…and yet another reference to the one and only live (basically the only one) Seinfeld episode I saw. With the cooler weather coming, it’s time to look forward to soup – soup of all kinds. You can think of soup as an addition to a meal, or it can be the meal itself. Your bowl of soup can be a basic broth or a thick, almost stew-like meal. Supplementing with croutons, crackers or bread will just add to your soup.
Making your own soup is easy. I enjoy cooking but I have to admit I don’t like recipes that call for a lot of steps. Most of the food I post will be easily made. The soups I make have a base of broth – either Vegetable, Beef or Chicken. Another important part of homemade soup can be bones. You can simmer bones with your broth. The bigger and thicker the bones the better. It is better for removal after your soup is done. Also important is to keep all leftovers, no matter how small the amount. Little bits of cooked meat and leftover vegetables and sauces can give some extra flavor to your soup. Unless you know you will use them soon, just pop them into your freezer.
I usually start a large pot of soup with some butter or oil – and fry/grill some onions and/or minced garlic. Once that gets going (i.e. they soften and brown a little) you can add the rest of the ingredients that you want your soup to include. Depending on how much soup you will want to end up with will determine how much broth to use. You can call my recipes and cooking very relaxed. There are no hard and fast amounts of my ingredients – I figure everyone can use their own sight and taste to make my recipes more like their own. It’s very gratifying to make a delicious soup from all leftovers. This is when you use all your little packages, containers, etc. of things that weren’t finished during other mealtimes. Try to group the meats you have with appropriately matched vegetables. If after you’ve assembled all of your leftovers you need more – you can add maybe a half of chicken breast cut up, or an extra can of bag of vegetables. Simmer this for a good long time. Towards the end of your cooking, make your add ins – rice, pasta or whatever else you’re thinking of. Once done, add to the soup and let them cook together for a bit. At this point, you can consider it done. If you’d like you can “cream it up” with the addition of a white sauce, a lump or two of mashed potatoes or a can of “cream up” soup. Your meal is served!
If you would like Vegetable Tomato Beef Soup, it can be made with some Beef Broth, a can of Beef gravy, a can or two or a bag of Mixed Vegetables – and a can of tomato sauce (or a can of tomato soup). You really can use whatever you want to get the tomato taste – even ketchup if you’re out of the other ingredients and you just HAVE to have tomato. Now you can just have beef tasting soup, using these ingredients or you can add leftover beef, a cooked cut up piece of beef or some browned ground beef to perk it up and fortify it. Either way it will be very good.
You can make Vegetable Tomato Chicken Soup, which is basically doing the same thing as above. Do the same steps, and when you get to the add in part, obviously use Chicken and not Beef. And it goes without saying that you can just do a plain Vegetable Chicken or plain Vegetable Beef – just don’t add any tomatoes or tomato products.
You can make a pretty easy yet pretty good French Onion Soup for yourself. Grill a decent amount of onions, in your choice – butter, oil, margarine – and soften them. Add Beef Broth and simmer. After a short while, your soup will be done. As it cooks, if you’d like – add some wine. It’s a tasty addition. The soup can also be ladled into crocks, and you can add a thick-ish piece of bread. On top of this bread, add some cheese (mozzarella or provolone) and bake them in the oven, or broil them. Absolutely delicious!
Potato Soup is good too. It’s one of those stick-to-your-ribs kind of soups. Mine is not hard to make, and it is not complicated. I use a base of Chicken Broth and then I either add mashed Potatoes, cans of cooked Potatoes (diced or sliced) or instant mashed Potato flakes. I start with the Broth in the pot, grilling the Onions. I add whatever Potatoes I decide to use, and I keep an eye on it. You don’t want it too thick, so have extra Broth on hand – or Chicken Bouillon and water – as it cooks. As it gets to the consistency you want, you can decide if you want to smooth it out. I’ve had good success using one of those immersion blenders. I take it off the burner to do this. I play around with it, and then I’ll add my additions – shredded Cheese, Bacon Bits, and Green Onions/Scallions. Sometimes I don’t want it smooth, so I’ll put in some diced Potatoes (the canned ones). I will serve these with Sour Cream on the side. This makes it almost like Baked Potato Soup. Mmm mmm good!
Another good one is Italian Wedding Soup. I start mine with Chicken Broth in a large pot. I then cut up pre-made and frozen Meatballs – use whatever kind you like, or even your own homemade ones. The ones I use get quartered – they look like little chunks. Then I will add spinach – either a can or two, or frozen. Of course, if you want you can use fresh. I will add a little bit of rice (already cooked) towards the end of the simmering. This easily made Soup really is good.
I didn’t really include any seasonings in these soups, other than browning onions and garlic when you start the recipes. As they are cooking and you sample them to see how they are turning out, this is the time you can add things. You can add salt and pepper, or garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning – whatever you think would be good. I have frozen these soups and they have done well. I know you are not supposed to refreeze a second time, but the amounts of things I am using – smidgens, really – I have to say I have never had a problem. I have survived and survived quite well…