Soup is such a great meal when Old Man Winter starts knocking at the door. Amidst blustery blizzards and days that turn into nighttime too quickly, you can fill your belly with the kind of comfort food that’ll warm you up from the inside out.
Making your own soup at home isn’t really hard at all. In fact, once you’ve prepped the veggies and proteins you plan to use, the pot and heat take over and do the rest. Here are some simple soup recipes and kitchen gadgets to help get you started.
Are you in the mood for a beefy stew or broth and noodles? Will you be adding meat, or are you sticking to veggies? The type of soup you choose could determine the best cooking vessel. Here are a few things you might want to keep in mind:
- Soups with rice or beans work well in this rapid-boil pot because the highly conductive aluminum fins increase cooking surface area, ensuring maximum heat transfer that helps those hard ingredients soften as quickly as possible.
- Soups that have potatoes or other root vegetables do well in a universal, multifunctional pot because you can boil the veggies and get them ready without dirtying another dish. This OneLid universal pot lid works with any pot to keep in heat and doubles as a strainer.
- Soups that include meat do well in a cast-iron Dutch oven that has a thermometer, so you can closely monitor cooking before you pour your creation into serving bowls.
If your stove top is known for delivering uneven heat, try a copper heat diffuser to distribute heat evenly throughout the pot. While you’re cooking, it keeps heat flowing evenly throughout all the ingredients inside. After the cooking is done, the diffuser can serve as a warming plate.
Choose Your Base
Ingredients such as chicken stock, vegetable broth, cream, and milk can be used as bases in a variety of simple soup recipes. Choose one as your main base, or look for a few that go well together. Chicken stock and tomato puree play well together, as do cream and stock. If you already have a base or two in your home, look for recipes that build around your base ingredients.
Choose Your Protein
Are you cooking a veggie or vegan meal, or will your soup include meat? There will likely be a difference in your cooking time, depending on the type of protein you choose. If you’ve opted for a broth as your base, look for a protein that matches it. For example, beef bouillon will work best with a beef or bean protein. Beef with a fish stock, on the other hand, might yield some strange results.
For easy veggie prep cut them into chunks and then place them into a manual food chopper to get small, even pieces that will cook at the same rate. Forego store-bought flavorings, such as garlic and ginger, in favor of home-crushed options that will taste fresher.
Once prep is done, everything gets tossed in the pot. If you’re working with foods like ears of corn or whole potatoes, have a pair of waterproof, heat-resistant cooking gloves nearby. This way you can simply reach into the pot and grab food when it’s ready to be removed from the boiling water. Otherwise, simply follow the recipe and wait for your creation to turn into a bowl full of bliss.
Salt, pepper, and other seasonings are often best left for the last minute. Keep handheld spice grinders near the serving bowls to flavor soup to taste. It’s a good idea to keep a few common spices nearby, too, in case your diners want to add a twist of flavor to their meal.
Ladle your soup into Buddha Bowls, which are ergonomically designed to fit comfortably right into your hand. These bowls make it easier to get cozy on the couch and enjoy a hot meal at the same time.
Don’t let any uneaten soup go to waste. Once it’s cool, store it in the freezer for future use. Leftover soup is a great option to take to the office for lunch, but it also serves as a go-to food when the clock gets away from you and a full dinner might not be on the menu. Reusable silicone food storage bags do the job nicely, or pour soup into a soup and stock silicone freezer tray. Pop a cube into the microwave or reheat it on the stove when you’re ready to eat.
Ready to Get Your Soup On?
Here are two of our favorite (and simple) soup recipes to get you started.
Easy Vegetable Soup
- 3 medium potatoes (Russet potatoes work best, but you can use any kind)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 onion (finely diced)
- 3 cups of vegetables (diced), such as carrots, celery, and green beans
- 1 15 oz can of corn
- 1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
- 3 fresh tomatoes
- 4 cups of vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
- 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2-3 drops hot sauce (optional)
- Dice a medium onion and cook it over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for three minutes
- Wash, peel, and dice potatoes into one-inch square pieces
- Add potatoes and remaining ingredients to the pot
- Simmer then reduce the heat to low
- Cover the pot and continue to simmer for 30-45 minutes until vegetables are tender
- Stir and serve
Mexican Chicken Chowder
- 1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup hot water
- 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 cups half-and-half cream
- 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 can (14-3/4 ounces) cream-style corn
- 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chiles, undrained
- 1/4 to 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- 1 medium tomato, cut into small cubes
- Fresh minced cilantro (optional) and fried tortilla strips
- In a Dutch oven, cook the chicken and onion in butter until the chicken is browned and the pink center is gone. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add the water, chicken (or vegetable) bouillon, and cumin; bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for five minutes
- Mix in the cream, cheese, corn, chiles and hot pepper sauce. Let the mixture cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly until the cheese melts fully; add tomato. If desired, top with cilantro and tortilla strips