Soup for the Soul

Butternut Squash Soup – to puree, I simply blend with my Vitamix, in several batches, then redistribute into a pot.

On this particular day, I made 12 quarts – I made to share with friends.

I ladle into casserole dishes as such, and when cooled, I put on the lid and store in freezer. When frozen, I pop them out and use my FoodSaver to wrap them up, pen in type of soup, date made, then put into deep freeze. The FoodSaver systems help to save money. Free of freezer burn for up to one year – I’ve own a system since 1997.

When I first started experimenting with soup – first making a base, then using that base as just a layer to make the soup, I thought “how daunting!”. I guess anything one is doing for the very first time can appear that way.

I experimented with Chinese soups because I felt most comfortable making them on my own. After observing my mom for years, I had acquired enough intel to do it all by myself.

Every good soup starts off with a solid base. For example, when I am making a beef based soup, I start a big pot of hot water over the stove and start to gather the ingredients – lots of beef bones and aromatics such as carrots, celery, onion, shallots, and garlic, to give a few examples. I prep the bones by rinsing them with a bit of salt – this is something I have done forever – packaged meats, turkey, etc. always get a salt rinse/rub prior to use. Ground meats, there isn’t much I can do there.

Bean n Veggie Soup

Cooling

Throw into the deep freezer

Chicken n Vegetable Soup

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Here is my process:

Base:
Salt rinse/rub bones/meat used for soup. Dice the meat into cubes and throw into marinade or seasoning. When the pot of water comes to a boil, throw in the bones and aromatics, and bring to a boil. You will see foamy brown floaties rise to the surface – some people toss out the bones and drain in a colander while some, like myself, use a fine mesh sieve to lift off the foam frequently.

When the bones and aromatics are at boiling, turn heat down to medium-low for an hour. Remove the bones and vegetables, and any foam. Turn heat down to a simmer.

I am an efficient person, so I try to do as much as I can ahead of time, or during the time it takes the pot of water to boil.

Meat:
In a saucepan, brown the marinated beef pieces and then add to the pot, along with 2-3 bay leaves.

Vegetables:
Dice them into desired sizes and add them all to the pot.

Spices:
I like to pre-measure all my spices into a bowl, then toss them into the pot at once. Keep on simmer and check every so often. Once vegetables reach desired softness, then soup is ready.

My preference is to sauté onions, garlic, and shallots in spices prior to adding them into the pot. It adds a smokiness to the mix.

Adding beans? I do the following to barley and chickpeas as well.
I prefer to soak my own beans, and add them in at the same time as the meat. My method for soaking beans: Rinse and drain a couple times, then add 3 parts water over the beans, to allow expansion. Allow it to soak overnight. In the morning, rinse and rinse again, drain.

Pasta or Orzo:
I toss these in within the last half hour of simmer stage. Stir frequently upon adding into the pot so pasta or orzo does not clump together.

Kernels of Corn:
Toss in within final half hour of simmer stage.

Potatoes:
Add in within the last hour of simmer stage.

Split Pea n Ham Soup, ready to go into the freezer

I don’t freeze all my soup, but rather, keep some in mason jars for a couple days’ maximum. Shown here are Bean; Chicken n Vegetable; and a Chinese dessert soup.

I’d love to hear what you like to add into your soups. I love trying new things. Please share when you get the chance.

Thanks!

And thank you for your patience. Life got busy, as all of ours do, and I really wanted to share some more of my experiences with you.

 

 

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This entry was posted by Lillian on Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 at 6:41 pm and is filed under Chicken, Chinese, Desserts / Pastries, From the Garden, Meat, Slow Cooker Cooking. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.