Souper Soup

To add a bit of “tooth” to your next batch of Chicken Noodle Soup try this little tip.  Grab a small can of water chestnuts and coarsley chop them.  Drop them into your broth just before adding your vegetables.  Your soup will have a bit of crisp crunch now when serving.

Rubber Clams

You are in a hurry making your clam chowder.  You used the microwave to make it and it seems that it turned out fine, but the clams are like little rubber bands. What happened?

When you microwave clam chowder, the microwave sometimes cooks the clams faster than the rest of the soup.

When you are making clam chowder in the microwave, if possible prepare the soup base and heat it on it’s own.  Add your clams just before serving and let the soup sit for a few minutes to warm up the clams.  If you feel that you need to heat them up more, try not to microwave them except for just a minute or two at the most.

Soup Saavy

When you are preparing soup, double your recipe when possible and freeze the extra.

This will allow you to make a quick and easy dinner on a night when you don’t have as much time to cook from scratch.

All you have to do upon serving is add a bit of cheese and fresh bread.

For extra fresh flavor, buy some chunks of fresh cheese and grate it over your hot soup just before serving.

Soup Stock Storage

If you decided to make up your own stock, you probably aren’t going to use it right away.

I will usually make up stock after I have prepared a beef or chicken dinner that left me with some decent bones.

Just pour the finished stock into plastic containers and refrigerate immediately. It will keep fresh for a few days.

If you don’t plan of using the stock for at least 6 days, place in the freezer after you have marked the container well.

You should be able to freeze it for 6 months.

If you find that you need smaller quantities of stock you can also freeze it in ice cube trays.

Once it is frozen, dump the trays into tightly sealed plastic containers or zip lock bags.

Each cube will be the equivelant of about a tablespoon of stock.

You can also freeze any left over stock from a can in this manner if you don’t need all of it for your recipe.

Making Stock

When you are making home made stock you do not need to measure everything or prepare everything perfectly.

Start your stock with cold water in a large pot.

When you are preparing your vegetables, you don’t need to peel and trim them. You can just wash them and cut them up coarsley into about 1 inch pieces.

For the best flavor, simmer your stock. You don’t want a rolling boil, the bubbles should move slowly from the bottom of the pot and burst just before they reach the surface.

When you are ready to strain the stock, don’t try to pour it from the pot. Instead use a large measuring scoop or ladle and transfer the stock to another container that has a strainer removing the large pieces. This may take a bit loger, but it is worth the trouble and a lot less messier.

Try not to use any seasoning when you are making up generic stock. As you use it for a recipe then you can add seasoning as needed to suit your recipe.

Soup Stock Substitution

If you have a recipe that calls for chicken or beef broth you don’t always have to make it from scratch.

Although home made tastes better, you can use any one of these commercial substitutions.

You can buy a can/box of beef or chicken broth to use in your recipe.

Some will need to be diluted before use so make sure that you read the instructions on the can first or your recipe may turn out too salty.

Instant boullion is usually my preference because it doesn’t take up as much room for storage and I can make exactly how much I need.

I will always mix it up with hot water according to the instructions and then let it sit for about 20 minutes for the granuals to totally desolve and for the flavor to develop.

What is Clarified Stock?

You have a recipe that asks for clarified stock, but you have no idea what it is.  When you look at regular stock that may have just made you will notice that you see lots of herb and chunks of vegetables and meat in it.

Clarified stock is a clear stock that you don’t see any pieces floating aroung in.  If you have stock that needs to be clarified, it is very simple.  First, strain off any herbs and pieces through a colander that has been lined with a coffee filter or cheese cloth.

If your stock is not clear, but has a milky haze to it, you can clear that up also.  In a small bowl mix 1/4 cup water, 1 egg white, and 1 egg shell. Yes, don’t freak out, you have to use an egg shell.

Once this has been thoroughly mixed, add it to your soup stock.  Bring your stock mixture to a boil then remove from the heat.  Let he stock stand for about 5 minutes. While your stock is cooling, lay a double thickness of cheese cloth over a large bowl.  Pour your stock in to the cheesecloth. Slowly pull up the edges of the cheesecloth and strain the liquid through the cheese cloth.

Your stock should now be clarified. If it is still a little opaque, simply repeat the process until the stock is clear.

Easy Stock

The next time that you are making chicken for dinner, don’t let the little pieces go to waste. Gather up the neck, the giblets, the tail and any other pieces that you may not use for your recipe. Refrigerate them until your dinner is completed.

After the meal, cut the rest of the meat off the bones and grab the remaining carcas as well as the pieces that you saved from the chicken before dinner and drop it into a medium sized stock pot and add about 4 cups of water.

Bring to a boil and add about a half a cup each of onion, carrots and celery.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Let simmer for a few hours until all of the meat is tender and falling off the bone.

Let the stock cool and strain off all the bones and bits of meat or fat. Pour the stock into ice cube trays and freeze.

Now just drop the ice cubes into a bag and when you need some stock for flavoring just pull out as many as you need!

Cream of Vegetable Soup

You always grab a cup of soup and lunch, but home made cream soup is so easy to make that you can make up a large batch and have plenty for a meal or a quick snack anytime.

First you will make a broth of 1 1/2 cup chicken broth, 1/2 cup onion, and whatever vegetable that you prefer from below.  Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.

Simmer for the amount of time per vegetable listed below.  Remove from the heat and let cool for about 5 minutes or so.  Place 1/2 the mixture into a blender or food processor and process until smooth.  Pour into a large bowl and repeat with the remaining broth.

In the now empty saucepan melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add 2 tablespoons of flour.  Let the roux cook for about 30 seconds, then add 1 cup milk.

Whisk well and continue to simmer until the mixture is bubbling and beginning to thicken.  Pour in your blended stock and mix well.  Continue to cook over a simmer until the mixture is bubbling and thick.  Add Salt and Pepper to taste.  Don’t get to gung ho with the salt though.  Add about 1/8 tsp at a time, and cook for at least 3-4 minutes until adding more.  Salt will become overpowering very quickly.  Serve hot.

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Cold Soup Service

You have found a great recipe for cold soup but you don’t know really how you should serve it.

Cold soup is great on a hot day as an appetizer or a with a main dish.

Make sure that the bowls or cups that you serve the soup in is thoroughly chilled before serving and allow about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of soup per serving.