School me in soup making.

Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Once an Asshole. Trying to be better.Registered User regular
edited July 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I want to make good soup.

Everytime I go to a Restaurant, I eat these delicious tasting soup and I identify what I'm tasting and everything.

I go home, try to mimic it, and all I make is a bowel of watery tasting mush.

How do I soup?

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Posts

  • The_Glad_HatterThe_Glad_Hatter Registered User regular
    This is a pretty open question, depends on the recipe.

    The base for most soups i make is just glaze some chopped unions in butter in a big pots. Then if you're making a clear soup: add veggies, fry and stir a bit, add stock. Ready.
    If you're making a soup that'll be blended: also fry a chopped potato or 2, add your veggies, add stock and blend.
    Season after tasting.
    Let veggies boil in stock for 10/15 minutes so they don't get overly mushy.
    let soup cool down before putting in closed containers.

    How does your approach differ from this?

  • ChanusChanus I've seen things... Registered User regular
    Your problem is probably caused by using water instead of stock... if I had to throw out a guess.

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  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON IndiaRegistered User regular
    If the stuff is mushy cook it less, or stir fry it first and cook it less.

  • fadingathedgesfadingathedges Registered User regular
    Maybe start with some recipes from the internet to get the basics down, then import the flavors you're tasting into an established method?

  • HamjuHamju Registered User regular
    If you're starting with water then you need to either add stock of some kind or bones/fat/meat to make it not taste watery. Using the bone method (which is really good and fun) it takes all freaking day.

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  • Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Once an Asshole. Trying to be better. Registered User regular
    I usually throw everything in a slow cooker for 8 hours...

  • ToldoToldo But actually, WeegianRegistered User regular
    A lot of soups (veggie soups especially) call of a lot of different ingredients. Having lots of flavors and textures in a soup is all fine and dandy, but adding too much can make the veggies soak up all the broth.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited July 2011
    I usually throw everything in a slow cooker for 8 hours...

    Soup is something thats generally done in stages. Thats probably why you are getting something mushy and gross at the end. My mother makes some excellent soups, and the first step is usually making a big ol batch of stock on a cold winter day, then the next day making some soup.

    Lucky for you, alton brown exists:


    edit: whoops, linked the wrong one.

    Iruka on
  • melting_dollmelting_doll Registered User regular
    There are lots of ways to make good soups without using a slow cooker.

    I actually find soup to be great for experimentation, as well as being fairly cheap and easy. If anything it's just a bit time consuming. I don't even own a slow cooker and I've come up with some great stuff!

  • Forbe!Forbe! Registered User regular
    Really basic soup making starts with making a decent stock. That may be a bit more than what you want to get into, so you can probably just look at some recipes online and buy stock from the super market. Some delis and restaurants will sell fresh stock, which is superior to canned/boxed stock. A lot of times I will just purchase low sodium chicken stock and spice it up by sauteeing celery, onion and carrots in some butter/olive oil, then deglaze the pan with the stock.

    Typically though, I don't set out to just make soup, it is usually a byproduct of a previous meal. Left over bones/animal carcasses are excellent for making stock, and its easy, you just need to be able to spend time watching it.

    Leftover roast chicken soup is excellent:

    http://articles.boston.com/2009-03-25/lifestyle/29258399_1_soup-chicken-teaspoon-paprika

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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    Alessi italian soup mix + favorite sausage/seafood of choice

    Not incredible, but certainly tasty and simple to make.

  • DemuristDemurist Registered User regular
    This is one of the first things you learn in culinary school and by the time we graduate, there are still dozens of students who make shitty soup. Don't worry. Like others have said, step one is stock. No matter what the soup, start with a stock. And put the slow cooker away. Those are no good for soup.

    Fill your largest pot with a mix of 50% onions, 25% carrots and 25% celery by weight. Just rough chop it or use scraps. This is mirepoix and it makes a huge difference. I would use 1# of mirepoix for one gallon of stock.

    Next, add your chicken carcass. You can roast the bones first for added flavor, but when I'm feeling lazy, I just throw in a frozen one. I would do one carcass per gallon of stock. Next, add a few peppercorns, a bay leaf or two and maybe a bit of thyme, but be careful! That shit tastes muddy if you add too much. I usually toss in some parsley stems too, but only if I have them on hand. Don't worry if you can't.

