Eating chicken soup can be pure therapy. It can soothe jangled nerves, lighten loads, and soothe anxiety. Making chicken soup can be equally as comforting. If you’re looking for a calming ritual this winter, try mastering the art of homemade chicken soup.
You may be a novice in the kitchen, but your soup doesn’t need to reflect that. Try these tips for turning out chicken soup like a top chef:
- Sweat the vegetables – Veggies can add extra dimensions of flavor to your soup. Most soup recipes include aromatic vegetables – garlic, onion, carrots, and celery. You can squeeze every last drop of flavor out of these veggies when you sautée them in butter. Cook the vegetables long enough for them to turn soft and release their natural flavors before moving to the next step of the recipe.
- Consider individual cook times – Different ingredients cook for different amounts of time. What’s worse than ending up with a big pot of soggy noodles with undercooked carrots? To avoid this, figure out which vegetables need to cook the longest (such as carrots) and add them well in advance of short-cooking veggies (such as peas). Carefully add the noodles or dumplings at the end in accordance with their suggested cook time.
- Go for spoon size – Spoons will ultimately scoop the vegetables in the soup, so chop the vegetables to spoon size. Huge chunks may not cook evenly and can be unwieldy to eat.
- Go easy on the salt – Save the addition of salt to the end of your cooking. Ingredients contain different levels of salt. Broth and butter, for example, already lend sodium to your recipe. You may need less salt than you think.
- Invest in good stock – The most important ingredient of a clear soup is the stock. Poorly flavored stock can ruin an entire pot’s worth of soup. Consider starting your recipe with a homemade stock.
- Simmer – Boiling your soup vigorously will end in mushy vegetables and tough meat. The best way to cook your soup is to simmer it slowly until all the ingredients are cooked. Start well in advance of dinner so you won’t have to rush.
- “Flavorize” noodles – When preparing noodle soup, never cook the noodles separately. Make the noodles the final addition to your soup, and cook until tender, allowing the noodles to absorb the flavor of the soup. Noodles cooked separately can be dull and insipid.
- Prep milk products– If you are adding cream or milk to your soup, warm it first to keep it from curdling when it hits the hot broth.
- Double the recipe – Grab a hefty-sized pot and double up on your ingredients. Soups are easy to make in large batches and they are freezer-friendly, too. It will be comforting to know that you have an extra batch of soup right in your freezer, ready to be enjoyed after defrosting.
Cooking your own soup makes eating soup doubly rewarding. You can decompress in the kitchen, then relax even more while enjoying the fruits of your labors.