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How To Make Soup
Learning how to make soup – or just brushing up your soup-making skills – is a fantastic idea. Whether you're looking for a light dish to start off your meal, or looking for a main course, cooking soup is a great choice... and you can't get better than a delicious, homemade soup.
Soup for lunch, soup for dinner, or soup as a starter... it's just so versatile!
But even better, soup is great for you. Any good soup starts with a stock. Whether you use a chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, it's packed full of nutrients. And when you're cooking soup, you don't lose a thing – all the nutrients from your ingredients stay right in the pot.
But first, you need to know how to make soup! Well, cooking soup isn't hard at all, but if you want great results, there are a few guidelines to follow.
I'll do quick overview in this article, but you can browse deeper for more details about each step of the process. First, I'll talk about one of the most important parts, and the base of any great soup: stock. Then I'll go over the different types of soups. You'll know how to make soup in no time!
First things first: what is stock? Well, it's nothing complicated. It's just the liquid you get when you simmer meat and bones (or vegetables for a vegetable stock) together with aromatic vegetables and seasonings.
Knowing how to make stock is one of the most important parts about knowing how to make soup.
Stock is the base of a soup. It's the liquid part that you cook your meat and vegetables in. When you're cooking soup, start with a great stock. It'll add a lot of depth of flavor to your soup.
You can buy stock in cans or boxes in stores, but believe me, if you have the time at all, it's worth making homemade stock. It takes a bit of time, but almost no effort, and you have full control over what ends up in your stock. You end up with less fat, less salt, and more flavor.
On top of it all, it's a whole lot cheaper. Really, you can't go wrong making your own stock!
If you're not sure how to do it, check out our articles on making your own stock:
- Find out all about making chicken stock in this two-part article:
- If you're making a beef-based soup, you need a beef stock... and homemade is always best. Check out our article on how to make beef stock for more information.
It might seem like there are too many kinds of soup to count, but actually you can fit almost any soup into one of these categories:
An important part about knowing how to make soup is knowing what type of soup you're trying to make. Once you know that, there are usually just a few guidelines to follow. There's a lot of room for you to improvise when you're cooking soup!
Clear soups are the simplest of soups. Instead of adding a whole lot of ingredients like vegetables, meat or grains, you focus on the stock itself, by concentrating it even more or getting it to a jelly-like consistency.
Clear soups are simple, but not all of them are so simple to make. You need to clarify the stock and get it at just the right concentration. It can add some challenge – but also some fun – to cooking soup.
Broth, consommé and jellied soups are some examples of clear soups.
Meat and Vegetable Soups
This category covers a whole variety of soups, from chicken noodle to minestrone to borscht to chowders, and many, many more.
For this soup type, you start with a vegetable or meat stock, and add chunks of vegetables, meat, rice or grains, beans or noodles, and spices. Then you just simmer it until all the ingredients are cooked.
The possibilities are almost endless. If you can make a meat and vegetable soup, you already know a lot about how to make soup!
A meat and veggie soup is also a great way to get rid of leftovers... in fact, my parents used to call it a “what's in the fridge soup”. Anything goes, so long as you like it! And that makes cooking soup easy.
For more details, check out our article about making a homemade vegetable soup.
A puréed soup is just what the name implies. You start with vegetable or meat stock, add some vegetables, and purée the whole thing.
Of course, there's a bit more to making it than that... check out our article on making puréed soups for some tips and tricks to help you get awesome results every time.
A cream soup is any soup where you thicken the broth with milk or cream. Although it's not something I'd want to eat every day, it's one of my favorite types of soup, like a special treat.
Since the focus of a cream soup is the velvety texture of the liquid, you generally don't have a lot of chunks of veggies or meat in a cream soup. Instead, you'd use a purée or little bits of veggies to give extra flavor.
If you'd like to know more about how to make soup, check out our article on making cream soups. It'll guide you through the process of making any cream soup.
There are a whole lot of fish soups out there. Actually, some of them could probably fall under some of the other categories. Seafood bisques are cream soups, and chowders are very much like the meat and vegetable soups.
But fish is a little bit special. First of all, it has a pretty distinct flavor that sets it apart from the rest. But it's also a little bit trickier to prepare. Fish doesn't need to cook as long as some of the other parts of the soup, so it needs to be added at just the right time. It makes cooking soup just a little bit more challenging.
Well, that's all about how to make soup. Now you're ready to get started in the kitchen!
These articles should be enough for you to make soup or stock on your own, but if you'd rather start with a recipe, check out our homemade soup recipes.
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