Soup is the quintessential super food. Every culture has their distinct version of a soup that represents their history, their local agriculture, their heritage – because throwing lots of this and that in a big pot and cooking it is a universal, ancient, simple, and time-proven method of getting good food fast! Of course, I am oversimplifying and there is indeed plenty of technique involved but basically if you have a sense of direction and flavor – you can deliver a satisfying meal with little food waste, very little mess, and a whole lot of nutritious goodness.
Soups are one of the mainstays at our little food and book joint in Rochester Vermont. We love making soups. In fact, years before I opened the bakery, I would make big pots of stew and my husband, Larry, would come into the kitchen, lift the lid, inhale the aroma, and say, “San, this is a huge pot of goodness. Who’s coming for dinner?” Yeah, I never have been able to make a small pot of soup!
We make our own stocks – a vegetable stock, a chicken stock, an Asian stock, etc. And really if you are making soup, do use a homemade stock as the base. Take all your vegetables scraps – clean peelings, onion and celery ends, carrot trimmings, etc, and put in a heavy pot. Add water to cover with a few dashes of salt, black pepper, and personally I like to add a bit of thyme – and simmer. Don’t boil – it will create a cloudy broth. And don’t add dirty potato peals or rotten ends of stuff or lemons or cucumbers! Your stock can take on a lot of flavor within even an hour or so. The discipline of making stock is worth the extra effort – it is so much better than water.
As we say around the bakery – in soup we trust!