a real recipe for Butternut Squash, but the others are folklore style. Anyway email me and I will fix you up
between the current circumstances and an office with an arctic climate, i am LIVING off soup. be on the lookout for some recipes to further distract you from graduate school work. 🙂
I am looking forward to it… I never did get back to work this evening, so I might as well have been eating soup.
I made your Chicken Tortilla soup last night! Ok, so I didn’t make the corn tortilla strips from scratch at all (Lazy), but it was great!!
Stephen favorite soup remains Pioneer Woman’s Corn Chile Chowder: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/10/corn-chowder-with-chilies/. I change it up a bit by adding chicken and TONS of jalepenos–or habenero sauce. Sometimes I add celery or increase the green peppers for more crunch.
yummm….. going to have to try that! Maybe I will take out some for me and then dump extra habenero sauce in James’!
So glad you liked it!!! It is all Suze, maker of perfect soup. 🙂
I think almost every soup– if it seems to be lacking that elusive something-something– benefits from a splash (or two or three) of vinegar. It’s something I read in a Thomas Keller cookbook and it really works.
Or more salt. When in doubt, I add more salt.
Do you make your own chicken stock? You know, the rich gelatinous kind where you simmer a chicken carcass until the bones are so soft they start to crumble? Because that is a very good start to any soup. 🙂
These are some of my favorites. I haven’t any butternut offerings, I’m afraid, because MY grumpy old man doesn’t like winter squash.
Cream of Broccoli: http://laffytaffydaphne.blogspot.com/2011/11/tis-season-for-broccoli.html
Beefy Potato: http://laffytaffydaphne.blogspot.com/2011/11/soups-on.html
Spicy Red Lentil: http://laffytaffydaphne.blogspot.com/2012/01/in-which-i-make-soup.html
Creamy Tomato: http://laffytaffydaphne.blogspot.com/2011/05/soup-of-evening-beautiful-soup.html
I knew you would be a treasure load of soup recipes! : ) I am especially pumped about that cream of broccoli! Thanks!
And yes, vinegar makes everything better. Every time.
Ryan and I love soup, and I love making it. We’ve found we really enjoy a lot of Ina Garten’s soup recipes. Here are two of our favorites:
Roasted Tomato Basil (Ryan has been obsessed with this one for literally years. We make it at least once, sometimes twice a month, and it’s so good for you! I like to add a little white wine at the end to mix it up sometimes, since we make it a lot.):
Roasted Potato Fennel (I LOVE fennel, and it is one of the stars of this soup. I’d say make a half portion if this is for just you and James, because it makes a huge pot. It’s a great winter soup, because it’s so hearty. Trader Joe’s has fennel for a really great price, FYI.):
I love Ina Garten, so this sounds like a great place to start! Thanks!
I generally avoid fennel since I get weirded out by veggies that taste like candy, BUT I had it once recently and loved it and it is so pretty that I want to buy it. I will give this soup a try!
Pingback: Christmas Cookie Time! | The Art in Life
Pingback: PROCRASTINATION, Fall 2012 Edition. | The Art in Life
Pingback: Winter Veggie Soup for Two…(to 6 people) :) | Notes from Heidi
I came across your space here and have been reading and smiling and laughing for a while. A wonderful story teller you are!
I wanted to comment on this since I just learned about a secret for great soup. My mother-in-law has always made the best soups. Vegetable, beef, turkey, you name it. The other week when they came for a visit I asked her what she does. Potato water, she said. When she boils potatoes she always saves the water, puts it in a container and in the freezer it goes.
Potato water???? I’ll have to try that!!
So happy to have you here reading!
Pingback: This and that. | The Art in Life
Pingback: Whole30 Spiced Carrot Bisque | The Art in Life