Soup is one of the easiest and most satisfying things to make. Almost anything goes when it comes to soup, and if you make a lot of it, you will have lunches for days, or you can freeze it and have ready-made dinner for the next week. Here is the basic formula for making pretty much any kind of soup you like.
Basic Hearty Soup
This recipe is intended to serve 4 people, but it can be easily doubled or tripled. Even when made for 4, there are always leftovers.
Over medium-high, saute aromatics in 2 tbsp. olive oil until golden. For most soups, you can’t go wrong with onion and garlic. Adding carrots and celery is a safe bet for traditional soups.
- 4 cups mixed chopped vegetables — any will do, but I prefer vegetables that aren’t too watery, so I usually don’t use zucchini, summer squash or eggplant.
- 1 cup canned or cooked beans, chicken, fish, shrimp or even clams for some protein — you will probably want to save the seafood until the soup is almost done cooking so it doesn’t get overcooked
- 1 cup starch, such as pasta, rice, orzo, whole grains or potatoes
- 1 can chopped tomatoes (optional)
- 8 cups water or stock
Add seasoning of your choice. Salt and pepper are mandatory. Dried herb mix is a good addition.
Chef’s tip! If you have a rind from a Parmesan cheese sitting around, throw it in–it will really enrich the flavor.
Bring it all to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until all the vegetables are tender and everything is cooked. This could take anywhere from 15-45 minutes depending on what kinds of proteins and starches you added. Just keep checking it every 10-15 minutes.
Garnish! Think of garnishes as like the accessories for your dish. Don’t overdo it, but a few well chosen garnishes can really make the outfit. Fresh herbs will always brighten the flavor. Grated cheese is nice, as are croutons. Or go outside the box: a dollop of pesto, toasts topped with cheese and broiled, diced avocado, raw bean sprouts, whatever you like. This is your soup.