Soup Season runs from October to May in our house. That’s the fall-winter-spring arc in these latitudes when Soup is universally popular for lunch and warm-me-up snacks. If you’re buying soup, either condensed in a can or gourmet-prepared in a bag, you’re paying too much and losing out on the fun of making your own…
Soup is just about the easiest entrée you can make. It’s a one-pot meal and has everything you want in it. But if you buy canned or bagged soup, you’re missing out not only on the fun and sense of accomplishment you get from making your own, but you’re cooking it again and driving even more of the nutrition and flavour out of it. And you’re probably getting more Salt than you really want.
There’s also the angle that you get to include – and exclude – ingredients according to your taste. That’s priceless!
Making Soup to your own specs…
All you need to make soup is broth, and something to put in it.
You can make your own broth by simmering the bones from any kind of meat, poultry or fish. You can even make Vegetable broth by simmering aromatic veggies like Onions, Carrots and Celery together. Or, you can buy it in a box at the supermarket. They even have low-salt versions of most commercial broths, now.
Next, add your solids.
My plan tonight…
I’m simmering the bone from our Easter Ham tonight, to make a rich Ham and Veggie Soup. I’ll simmer the bone for about an hour in a big pot, in about 8 cups / 1 L of water. When the meat has fallen off the bone, I’ll remove the bone. After removing any residual meat from the bone, I’ll add it back to the Soup, and give the broth a stir to see if there are any large pieces of meat that need to be cut up smaller.
Then, I’ll add a handful of frozen Sweet Corn Kernels, a handful of frozen Green Peas, a handful of diced Carrots, a handful of slivered Onion and a handful of freshly diced Celery. Some folks add a handful of diced Tomato, as well. I may also add a half cup or so of Canned Chick Peas or cubed Red Potatoes, for starch, to make it a complete meal. This is also a good time to add any Herbs and Spices you want. I’ll add a few whole Cloves, a couple of pinches of Rosemary, and Salt and Pepper to taste.
Simmer the whole mixture for another half hour at least – or until the chock peas are soft – and serve with toast points, dumplings, warmed Tortillas or Naan bread.
And there you have it!
Making Soup is mostly waiting for the pot to simmer. If you’re not ‘boiling the bones’ to make your own broth, it’s even faster and easier. Just skip to the part where you add the Solids! No matter which route you take, do enjoy making your own soup this chilly spring…
~ Maggie J.