A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Delicious Soups Everytime!
This video describes the steps necessary for creating delicious tasting veggie soups. We talk with Matt Kramer of InYourKitchen to get the tips that the experts use. Special tips are included for adding onions, herbs, spices, and leafy greens to soups and stews for a flavorful addition. It details how to sauté the onions before seasoning, how to use the liquid of choice, and to salt food appropriately. Additionally, it explains how to add thickening agents such as arrow root or corn starch, as well as neutral vegetables to adjust the consistency.
TRANSCRIPTION OF VIDEO:
Q: What are the basic steps or techniques to making a soup? When you're building a soup, what are the important parts and why are they important?
A: Any vegetable soup or a stew is going to start the same way. You choose the vegetables that you want to use. And in pretty much every soup that I create, there's always something from the onion family. Onions do a ton in terms of adding flavor to something you're cooking.
I often use this description ... if you were to say puree butternut squash, but you were just pureeing the butternut squash and then cooking that and then you're done and you did the same. It's essentially like eating baby food.
But as soon as you add onion into it and you add other kinds of aromatics and other herbs and spices, then it becomes something more savory and more complex. So onions are great because they go really well with virtually everything and they add a lot of flavor, but not in such a way that it takes over.
There's always something from the onion family and there's always equal parts to whatever the other vegetables are. So if I were to be making cream of broccoli soup as an example, I would start with the same amount of onions as I'm using broccoli.
You want to do is saute or seal the vegetables. You get a coating of oil on them. It doesn't have to be a lot of oil and a lot of people obviously want to cook with less oil. It doesn't have to be a lot. So you get the oil heated up in the pan, I'd throw the onions in, I would saute the onion and get them slightly browned . Then I'd add whatever other vegetables are going in and do the same thing. And then I would add in the aromatics that I'm putting in - like a ginger and aromatic garlic. And so I'm getting them coated with oil. I'm getting some browning or caramelization on them. Essentially what you're doing at that point is you're building flavor.
You've all had the experience of what a vegetable tastes like that has been cooked and seared and got some browning on it versus not. And there's a marked difference in how they taste. One is going to be a little bit sweeter than the other and a little bit more complex.
And so that's an important step because you're building the base flavor of the soup. So once you have everything coated, you've sauteed your sealed, and now you're going to add in the herbs and the spices as well. So you may, let's say I'm making a soup with thyme as my primary - sort of dried herb.
I would add that in on top of the sauteed vegetables. Adding them at this point is important because the oil does a lot in terms of releasing flavor from the thyme itself. There are compounds in herbs and spices that are oil or fat soluble. So using oil actually helps a lot in building flavor.
I would add herbs in at this point. If I were to say add in the dried herbs later on after they added all the liquid, they probably would not be nearly as flavorful and they might even kind of have a grassy taste to them, which is not all that great.
So now that you've gone through step one and step two. one was to saute your vegetables and two is to add your herbs and your spices.
Step three would be to add the cooking liquid that you're going to be using. And so this could be water. If you are using enough seasoning in herbs, spices and vegetables already - it could just be water. Or it could be a vegetable stock at that point. Could even be a nut milk as your main cooking liquid for your soup. Once you add that in, you're largely there.
You now you have the total volume set because you have the vegetables in, you have the liquid in, you have your herbs and spices in. Now you want to add salt because now I know how much liquid is there. I'm going to salt in accordance with how much soup I actually have. I think of it again in terms of layers of soup and a layer being - if you had vegetable soup and you took a spoon of it out and you put it on your cutting board or on your table, it would have a kind of relative thickness to it either made up by the vegetables or from the liquid itself. And that's equivalent of a layer. And so you estimate, You'll see that you may have 20 layers of soup and I'm going to salt to fit that volume. I roughly calibrate over time, but I take a pinch of salt and do a zigzag over the top of the pot and that's one pass and it's one layer. And so 20 layers, I'll do that 20 times until I get there.
I think about all of my dry herbs and spices in the same context of layers. And so when I'm early on when building the soup, we have it at the cooking liquid in, but we're adding in our dried thyme or whatever else we're adding in, I will sort of envision how much am I going to have here and I will add in the appropriate amount that way.
The Magic of Heavy-Handed Herbs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking the Perfect Soup.
You can be pretty heavy handed with a lot of these herbs. I'd say more often than not, it's almost I feel like, well maybe I didn't add enough. It's, it's sort of rare that I'm like, wow, I added way too much of, of a particular herb. So especially when you're dealing with a lot of liquid - that flavor is going to get distributed.
So yeah, be heavy handed. So now you've salted everything and now you really just need to simmer it for 10 minutes or so to give the salt the opportunity to kind of do its work, do its magic. After you've salted it to your appropriate amount, in about 10 minutes or so will give the salt the opportunity to do its work. But also if you're, if you're doing something like a stew where you have much thicker chunks of vegetables, you want to give things opportunity to cook through.
And so you're going to check and see what items are going to take the longest to cook. And that's sort of your gauge. And so you may have big pieces of carrots in there, which take a little bit, but they're going to need some time to soften up appropriately. And so then it's, check it, taste it, use a little intuition. You're like, okay, that's good.
That's the nuts and bolts of it. If you're looking to make a cream style soup or something that you're going to blend and let's say it was a cream of broccoli soup, this is sort of at the point where you would probably blend it and get it to the consistency you want and then you may actually adjust it because it's too thin or it's too thick. And then so you can then adjust with more or less liquid.
Let's say it's got too much liquid. You might let that evaporate a bit or you could use arrow root to thicken things up and for every cup of liquid is about a tablespoon of arrow root. You do not just throw in arrow root - it behaves the same way corn starch does. If you just threw it in, it would clump up and you'd end up with lots of lumps. And so you would take your thickener, like your arrow root or your corn starch and you would put that in cool liquid and you would get that completely dissolved and then you would add it in and incorporate it and wait about 10 minutes for that to take effect and to thicken it a little bit. Or you know, you might add a neutral vegetable, like a potato or or cauliflower that you want to add in. You'd have to cook it down and then put it in.