    Fill the pot with enough water to cover everything and turn the heat on low. Let it go all day. Literally, for hours. Check it every once and a while to make sure it isn't boiling and remove any scum you see building up on the surface. If the water level is dropping alot, don't be afraid to add more water. Do not let the water boil! A little bubbling is fine, but no boiling. When the chicken carcass falls apart and all of the cartilage has melted away, you should be left with a golden delicious stock with the delicious flavor of chicken. Strain the stock through a fine sieve and store for later or use immediately.

    The next tip I can give is salt. Usually, if something tastes bland, you didn't add enough salt. People are usually afraid of salt for some reason. Salt is your friend. He wants to help you. Do not salt your stock. Just salt your soup. I recommend adding salt at each stage of the soup making process. If you are sauteing some veggies, add a pinch of salt. If you're cooking off meat to add to the soup, season the meat. If you're going to be cooking any rice in the soup, add some salt to the soup before adding the rice. This will impregnate your rice with salt. And yumminess. And don't forget salt's sassy friend pepper. She wants to join the party too. Whenever you add salt, add a few cracks or sprinkles of pepper. It makes all the difference. And finally, before you declare your soup finished, taste it. If it isn't up to snuff, fix it. Adjust the seasoning. Add a bit more salt and pepper if needed or some fresh herbage. A touch of cream is always good too!

    Happy cooking!

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  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    Three things I find that that punch up flavour is:

    A pinch of chilli flakes (or even less) as it adds a nice warming sensation which is what you want with soup.

    Burn everything. (well not really, but kinda) that golden brown stuff that happens on the bottom of your pan is solid gold that turns into liquid gold once you deglaze the pot. It is called fond. Fond is Good. Remember this. I usually get my fond on with onions, leeks or some smoked ham hock.

    Don't stick cream in it. But Blake! You say, cream is delicious. And I say, cream is Ok at best. stick it's younger, hotter cousin in it, creme fresh. She will do stuff for you that cream never would.

  • Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Once an Asshole. Trying to be better. Registered User regular
    Okay, I'm going to make stock this weekend. Be what about recipes? Does anyone have any good ones?

  • ChanusChanus I've seen things... Registered User regular
    For a super-easy soup, take your stock, some noodles, and some chunks of chicken meat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Basic Chicken Noodle Soup.

    Or, take your stock, add some noodles, and while it's very hot (still on the stove), crack an egg and whip that around in there:

    Egg-Drop Soup!

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    A quick (and cheaper) way to make good stock is to pick up some bonito flakes from your local Asian market. "Oden-no-moto" makes a delicious chicken soup base for a quick dinner, mix the bonito with the water, and maybe a half cup of Mirin (or a sweet white wine) and let mix for a while, then add some chicken, carrots, and browned onions and a single red chili (remove seeds if you want it less spicy, include if you want very spicy) and let simmer for a half hour. Then, at the end, take the pan you browned your onions on and fry an egg over-easy for each person eating.

    Serve with a base of white rice, the meat and vegetables on top, with about a cup of the broth over the rice and veggies. top with the over-easy egg.

    It's delicious, and only takes about a half hour. If you have longer, go with Demurist's idea, though making that amount of broth is generally expensive for the amount of soup tolerance most folk have.

  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Demurist's answer is the best I've read in the list so far. I would disagree in that my slow cooker works fine for soup, but that's because mine still gets hot enough to bring a broth to a simmer. He's right that you don't want to bring your water to a boil as you make stock, but you definitely want to get it to the level where it starts simmering. On heat too low, you're not making stock so much as you're culturing bacteria.

    As for ingredients, once I've fished out the bones as well as the chunks of carrots onions or celery which I've used to make the stock, I go right ahead and add some fresh carrots, onions and celery back in. The carrots, onions and celery which you've used to make the stock have had a lot of the flavor leached out of them, whereas the taste of fresh veggies will still pop. For chicken noodle soup, I'll throw in some cubes of potato, which I've half-baked either in the microwave or the oven to start softening them. I'll also add in the chicken which I harvested off the stock carcass and a box of dried noodles (I'm personally partial to bowties). Towards the end of the process, I'll add a bag of thawed frozen peas (adding peas too early can leech too much of the moisture or flavor out of them, and at a certain temperature the moisture can start to leech out as well and leave your peas shriveled and tough), and I'll stir in a swirl of heavy cream right before removing it from the heat.

