How to Master Soup
Soup is truly a culinary wonder. Water mixed with veggies and time magically transforms into broth – just a few simple ingredients come together to create a wholesome meal. Soups offer almost endless versatility and adaptability. The question is, how do you execute the perfect nutritious, naturally tasty and seriously delicious soup? Keep on reading to find out.
A good base (created at the beginning of the soup-making process) is the foundation of any good soup. Here are seven aromatic bases to try:
- For basic broths, try onion and garlic gently fried in a neutral-tasting oil.
- Mirepoix: for a classic French aromatic base try diced onions, celery and carrots, cooked with butter.
- For a French pinçage, add tomato paste to your mirepoix.
- For an Italian soffrito, try minced (rather than diced) onions, carrots, and celery, cooked in olive oil.
- For a Spanish sofrito, combine tomatoes, onions, garlic, and other vegetables.
- For a German suppengrün, try carrots, leeks, and celeriac. Also add herbs like parsley or thyme, as well as other root veggies like onions.
- For a Thai-inspired soup, skip the onions, carrots, and celery, and fry shallots, ginger, and lemongrass. Cook in a neutral-tasting oil like grapeseed oil.
- Create your own South African base! Try combining finely diced onions, red peppers, green peppers, carrots, garlic, and chilies for a chakalaka-style soup base.
Herbs, spices and other aromatics work wonders in soups, so don't be shy to generously season your pot.
- For a soffrito base, add fresh rosemary, sage, ground fennel seed, ground coriander, and some freshly ground black pepper.
- For a mirepoix base, add black pepper, a bay leaf, and a bundle of fresh parsley stems and thyme sprigs.
- For a Thai-style base, add red or green Thai curry paste, fish sauce, and a large pinch of sugar.
- For creamy white soups, add a few pinches of nutmeg.
No matter what your base is, all soups follow a similar path to deliciousness: a good stock. Once you’ve prepared your soup’s base aromatics, it’s time to add a stock or broth, which will help build delicious layers of flavour. For a good quality instant stock, try our versatile Knorr Stock Pots. For light broths, skip the stock and use water instead.
The Main Ingredient
You’ve built up the perfectly balanced base, now it’s time for the pièce de résistance; the star ingredient(s)! When adding meat, choose flavoursome stewing cuts, such as chicken legs, pork shoulder, beef chuck or short ribs.
On a plant-based diet? Opt for lentils, beans or barley instead of meat. If you’re using dried pulses, you’ll need to soak and boil them before they go into the soup. You can speed things up by using tinned beans and lentils! Now add even more nutrition to your soup with your choice of fresh veggies, such as butternut, pumpkin, cauliflower or spinach.
Looking to make your soup more nutritionally diverse? Consider adding Future 50 Foods like orange tomatoes, Bambara groundnuts or cowpeas.
If you're looking for a thicker, heartier soup, then add some type of thickener towards the end of the cooking time. Our Knorr Soups are perfect for thickening and adding extra flavour to the soup! You can also use potatoes as a thickener: add peeled diced potato at the beginning, along with the other base vegetables. Another thickening option is to use flour or cornflour to lightly coat the base veggies before adding the stock.
To Blend or Not
This one is up to you. If you’re keen on a smooth, puréed soup, liquidise your soup in a food processor, or use a stick blender. For a broth or chunky soup, simply skip this step.
Your delicious soup is almost ready to be served! Before you sit down to enjoy, garnish the bowls with an interesting topping, such as croutons, crispy bacon, a drizzle of cream, a dollop of crème fraiche, a swirl of olive oil or grinding of black pepper. For low-calorie toppings, try natural yoghurt or chopped fresh herbs.
Inspired? Try our recipes here.