Not only does this give us an inexpensive meal, but it eliminates the need to buy expensive lunch food items such as lunch meat which isn’t always very healthy anyway.
What started out as a very hum-drum pedestrian sort of meal has become a Monday evening ritual. I look forward to gathering the ingredients, usually just making do with what I have on hand, and assembling them early afternoon. Then, all afternoon we’ll enjoy the aroma as it simmers.
Joined by a loaf of bread, and a salad if the garden is producing, we’ve never had the same meal twice. Here are a few things I’ve discovered that make for a really great pot:
1. Start with a mirepoix
A simple mixture of equal parts carrot, celery, and onion (read more about dehydrating this mixture as a soup starter here). Depending on our mood, I may or may not add garlic to the mix. If my soup is tomato based I may add a few tablespoons of tomato paste to the mix.
Allow it to cook slowly and don’t move to the next step until they are soft and translucent.
2. Add Vermouth
When my mirepoix is just right I will sprinkle some thyme over the top of it and add a splash of vermouth. I allow it to cook, stirring up any browned bits, until the onions have absorbed the flavor and are almost syrupy. Taking your time here will give the stock depth and flavor.
3. Use stock
I don’t use water ever. I always use a stock of some sort, preferably a nice gelatinous bone broth.
4. Experiment with different ingredients
Next I add a small amount of meat. While shredded chicken and chopped ham are nice we really enjoy a sausage of some sort such as Italian removed from the casings or sliced Andouille.
I also like to try greens in lieu of potatoes ~ greens like Swiss chard and kale. I will add these just a few minutes before serving.
5. If using a grain or a pasta, cook separately
I don’t like mushy grains and pastas; but we do occasionally like them in our soup. I have found it works best to cook them separately to our liking, and then add a small serving to the bottom of the bowl before ladling in the soup.
6. Finish it off nice!
…with sour cream, cultured cream, grated cheese, and/or croutons. Another favorite is to float a slice of toasted French bread and broiled cheese. This takes it up a notch and makes it something special as opposed to “just a bowl of soup”.
What are your tips for a great pot of soup?