Editorial, Soup

10 tips for making great soups

I love soups. It’s really delicious and full of good things. In winter, I prepare at least three soups a week. How to avoid getting bored with vegetables soups? It’s quite easy, you need to vary recipes and customize them… Personally, I really enjoy being creative with soups and try many differents matches.

Don’t hesitate to add comments at the end of this post to give me your own personal tips for doing great soups. Thanks!

Vegetable soup with pumpkin seeds

1. Choose seasonal products

For preparing a great vegetable soup, you need good products! Avoid using old vegetables forgotten in the fridge (after several days vitamins are gone away ?). In France, we have the habit do go to the fresh market at least once a week. It allows to have the best products from our region and from the right season. If you cannot, prefer deep-frozen vegetables. They will be full of vitamins. To get a smooth and delicate texture, avoid adding too many potatoes.

2. Use the right quantity of liquid

Find the right quantity of liquid (water, eventually coconut milk…) to cook your vegetables. Moreover, before mixing with blender, remove a large quantity of liquid (keep it in a bowl), mix and then add progressively the quantity of liquid you need. You can always add liquid, you cannot remove it ?

3. Season passionately, nothing is worst than a tasteless soup

You can use stock cubes (vegetable or chicken), fish fumet, veal stock, veggie Mite to enhance your soups. Don’t hesitate to add freshly chopped herbs, spices (curcuma, curry, ginger), flavored salts (truffle for instance), exotic peppers, nutmeg…

4. Good equipment makes great soups

Blender or food mill? That tricky choice will depend on the result you would like to achieve. For a “velouté” or creamy effect ( velvety texture), use preferably the blender or a good food processor at high speed. For a rustic, old-style soup (with small pieces), use the food mill. For small quantity, personnally I use my Thermomix.

5. Try various textures

You can add one potato, or corn starch. For thicker soups, think about rice, small pasta (vermicelli, letters…) or oat.

6. Customize without limit!

In France, we use:
  • whole cream (quite all the time actually!) or unsweetened whipped cream ( for an “airy” soup!), mascarpone is also great in soups
  • “croûtons” (grilled little pieces of bread): plain or flavored with grated garlic or olive oil
  • sliced grilled bacon, slices of sausages, slices of raw smoked ham, little scallops, filled pasta, pieces of haddock, mussels…
  • fresh cheese (Comté, Emmental, Gruyère, blue cheese): grated, sliced…, slivers of Parmesan cheese, fresh cheese (fresh goat cheese, Philadelphia, “vache qui rit” in France)
  • pumpkin seeds or seeds of any type…, crushed hazelnuts, walnuts, grilled chestnuts
  • a table spoon of walnut oil or truffle flavored olive oil… could be also a simple butter
  • freshly chopped herbs (parsley, coriander, chervil, chives…)

7. Add an original touch to your soup

To customize your soup think about exotic ingredients such as coconut milk (instead of cow milk), curry, lemongrass, ginger. Don’t hesitate to use “forgotten” vegetables. Butternut makes great extraordinary soups! You can also enrich water with a glass of white wine (or beer)

8. Match flavours

For instance:

  • Carrot with curry or coriander (see for instance Pumpkin and Carrot soup recipe)
  • Green vegetables with fresh cheese (type Philadelphia)
  • Zucchini with fresh goat cheese
  • Mushrooms and coconut milk
  • Split peas or lentils with  smoked ham (or bacon or sausage)
  • Potatoes, blue cheese and hazelnuts
  • Cabbage and haddock
  • Cauliflower and nutmeg
  • Pumpkin and grilled chestnuts
  • Onion and cheese (Comté, Emmental…) see for instance French onion soup
  • Light beer and cinnamon

9. Adopt a tasteful presentation

Keep some chopped herbs for decoration for instance

In France we don’t use anymore soup tureen. We serve directly in the plates. It can be bowls, glasses, “mini-cocotte”

10. Prepare your soup the day before…

… it will be even better. But never boil it: warm it at medium heat


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