How to Make Your Own Homemade Soup

Filed in Real Food by on February 20, 2013 0 Comments

Sometimes nothing but a big bowl of belly-warming, sinus-clearing, mouth-watering soup will do. But most of the stuff available at the grocery store has too much salt, too much fat, and not enough flavor. So I often make soup from scratch at home – using whatever is in the cupboard. The simple version is this: combine aromatics, water, a protein, a grain, some veggies, and lots of herbs. The following steps – a little more in depth, but still easy – is the process I use to create a great tasting (and often last minute!) soup for supper. This makes about 6 cups of soup.

  1. Start with aromatics (we taste with our nose as well as our mouth!). Finely chop a combination of onion, leek, shallot, garlic, celery, carrot, and/or bell pepper. Example: One medium shallot plus one stalk of celery, plus one clove of garlic.
  2. Sauté the aromatics in 2 Tbsp of olive oil. (I like to use a Dutch oven when making soup.)
  3. Add broth, water, or a combination of water and tomato juice. Example: One cup of liquid per serving, so I will add 6 cups of water.
  4. Add a protein. The protein can be drained canned beans, frozen beans or cooked beef, chicken, or ham. We could also use a quicker cooking legume like lentils or split peas. Example: About 1 ½ cups of frozen lima beans.
  5. Add one or two chopped, long-cooking vegetables like winter squash, carrots, rutabaga, turnip, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, fennel, cabbage or cauliflower. Example: A large potato, a couple of large carrots, and a fennel bulb.
  6. This is also the time to add a long-cooking grain like rice or pearled barley. Example: Skip this step for this particular soup example.
  7. The secret to a great tasting soup – herbs. This is the time to add a combination of dried herbs. Add ½ to 1 tsp per serving. Herbs enjoyed by most people include basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, cumin, summer savory or chervil. Example: 2 tsp of dried basil, 2 tsp of dried parsley, 1 tsp dried marjoram, and ½ tsp each dried rosemary and dried thyme.
  8. Bring the whole thing to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until almost tender, usually 20 – 40 minutes.
  9. Add one or two chopped, short-cooking vegetables like zucchini, summer squash, canned or fresh tomatoes, chopped mushrooms, spinach or watercress, or frozen peas, beans or corn. Example: A can of chopped tomatoes, a small zucchini, and a handful of frozen peas.
  10. Add short-cooking grains like pasta or cous cous. Example: Since we didn’t add a long-cooking grain earlier, add a handful of small pasta here.
  11. Add salt and pepper to taste and continue simmering until all the vegetables and grains are tender, probably another 5-10 minutes.
  12. The finishing touch. Add a final taste temper – wine, vinegar, hot sauce, miso or some other condiment that will add zing. Or add a soup topper like chopped peanuts, shredded cheese, sour cream or pesto to each individual bowl of soup. Example: 2 or 3 Tbsp of red wine vinegar before serving and pass shredded Parmesan at the table.
  13. Serve with homemade bread or biscuits or crackers for a simple, budget-friendly, healthy, just-what-I-wanted meal.
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About the Author ()

Renee Pottle, an freelance writer and Home Economist, is fanatic about all things food. She blogs about canning and food preservation at SeedToPantry.com. Find her professional food writing info at PenandProvisions.com.

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