How many times have you tried to make a flavourful, piping hot bowl of soup only to have it fall a little flat? And hey, even if you do a pretty good job at making soup, there are a few tricks you can do to turn any ordinary pot of soup into an unforgettable experience.
The girls of One World Kitchen (Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Gusto), Hana Dethlefsen, Natalia Machado, Vanessa Gianfrancesco and Pailin Chongchitnant, went over a few not-so-well-known secrets with us to help us perfect soup-making abilities. And we’re not going to lie, most of these tips took us completely by surprise.
1. Start with a good stock
Don’t even think about throwing everything into a pot of water. You’re too good for that and frankly, you deserve so much more.
“The key to getting a really good soup is a strong, natural stock,” said Machado.
First, create a great soup base, whether it be a chicken, beef, fish or vegetable stock and then add everything else in. You can’t make a great soup unless you have great flavour, after all.
2. Use homemade chicken wings
Making a ‘wow’-worthy chicken soup takes more than just boiling chicken in some water. If you want to impress anyone, you’re going to want to boil a lot of chicken bones for added flavour.
“I have a shortcut for… making stock: I use chicken wings because there’s so many bones that if you put them in water, there’s stock,” Chongchitnant told us. “Cut the wings apart so they’re smaller so the flavour comes out.”
Or if you don’t have the time to wait for your chicken stock to finish cooking before you start making your own soup, you could always buy pre-made stock from a store. But there’s something about a nice homemade broth that always makes us melt.
3. Keep it fresh
Never ever add canned veggies to your pot. In fact, we’re going to take it a step further and suggest that you add in out of season produce. Would you believe us if we told you that it’d be possible to keep your winter soups tasting like spring without blowing all your money away on overpriced, non-fresh produce?
You’re about to love what Gianfrancesco suggested:”Most Italian soups have vegetables in them. We like to grow everything fresh in the summer, and then save and freeze everything so we can make soups later on and still have that garden freshness all year long.”
Mic drop. That’s right, if you grow your vegetables ahead of time (or at least freeze them for the colder months), your soup will be packed not only with flavour, but also with freshness.
4. Get to know miso soup
“There’s a strong misconception that it’s just miso and water,” said Dethlefsen. “The base is kelp and stock, and the miso is just a little added flavour at the end.”
In other words, don’t just dump some miso in water and hope that it turns out great–because it won’t. Put your miso in at the very end, only after your kelp and soup stock has enough time to cook first.
5. Add herbs in last
No one likes wilted herbs that evaporate into nothingness as soon as you take a bite of them. In soup, most of the time, you want your herbs to carry an element of freshness throughout the dish, which won’t happen if you overcook your herbs. So if you want your soup to be fully flavoured, adding your herbs in should be the last thing that you do.
6. Patience is everything
Good things do in fact come to those who wait, especially when it comes to cooking.
“A really big part of a soup is patience. Take the time to reduce the soup until it becomes a broth,” Machado stated.
7. Soups taste better after resting
Put your pot of soup in the fridge for at least a few hours to give all the flavours time to mingle together. After it’s sat for a bit, you can heat it up and dig in. It’ll be well worth the wait, we promise.