Homemade soup not only warms your soul, but is also a great way to use up vegetables and other ingredients in your refrigerator. Here are some of our tips for an easy, yet delicious, vegetable soup.
Stock vs. Broth… is there really a difference?
Homemade is always best, but in a pinch there are good products you can buy in the store. It is best to buy a low or reduced sodium product so you can control the sodium level and add your own salt to taste. Although often times the two terms are used interchangeably, there is technically a difference.
A stock is made my cooking vegetables and bones from meat with seasoning in water for several hours before the liquid is strained. A brown stock is made by roasting bones and/or vegetables before cooking them in the water. The long cooking process draws out the rich flavors from the bones.
A broth is comprised of vegetables and meat that have been gently simmered in water to extract the flavors, then strained.
Many soups are typically flavored with a mirepoix, a mixture of carrots, onions, celery and herbs that have been sautéed in butter or olive oil. The usual proportion is 50% onion, 25% carrots and 25% celery.
Looking for other ways to flavor your soups?
- Bouquet Garni – Bundle herbs, such as parsley, rosemary and thyme in cheese cloth. Tie to close with twine. Leave a tail on the twine that is long enough to tie to the handle of the pot. This will make it easier to remove the bundle when done cooking.
- Herb Infused Ice Cubes – The end of the summer is a great time to preserve your herbs by freezing them in ice cube trays. Just chop your herbs and combine with water or olive oil. Freeze in ice cube trays. When frozen, remove and store in plastic storage bags or containers. Season your soup by adding several cubes.
- Parmigiano Reggiano – Add the rind of your cheese while cooking your soup. The cheese will dissolve into the soup. The flavor addition is unbelievably delicious! Remove before serving – it is a tasty treat to nibble on!
Remember to let your soup cool for at least an hour before refrigerating it. You could also place the pot in an ice bath to speed up the cooling process. This will eliminate bringing the internal temperature of your refrigerator up and risking spoiling food.
Here’s one of our favorite soups to make with homemade chicken stock – Sriracha Shrimp and Noodle Soup!
Sriracha Shrimp and Noodle Soup
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 cups chopped vegetables such as baby bok choy, snap peas, asparagus, or bean sprouts
- 3.5 ounces Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 4 ounces dried rice noodles, cooked according to package instructions
- 4 cups unsalted chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 inch piece of ginger root, peeled and sliced into 4 rounds
- 6-8 Tablespoons Stonewall Kitchen Sriracha Teriyaki Sauce (depending on how spicy you want your soup)
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or as needed
- 2 Tablespoons scallions, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup toasted unsalted peanuts, chopped, for garnish
- In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and mushrooms and sauté until slightly tender but still crisp. Remove from pot and set aside.
- Add chicken stock, water, ginger, Sriracha Teriyaki Sauce, sesame oil, lime juice and salt to stock pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Just prior to serving add scallions, cilantro, tomatoes and shrimp. When shrimp turn pink serve soup by layering the noodles and vegetables in a soup bowl. Ladle hot broth and shrimp into bowl and garnish with peanuts.