There’s something about the cold weather that makes us crave soup on a regular basis; that warm, full feeling is wonderful after a long day at work or school. If you ask most people how to make soup now-a-days they’ll tell you to simply open the can, maybe add water or milk and then cook. An answer that would make most grandmothers frown and great grandmothers want to smack us up the backside of the head.
Anyway, while yes, there are plenty of yummy soups available via aluminum can, homemade soups offer an easy way to add veggies into your family’s diet and let’s be honest here people, they are relatively easy to make. Whether you’re cooking on the stove or with a crockpot, making your favorite soup boils down to two basic bases.
The first base is a primarily water/stock base, usually chicken, beef or vegetable broth. If you don’t want to make your own stock (basically it’s meat or veggies boiled in water), you can use the canned or box version. From here you can add everything from vegetables to beans, pasta to meatballs. Seasonings make a big difference here since so much of the soup is stock or water. For soups like chicken noodle add plenty of seasonings along with chopped garlic, white onion and carrots. Add chopped cooked chicken (if it is not already included), then the noodles. No offense to Campbell’s, which is good, but homemade chicken noodle soup is truly amazing on cold nights or when someone is sick. The garlic, herbs and steamy broth will help sore throats and stuffy noses feel better. Even without meat, the mixture is great for colds. When I am fighting the cold/flu I will simply heat a mixture of dried herbs from the garden, fresh garlic and vegetable broth to drink. It does wonders.
The second base is for cream soups. For these you can simply melt butter, add milk or cream and then flour. Now, before we go any further, do yourself a favor and use gravy flour. No offense to regular flour, which is also good, but gravy flour mixes in really easy without any lumps prior to boiling and helps your soup develop a thick creamy texture even if you use low-fat milk. You can find it in the same grocery aisle as regular flour. From there add broth, seasonings, garlic, etc. Here’s the fun part… if you want cream of mushroom soup, add mushrooms. Cream of potato? Add some potatoes. Clam chowder? Pretend like you're making cream of potato and then throw some clams (and their juices) in there. So on and so on. Cook and stir until the veggies are soft.
I should probably include specific measurements. I basically just wanted to encourage you to try making homemade soup. It’s an easy way to use vegetables that are just sitting in the fridge or fresh ones from the garden. Partner with homemade bread, rolls or cornbread for a nice feast on cool nights.