Soup Essentials, The Makings of a Great Broth

Hello my sweeties!

I would like to share with you some soup basics. Soup essentials.

It started when I went to make a pot of turkey soup for dinner. It was already 3:30 in the afternoon. (Well it certainly wasn’t in the morning!) While I could have put together a short cut soup with chicken broth, vegetables, tomatoes and diced turkey breast I had roasted the other day, once I got going, I kind of got carried away.

I quickly realized that I was not in fact making soup for dinner but was starting broth for tomorrow nights soup-for-dinner.

Lets set aside short cut soup for the moment. It can be wonderful. But lets just set it aside.

Soup has at least 2 components. The broth and everything else.

A good broth can turn soup from “meh” to “yummy”  to “outrageous!”

So lets look at broth basics first. We will use my turkey soup as an example.

I had purchased some turkey wings on-the-cheap at Sprouts just for this purpose. I also had some celery that was past its prime, so I bought new and set aside these old inner stalks for the soup. Grabbed an onion and rough chopped it and the celery.

Into a large pot I drizzled a bit of oil and heated it up. I chopped up the wings into its 3 pieces and browned them, good and crispy, a few at a time. But this could have been beef bones, such as knuckle bones. Or chicken. Or ?? Something with bones is best in that you are getting the minerals out of them that are oh-so good for you.

Once browned, I pulled the wings out and then added a smack of butter, the celery and onions. Oh look, some bacon ends! I added a handful of those too. Once they were browned I rummaged through the seasonings. How about  some Bouquet Garni? Yep and some 21 Season Salute from Trader Joes. I added some rosemary and thyme just for kicks. And a clove or two of garlic.

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Taking the meat out of the stock to shred.

I added a splash of Rose wine I found open in the fridge. Had it been beef soup I would have added red wine. Do you have to add wine? No, of course not. You just add what suits your fancy. But the more flavor components you add, the deeper the flavor in your broth.

Veggies done, meat browned. Now I just put them all together in the pot, fill it up with water and add plenty of salt. A generous tablespoon in my case as well as a few grinds of pepper. Oh, and a splash of vinegar. That  and the wine help pull the minerals out of the bones. Put a lid on it. You can have it on full or tilt it just a bit to let out a little bit of steam. This will condense the broth faster, but keep an eye. Keep the heat on very low.

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This cooked down quite a bit. I will add a box of broth to it to bulk it up.

Check on it once in a while. You will probably need to skim off grey foamy scum from the top of the soup. It looks about as good as it sounds.  Just spoon it out, put it into a bowl and throw it away, in the trash.

You could even pour in extra broth you might have open in your fridge. Beef or chicken or vegetable. Soup is a good way to clean out the fridge.

I want this to simmer and simmer and simmer. After a few hours I will take out the turkey to strip off the meat and put the bones back. If I want to, I could cook the bones and vegetables all day or all night on a very low heat or in a crock pot. Keep in mind, all these vegetables and so on are going to be strained out, You are just leaving behind flavor, minerals, vitamins.

It would be the same with beef bones. After a few hours, strip off the meat. Save it for the soup or feed it to the pets. Chicken does not need as much simmering before it is ready to strip off the bones. 1 hour is plenty of time. Strip off the meat and save it for soup, cats, dogs, chicken salad…

CAUTION: do not feed the cooked bones to your pets. Cooked bones can splinter in their little throats and cut them or damage their intestinal tract. So-don’t!

Once you are content with the broth, (taste it), you just strain it into another large pot through a colander or sieve, throw away the bones and vegetables and there is your broth! If you are not making soup right away you can let it cool, cover and store in the fridge. The next day or two, you can take it out and there should be a layer of fat on top. Skim it off or keep it on, suit yourself. This turkey broth did not have much fat so I just kept it in.

Now you have your stock. Or broth, whatever you want to call it.

Part 2 Time for soup!

Heat up the broth up when you are ready to make soup. I am adding diced turkey to mine. Do not be afraid if the stock has coagulated or congealed into a big ball of jello-y-ness. This is a good thing! It means the gelatin and collagen has been pulled from the bones and into the stock. This is what makes it special and homemade!

Here it is right out of the fridge. It will melt down into broth nirvana!
Here it is right out of the fridge. In all its gelatinous goodness. It will melt down into broth nirvana!

For the soup I will saute some leeks in the large pot in a bit of oil. Perhaps some thinly sliced carrots and some green beans.  I plan to add a can of diced tomatoes or some diced from the garden. (which I actually forgot to do when all was said and done.) Then I will add the meat, which in this case will be turkey and chicken sausages cut into little circles. Perhaps if I see any other leftover meat in the fridge…

I will add some shredded up cabbage and kale. More seasoning and the broth. Perhaps I will dice up some red potato or sweet potato or butternut squash. Or maybe I have some leftover rice to throw into the pot. Or a can of beans.

Oh and lets not forget the Turmeric. Good-for-you Turmeric. Which makes the whole thing gold tinted. Nothing stains quite like turmeric, so be careful.

I will let it simmer for just a little bit and it will be done. All the work was in the broth, now this is the easy part. 30 minutes and you are ready to serve. You can put some chopped herbs in each bowl as serving to add a bit of freshness. Chives perhaps or cilantro or basil. Perhaps a last minute splash of lemon or wine vinegar to the soup before serving.

Another tip. Some people add gelatin, plain unflavored gelatin to their soups and stews. It add minerals as well. Or if you have some beef marrow bones, usually bought as soup bones, which I like to buy for the dog. But this time, you can put it into the soup and let it cook away.

Perhaps you want a creamy soup? Add a can of coconut milk 10 minutes before its done. Or add some cream. You could add some lemon grass and fish sauce for an exotic touch.

While I am making my broth on the stove top, you could use the oven or your slow cooker.

The point is, that it is hard to go wrong with making soup. A good broth of your own making, vegetables of your choosing, meats and/or seafood and seasonings.

Have fun!

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