    For vegetable beef soup, you want to use a beef stock instead (using beef bones, hopefully bones that were previously associated with a joint so you get that connective tissue which melts into the stock). Assuming your stock is made, season and pan sear your beef before adding it to the broth. I'll use many of the same vegetables as well as corn and green beans (EDIT: AND STEWED TOMATOES! How could I forget the tomatoes?!) while making the soup, some rosemary, chili powder and garlic gets added to the other spices, and rather than adding cream at the end I add a bottle of a dark ale or porter in the beginning.

    SammyF on
  • SwashbucklerXXSwashbucklerXX Swashbucklin' Canuck Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    A lot of vegetable-based soups can take less time to cook and still be delicious. Butternut squash soup is a favourite in my house. Add a little bit of ginger and/or cream for extra deliciousness. Note that stock is still important... freshly made or fresh/organic from the store is best (bullion cubes and canned stock tend to have unnecessary chemical ingredients and MSG and stuff.) The blending/processing is important as well. Here's a good basic split pea soup recipe as well, similar to the one I use from one of my cookbooks. The part that says "or water" is lies. Use stock! I add bacon crumbles and croutons to the finished soup. :)

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  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    SammyF wrote:
    Demurist's answer is the best I've read in the list so far. I would disagree in that my slow cooker works fine for soup, but that's because mine still gets hot enough to bring a broth to a simmer. He's right that you don't want to bring your water to a boil as you make stock, but you definitely want to get it to the level where it starts simmering. On heat too low, you're not making stock so much as you're culturing bacteria.

    This is hardly true at all. Have you never heard of sous vide? You do not need to simmer water for it to be hot enough to kill bacteria. People say bring up to simmer as it's the easiest visual way of ensuring minimum heat.

  • RderdallRderdall Registered User regular
    This is one of my favorite soups ever, and it incorporates a lot of the basic steps in making any soup. I definitely recommend checking this out. Make sure you watch the video too.

    http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipes/Soup/Pork/recipe.html?dishid=7962

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  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Blake T wrote:
    SammyF wrote:
    Demurist's answer is the best I've read in the list so far. I would disagree in that my slow cooker works fine for soup, but that's because mine still gets hot enough to bring a broth to a simmer. He's right that you don't want to bring your water to a boil as you make stock, but you definitely want to get it to the level where it starts simmering. On heat too low, you're not making stock so much as you're culturing bacteria.

    This is hardly true at all. Have you never heard of sous vide? You do not need to simmer water for it to be hot enough to kill bacteria. People say bring up to simmer as it's the easiest visual way of ensuring minimum heat.

    That's essentially what I meant by "you definitely want to get it to the level where it starts simmering [because] on heat to low, you're not making stock so much as culturing bacteria." Also, you're ensuring that the stock is reaching a temperature sufficient to melt all the connective tissues in the carcass.

    Incidentally, I have heard of sous-vide, and while it's a great method for pasteurizing discrete quantities of meat, it's probably unwise to consider that akin to making stock if you want to make it in bulk and store it for any period of time. Low temperature/long duration can kill virtually all kinds of bacteria, but it won't destroy spores, which are produced by certain kinds of bacteria and will become active as temperatures fall unless chilled quickly. And because water has a very high specific heat, it's difficult for the home chef to bring down the temperature of a large quantity of water quickly enough that spores won't activate.

    SammyF on
  • Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Once an Asshole. Trying to be better. Registered User regular
    So I made stock over the weekend and I'm currently making a Mexicanish beef soup and I just did a preliminary taste and....oh my fucking god....this shit is good!

    Thank you all!

    Question:

    How do I accumulate enough chicken carcass for stock making? I'm only one person and I honestly can't eat chicken constantly.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Now and then the whole birds at the store go on sale and we use those.

    We basically use this
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/chicken-stock-recipe/index.html
    But with like one chicken and left overs, or two chickens. I dont know why Ina Garten thinks normal people have a pot that can fit three chickens but no one does.

    Anyways, we do that, make a big batch and freeze what we dont need. Holds up great for a few months.

  • ChanusChanus I've seen things... Registered User regular
    So I made stock over the weekend and I'm currently making a Mexicanish beef soup and I just did a preliminary taste and....oh my fucking god....this shit is good!

    Thank you all!

