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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

01.28.2001

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copyright ©1999-2002
DigsMagazine.com.

souper duper everything you 
need to know to make spectacular soups
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1 2 3 4

Contrary to what Campbell’s might tell you, good soup doesn’t come in a can. Yes, yes, I too have been known to enjoy a big bowl of Progresso Hearty Chicken with Vegetables, more often than I care to admit even, but unless you are deathly, deathly ill and haven’t the strength even to pick up a knife, much less dice and mince, it’s nearly always a better idea to leave the canned stuff alone and make the soup yourself.

5 reasons why homemade soups rock
1 They’re virtually impossible to overcook. Cook ‘em an hour; cook ‘em three hours … it’s pretty much all good.
2 They can be easily made in vast quantities. And if you don’t feel like eating soup, soup, soup for three meals a day, five days straight, just freeze the surplus in convenient serving-size portions.
3 They’re great for recycling leftovers – leftover cooked chicken, leftover cooked vegetables, leftover cooked pasta … just make sure you rinse said leftovers of any odd sauces before tossing them into your broth.
4 They’re filling, tasty and (unless you’re making a cream/cheese soup) low-fat.
5 They’ll make your kitchen smell yummy.

soup-making equipment
chopping knife
chopping board
large stockpot, as big as you can possibly find
long-handled wooden spoon (for stirring/tasting)
ladle (for serving)
blender, or large food processor

five ways to instantly thicken soup
A thick soup is a meal in itself. Here are a few basic methods for turning a thin broth into a soup with substance:

1 flour Add a tablespoon or two at the beginning, when you’re sautéing your vegetables in oil, and stir well to make a smooth paste.
2 cornstarch Make a cornstarch paste by mixing equal parts cornstarch and water. Add the paste at the end of the cooking time (2-3 tablespoons will generally be enough to thicken up a big pot of soup).
3 purée This only works if your soup actually has some starchy vegetable matter in it: tossing your plain old chicken soup into the blender isn’t going to do a whole heck of a lot to thicken it. To thicken soup without radically altering the flavor, you can easily add a cooked (boiled, microwaved, whatever’s easiest) potato, cooked rice or a couple of slices of bread to your soup, before tossing it all into the blender. If you still want some discrete vegetables in your soup, just puree half of the mixture, then stir it into the pot to combine with the remainder.

don't stop: there's more!

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