After being too hot for too long, we suddenly entered this phase of runny nose, cold feet and refusing to turn on the heating for fear of bankruptcy. To warm the body and the heart, making soup by the liter can be a rich idea. But you still have to succeed.
Because making quality soup is not as simple as advertised. Chopping vegetables and throwing them in water, to use the principle of one of the world’s best Tumblrs, isn’t necessarily enough. That’s why HuffPost asked chefs Einav Gefen, Lisa Brooks and Ben Goodnick to highlight five pitfalls for those looking to make the best soup possible.
Mistake #1: Too much salt (or not enough)
Seasoning is basic. It is not only a question of quantity, but also of time. Because during cooking, if the liquid evaporates, the pre-poured salt remains in the pot. The ideal method is to add salt gradually as you cook.
“You have to add a little salt at the beginning, add more along the way, and then one last time when the soup is done”, summarizes Einav Geffen. And if you’ve added too much, Lisa Brooks recommends adding small chunks of potato to the soup to absorb the excess. Adding water or cream is of course also possible.
Mistake #2: Put all the ingredients in at the same time
No, we don’t throw everything into boiling water before we go drinking. For example, onions should at least be stewed first, explains Ben Gudnick, who better take his word for it since he’s the head chef of a soup-only restaurant. They can be made just translucent or brown, so yes “to make the flavors smoother and more complex”.
In the same way, you must introduce the meat (but remember that the vegetable soup is without animal protein) and do not forget the aromatic base (onion, garlic, carrot, celery, ginger). The addition of thyme, rosemary or bay leaf should be done at the beginning to ensure maximum flavor extraction; on the other hand, basil, cilantro or parsley should wait until the end. “Sometimes I add parsley at the beginning of cooking to enhance the flavor, and at the end there is nothing left”warns Einav Geffen.
Mistake #3: Being too impatient
A good soup is one that is cooked long enough. You have to let all the ingredients flow in and let the balance take place. The fact that the vegetables are sufficiently cooked is not the only indicator to consider… Unfortunately, there is no golden rule for the ideal cooking time; it all depends on the type of ingredients used.
Forty-five minutes may be sufficient for a vegetable soup; on the other hand, if it also contains peas or beans, it takes an hour or even an hour and a half. And in case you really must add meat, keep in mind that beef soups sometimes require up to two hours of cooking for the meat to be tender enough.
Mistake #4: Leave the lid on permanently
There is no absolute rule on this matter. But Einav Gefen advises to cover vegetable soups to limit evaporation, which helps avoid getting too thick a soup. For broths, however, she suggests removing the lid and regularly checking the amount of liquid that evaporates during cooking.
Ben Gudnick confirms by elaborating on this rule of thumb: removing the lid and thus allowing the water to evaporate concentrates the flavors inside the soup.
Mistake #5: Cooking all the ingredients at the same time
Again, the trap of convenience lurks: no, to make a good soup, you don’t have to just throw everything in the water and serve when you think it’s cooked. Harder vegetables should be placed in boiling water first, but softer ones or straight from the freezer can wait.
For a dish like seafood soup (mussels or other), this element should be added at the very end of cooking to avoid overcooking. And if you want to add noodles to your soup, there is no problem putting them in at the same time as the vegetables: here again, they are added just a few minutes before the end of cooking, so that they retain a certain consistency.