    Question:

    How do I accumulate enough chicken carcass for stock making? I'm only one person and I honestly can't eat chicken constantly.

    If you don't find yourself in possession of a chicken carcass very often, you can just use bullion cubes or a carton of chicken stock. They make them in reduced-salt varieties as well, because sometimes they can be almost like brine.

    You probably won't notice a huge difference not making it yourself, and it saves a lot of time.

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  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    To freeze stock, pour it into muffin tins, break em out, and keep them in a zip top bag.

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Once an Asshole. Trying to be better. Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Chanus wrote:
    So I made stock over the weekend and I'm currently making a Mexicanish beef soup and I just did a preliminary taste and....oh my fucking god....this shit is good!

    Thank you all!

    Question:

    How do I accumulate enough chicken carcass for stock making? I'm only one person and I honestly can't eat chicken constantly.

    If you don't find yourself in possession of a chicken carcass very often, you can just use bullion cubes or a carton of chicken stock. They make them in reduced-salt varieties as well, because sometimes they can be almost like brine.

    You probably won't notice a huge difference not making it yourself, and it saves a lot of time.

    Pfffft....this shit I made is like a million times better then any store brought stock I ever brought. It's like they dipped a carton in the dead sea and wrote 'chicken broth' on it.

    Casually Hardcore on
  • ChanusChanus I've seen things... Registered User regular
    Yes, it is most assuredly better... but, just saying... if you don't have access to supplies, it will do in a pinch.

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  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON IndiaRegistered User regular
    You can also make vegetable stock if you can't eat that many chickens.

  • PryanPryan Registered User
    edited August 2011
    Chicken wings. If you don't eat whole chickens as frequently as I do (I'm considered a serial killer by poultry, tons of frozen carcasses in my freezer...) grab some of those family packs of chicken wings when they are on sale. Wings are great for stock because they have a nice meat to bone ratio, and are full of collagen which converts to gelatin, and gelatin is awesome. The only thing to watch out for with wings, is they are fatty and can make your stock greasy. You could remove the skin, but I prefer to just chill the stock and remove the schmaltz (chicken fat) before freezing or using. Schmaltz is amazing too, so that's a win as well.

    Pryan on
  • NoisymunkNoisymunk Registered User regular
    Rhode Island Style Clam Chowder

    1 medium onion - diced
    2 stalks celery - sliced thin
    1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
    4 yukon gold potatoes or red potatoes cut into bit size chunks
    1 8 oz bottle of clam juice
    water
    bay leaf
    1 or 2 cans chopped clams
    kosher salt
    freshly ground black pepper

    Sweat the onion and celery in a tablespoon of oil and a pinch of salt on medium low heat in a heavy bottomed pot until the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the potatoes, clam juice, bay leaf and add water until the potatoes are submerged, about 4 cups depending on the size of the potatoes and your pot. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are done, test them by sticking one with a fork. If the potato falls off or splits in half, it's cooked. Bring the heat down to low, remove the bay leaf and add the chopped clams. If you really like clams use 2 cans. I usually use Snows brand, because it's readily available, but if you have access to fresh stuff from a fish monger, even better. Let the clams cook on low for 5 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. It's probably going to take a good bit of salt, because the broth is basically water and clam juice.

    The whole chowder comes together in about 30 minutes, it's quick and easy and so good. I add sliced carrots to the celery and onion, because I like the color and they taste good.

    My wife and I have this frequently, with a hunk of crusty bread and a good cheddar cheese. It's got a delicate clam flavor without the heaviness of a cream based chowder. If you have a deep fryer or a dutch oven, do up some clam fritters for the authentic rhode island experience.

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  • PryanPryan Registered User
    For an exacting Rhode Island simulation you must call the fritters "clam cakes," eat the chowder with a tablespoon or two of half-and-half added table-side, drink coffee milk, and not use your turn signals for the rest of the day.

  • NoisymunkNoisymunk Registered User regular
    Pryan wrote:
    For an exacting Rhode Island simulation you must call the fritters "clam cakes," eat the chowder with a tablespoon or two of half-and-half added table-side, drink coffee milk, and not use your turn signals for the rest of the day.

    This guy, this guy right heah.

    brDe918.jpg
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    My mom has some great recipes for soups on her site. She's a master.

    http://shesinthekitchen.blogspot.com/search/label/soups

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