How to Make a Soup Without a Recipe
When you want to make soup, you may have things around to use, but don't
know which recipe to choose, or feel like following a recipe. Maybe you
just don't feel like shopping. Here is an easy answer - make a great soup
without really trying or following a recipe.
1Find a pot large enough for the soup. A two quart (1.89 liter) pot is
minimum, but 4-8 quarts (3.7 liters - 7.6 liters) would be best.<
2Decide on what kind of soup you want. Basic ingredients include meat,
vegetables, and fruit. Basic soup styles include hot or cold, thick or
thin, and cream or clear (consomm¨¦).
3Determine what ingredients you have on hand. Start with water, flavoured
with anything (to make a "stock"). You can use any meat, fresh fish
parts, poultry, canned stock or dry cubes, or even just plain onions.
4Determine what your soup will look like at the end. How thick will it
be? What colour? How chunky or smooth? You can build your soup to turn
out the way you want it to. For warmer weather, the soup should be less
dense, lighter in texture, and possibly even cold. For colder weather,
prefer soup that is thick, hot, and filling.
5Find basic stock flavourings. These can include: onions, garlic,
potatoes, celery, carrots, tomatoes, parsley, herbs, salt, pepper,
spices, vinegar, and lemon.
6Decide if you will use dry beans or grains. Dry beans require pre-
soaking overnight, or for at least 12 hours in cold water, to allow them
to cook in 1-2 hours. You can speed things up by using canned beans.
Grains such as buckwheat or brown rice need up to an hour to cook.
7Start adding ingredients to the stock. If you are using meat, add that
first, with onions, celery and carrots, and tomatoes, if using. This base
needs to cook for an hour at least.
8Add dry beans (soaked) and hard grains with the meats, or at the
beginning of making a vegetable soup.
9Add vegetables in the order of their hardness. For pure vegetable soups,
add the vegetables at the beginning of boiling. For meat soups, add the
vegetables at least half an hour after beginning to boil the meats. Wash,
peel (if desired), and cut vegetables into uniform bite-sized pieces
before adding them to the soup.
10Cook at a simmer until the meat is very tender or until hard vegetables
and grains are tender. Remove all meat bones. You may cool the soup now
and finish cooking later, or even on the next day. If you do, skim off
any hardened meat fat before re-heating it.
11Add soft foods at the end. Soft foods such as pasta and risoni don't
need a lot of cooking and will disintegrate if they're overcooked. Leave
them for the last 10-15 minutes of cooking.
12If you want a pureed soup (namely, a soup without any lumps), remove
any meat bones and use a blender, hand puree tool, or food processor.
(Warning: Hot liquids are very unpredictable in blenders. Be sure to
start slowly or else the liquid may explode out the top and burn you!)
Take small batches of the solid foods and whirl them with a bit of the
stock. Return it to the pot or a separate bowl temporarily. Then return
all the pureed soup to the pot and keep it warm.
13Add cream if you want a creamed soup. Add up to a cup of milk, cream or
half-and-half to the soup, and let it become hot. Do not boil it.
14Serve with any garnishes you want.<
You may arrange the colour of your soup as follows:red = tomatoes,
paprika, chilli, sweet potatoes, carrots.
white = chicken, white rice, mushrooms, potatoes, cauliflower, pasta,
green = spinach, summer squash, greens, peas, cabbage, broccoli.
mixed = grains, beans, beef/lamb.
You may determine the texture of the soup as follows:smooth = puree and
chunky = bits of meat and grains/vegetables.
clear = chicken stock which is strained, then add lettuce, mushrooms,
cabbage, tofu. *You may choose the basic flavour of your soup as follows:
meaty = meat, onions, garlic, potatoes.
mild = potatoes, light herbs such as parsley or marjoram, rice,
mushrooms, mild greens such as spinach.
creamy = cream, yogurt.
spicy = garlic, lemon, chilli, ginger, curry, Tabasco.
sweet/sour = vinegar plus brown sugar.
Hard vegetables include: onions, carrots, potatoes, turnips, rutabagas,
winter squash, pumpkin.
Medium vegetables include: summer squash, parsnips, celery, bell peppers,
peas, green beans, mushrooms, cabbages, cauliflower, and broccoli.
Soft vegetables to be added only 20 minutes before serving include: all
greens, chard, kale, sprouts, lettuce.
Garnishes can include: toasted nuts or seeds, fresh cut herbs, cheese
toast to float on top, dumplings, raw sliced mushrooms, a bit of sour
cream or yogurt, grated cheese, croutons.
If you begin a soup and plan to continue later, wait until you re-heat
the soup before adding any soft vegetables and foods (including left-
overs). Do not add cream until the moment that you are ready to serve.
Consider the flavours you plan to mix. Start with the basics of meat (or
potatoes/grains), onions, herbs and garlic. Be aware of strong flavoured
ingredients and don't over-mix them. These include: buckwheat, turnips,
mint, chilli, bell pepper, sage, and lemon.
For blander foods, try to add something to liven the flavours. Bland
foods include: white rice, chicken, mushrooms, lettuce, zucchini,
potatoes. Use lemon juice, pepper, chilli, oregano, garlic to liven them
Find leftover cooked foods to add at the end if you wish. These could
include bits of: stew, macaroni and cheese, old bread (for thickening),
take-out Chinese or Indian foods, meat loaf, cooked oatmeal (for
thickening), cooked vegetables, applesauce, salad dressing (for flavour),
ketchup, hard-boiled eggs.
Avoid using eggplant, okra, or strong greens such as mustard.
Taste the soup after half an hour, and at half hour intervals. Does it
need more flavor? Add salt or flavours sparingly. Is it really spicy? Add
white rice, bread, or even more water.
Write the combinations that you enjoy. Classic soups include potato/leek,
peas/mint, bean/tomato, cabbage/tomato, clam/potato, and lamb/barley.
Be ready to try whatever you have on the shelf. Add a can of tomatoes,
corn, beans, any other soup, juice, or a package of Asian noodles, rice-
a-roni, even granola.
Beans and grains make a soup thicker, less clear. Avoid them for a clear
Often a soup grows too large with the addition of too many ingredients.
You may start with only one potato, one onion, etc. but soon it gets
large. Limit your vegetables to 3-4, and one bean or grain or pasta, in
order to not make too much.
Fruit soups and cheese soups are more specialized and may require a
recipe the first time you try them. Try something else first.
<Things you¡¯ll need
4-8 quart soup pot with lid
Large wooden or other spoon to reach the bottom of the pan
Measuring cup or coffee mug to measure liquids
Strainer or cheese cloth for clearing soup stocks
Blender or food processor for purees
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