This soup season, kick your soups up a notch! Whether creamy or broth based, blended or chunky, soup during the cold winter months is a wonderful way to summon warmth and comfort. Here are some quick and easy tips to take your soups to the next level!
Get a head start on the depth of flavors from homemade stock!
Make your own stock from leftover roasted turkey, chicken, or ham bones. First, strip the meat and set aside for later use, the bone will be used to make the stock. Combine the bones with vegetables such as onion, celery, and carrots. Cover with water and add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then simmer for at least 4 hours. Strain the stock and add the meat back in along with a fresh batch of vegetables to finish making your soup. If you can’t make the stock right away, you can freeze the bones for later use. If you can’t use the freshly made stock right away, you can freeze that, too!
Boost your flavors!
Oven roasting vegetables deepens the flavors. You can roast them for making the stock or roast them before adding to your soup. Great veggies for roasting are root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Peppers, celery, onions, and mushrooms are also great candidates for roasting. An easy way to roast vegetables:
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Cube your veggies and spread them in a single layer on a sheet pan. Drizzle them with your favorite kind of oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs such as parsley, thyme, or rosemary.
- Roast the vegetables for 30 minutes or until you can easily pierce them. Check the vegetables every 10 minutes or so to avoid burning.
- Combine the roasted vegetables with the rest of your ingredients.
Toast your spices!
Briefly dry toasting spices brings out and deepens their flavors. An easy way to toast your spices:
- Choose a heavy pan that’s large enough for the spices to fit in a single layer.
- Heat the pan over medium-low heat and add your spices. Stir constantly to keep the spices from burning.
- Use your sense of smell to determine when the spices are nice and toasty. You will be able to smell the rich aroma of the fragrant spices. Remove from the pan to stop the spices from over-toasting. Let cool and then add to your soup!
Toppings and garnishes are fun to add to any soup! They also give more flavor and texture. Toppings can be as simple as fresh herbs, crackers, or grated cheese. Other tasty topping ideas are toasted croutons, diced tomatoes, scallions, a dollop of sour cream, or crispy bacon.