No Soup for You - Tips for Soup!

Ok, ok, so the title is a misnomer. This post is all about soup, because who doesn't love soup?  During college, I once lived on tomato soup. When I spent a semester abroad at St. Andrew's in Scotland, soup was an essential way to keep the cold way - that and a wee dram of whiskey.
But onto the soup. Chips (french fries to us yanks) dipped in tomato soup is heaven. So are little triangles of grilled cheese.
It's getting chilly out there and soup is the perfect winter meal. I love to spend a Saturday afternoon cooking up a big batch of soup, with the fire crackling in the fireplace, playing games with the kids or leafing through the month's collection of magazines.  
And the best thing about soup - it's the gift that keeps on giving.  Soup is the perfect leftover that can become a perfect meal. I love to eat soup for dinner, as I like to make dinner - with the exception of weekend meals - my smallest meal of the day...
So here are some great ways to make the soup last.
  1. With soup, it is easy to “Cook Once, Eat Twice” (or three times!). Soup is the perfect freezer food, which means leftovers won’t go to waste. Soup will keep in the freezer for a couple months, so don’t hesitate to whip up extra large batches to enjoy now – and later.
  2. Freeze leftover soup in muffin tins for easy-to-transport single-serve lunch portions.
  3. Allow soup to cool overnight in the refrigerator before freezing. Putting hot soup into your freezer can briefly increase the internal temperature of your freezer, which could negatively impact your already frozen items.
  4. Don’t add cold milk or cream straight from the refrigerator to your soups while cooking. To prevent curdling, warm the milk and cream up before adding to the simmering soup. You can do this in the microwave  - I take one of my coffee mugs and do this. 
  5. Mirepoix is a combination of diced carrots, celery and onion used to add flavor to soups, stocks and broths. The smaller the pieces are cut, the faster they will release their flavor.
  6. When making soup, “sweat” aromatics, like onions or garlic, first. Simply sauté these ingredients in a little olive oil or butter until they are soft. This will release their flavors and enhance the final taste of your recipe.
  7. Give your soup a chance to cool a bit before adding final seasoning. When soup is boiling hot, it is difficult to tell whether or not it actually needs more salt or other seasonings.
  8. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime to broth-based soups before serving to “brighten” up the flavors. Citrus has a natural fresh taste to it that will liven up the other flavors in your soup.
  9. Have extra tomatoes from your summer garden? Wash, chop and freeze them! Previously frozen tomatoes are too mealy to enjoy raw, but they are perfect for soups, chili and stews.
  10. Don’t buy previously grated Parmesan cheese in a can. A nice wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano isn’t overly expensive and will last you a long time. Plus, it won’t have a bunch of preservatives and anti-caking ingredients added to it. An inexpensive microplane is perfect for grating over soups or salads and makes for a nice presentation when serving guests.
  11. Always save the rind from hard cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano to add to the pot or slow cooker when making soups. That delicious salty cheesy goodness will soften and infuse your creation with a wonderful new layer of flavor.

 

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