After being too hot for too long, we suddenly reached the stage where we refused to turn on the heat due to colds, cold feet and fear of bankruptcy. To warm the body and heart, boiling soup by the liter can be a rich idea. But there must still be success.
Because making high-quality soup is not as easy as advertised. Cutting up vegetables and throwing them in water, to use the principle of one of the best Tumblrs in the world, is not necessarily enough. That’s why HuffPost asked chefs Einav Gefen, Lisa Brooks, and Ben Goodnick to reveal five pitfalls for those who want to make the best soup possible.
Mistake #1: Too much salt (or not enough)
Seasoning is basic. It is not only a question of quantity, but also of timing. Because when boiling, when the liquid evaporates, the previously poured salt remains in the pot. The ideal method is to add salt gradually as you cook.
“In the beginning, you should add a little salt, then add it after the tea, then the last time, when the soup is ready”, summarizes Einav Gefen. And if you’ve added too much, Lisa Brooks recommends adding small pieces of potato to the soup, which tend to absorb the excess. Of course, it is also possible to add water or cream.
Mistake #2: Put all the ingredients at once
No, we don’t throw everything into boiling water before going for a drink. For example, onions need to be at least fried first, explains Ben Goodnick, who is better off talking since he’s the head chef of a soup-only restaurant. They can be easily made translucent or browned “to make the flavors smoother and more complex”.
In the same way, you need to insert meat (but remember that vegetable soup can be made without animal protein) and do not forget about the aromatic base (onion, garlic, carrot, celery, ginger). Adding thyme, rosemary or bay leaves should be done at the beginning to ensure maximum flavor extraction; on the other hand, basil, cilantro or parsley must wait until the end. “I’ve sometimes added parsley at the beginning of cooking to intensify the flavors and there’s nothing left at the end.”warns Einav Gefen.
Mistake #3: Being overzealous
A good soup is a soup that boils long enough. You have to let all the ingredients infuse and let the balance emerge. The fact that the vegetables are sufficiently cooked is not the only indicator to consider… Unfortunately, there is no golden rule for the ideal cooking time; it all depends on the type of ingredients used.
Forty-five minutes may be enough for a vegetable soup; on the other hand, if it also contains peas or beans, it will take an hour or even an hour and a half. And if you really need to add meat, keep in mind that beef soups sometimes require up to two hours of cooking time to get the meat tender enough.
Mistake #4: Leaving the lid on permanently
There is no absolute rule in this matter. However, Einav Gefen recommends covering vegetable soups to limit evaporation, which helps to prevent the soup from being too thick. For broths, however, he recommends removing the lid and regularly checking the amount of liquid that evaporates during cooking.
Ben Goodnick confirms, clarifying this rule of thumb: removing the lid and thereby evaporating the water concentrates the flavors in the soup.
Mistake #5: Cooking all the ingredients for the same amount of time
This is once again the convenience trap lurking: no, to make a good soup, you shouldn’t just throw everything in the water and serve it when you think it’s cooked. Harder vegetables should be put in boiling water first, but softer ones or those taken directly from the freezer can wait.
For a dish like seafood soup (shellfish or other), this element should be added at the end of cooking to avoid overcooking. And if you want to add noodles to your soup, there is no question of adding them at the same time as the vegetables: here again, they are added just a few minutes before the end of cooking to maintain a certain consistency.