Comfort In A Bowl: How To Make Soup In 5 Steps
Is there anything more comforting than a bowl of warm soup on a cold, rainy day? As a meal, soups are nutritious and versatile, not to mention easy to make, so it’s no wonder they’ve become such a lunch or starter staple everywhere. Soups are also a great way of getting you to eat more veg because you can pack in as many as you’d like.
You can make soup with pretty much every type of veg and meat, so forget about ready-made soups and start making your own. We’ve put together some basic guidelines and tips to help you master soup making in no time.
Create A Base
Every soup needs a base – this is essentially where the main flavour will come from. There are two ways of prepping the base: make it yourself or use stock.
One of the classic combos for making a base from scratch is using onions, celery, carrots and leeks. Chop them all finely and heat up some oil (or butter) in a pot. Start by adding in the onions and let them fry until they start to become translucent. Then add the rest of the veg and let them cook until soft. If you notice the veg is starting to stick to the pan, add a splash of water.
You can also use stock for your base. Vegetable, chicken, beef, fish – whatever you prefer. The stock can be store-bought or made from scratch (which is easier than you think)! It needs a few minutes of prep but then you can let it simmer on the stove.
Add The Meat
If you want to make a meaty soup, then you should add the meat next. Try and match it to the stock you’re using (if any) but combos can also work – like chicken and vegetable stock.
You can add the meat which has already been cooked (leftover chicken for example can get a new lease of life in a hearty soup) or allow it to cook in the pot.
The trick here is to let the meat cook for a while then add the veg, but the exact timing should be specified in the recipe that you’re following.
Add The Veg
The key thing here is that the vegetables will cook differently so you must make sure to stagger them. For example, root vegetables, which are harder in their texture, take longer to cook, so pop those in first and give them a few minutes at full boil. If you’re adding softer veg, like frozen peas or frozen sweetcorn, you only need add them towards the end because they don’t need to be cooked for a long time.
Chopping your vegetables smaller can help them to cook quicker, so if you’re pinched for time this is a great trick. Especially if you’re blending your soup at the end, size doesn’t matter!
To check if the veg is done, take a spoonful of veg and test them with a fork – if the fork slides right in, everything is cooked.
If you want to make a cream-type soup, blend everything together once all the veg is cooked through.
Add The Seasoning
There are some tried and tested combos that elevate any soup; such as smoked paprika and cumin for a hearty Mexican-style bean soup, oregano and basil in a tomato soup, fish sauce for an Asian vibe, a generous sprinkle of coriander in a carrot-based soup, or a classic pea and mint soup.
Garnish and Serve
This is not a required step, but this is how to take your soup to the next level: adding a garnish. Croutons work in pretty much any type of soup, but you can also jazz it up with sliced spring onions, sour cream, parmesan, crispy onions or toasted nuts. You can also experiment with your roll of bread on the side: try swapping it for a piece of garlic bread, a flatbread, a piece of focaccia or simply make your own cheese on toast.
Just get creative and play with flavour!
Now that you’ve mastered the technique for making soup, have a go at some of our delicious soup recipes ranging from quick & easy to home chef-level. And if you are looking for more work from home lunch ideas– we’ve got that covered too