Ever had a quick and easy soup recipe become a complete pain in the butt? It’s not that the recipe is more complicated than you thought, it’s the fact your kitchen is missing the ingredients you need. Yes, those simple soup recipes are often written by folks who assume the cook has prepped their kitchen with the basics. But, many have not. So many just have no idea what the basics are. No worries, I’m here to tell you what they are.
In order to make simple recipes work, there are some ingredients you’ll need to keep stocked in your kitchen. Here are some basic kitchen staples that will help you speed through any simple soup recipe and make dinner quick and easy.
This ingredient seems like a given, but some cooks still have not gotten used to having chicken, vegetable, or beef broth on hand at all times. You can, of course, get by with water as a base for your simple soup recipe, but broth adds so much flavor it’s ridiculous not to use it for making quick soups.
You can buy canned or boxed broth, but you may want to make your own to save money. Plan a day to simmer chicken, vegetables, or a beef bone for hours and you’ll have a rich broth ready when you are. If standing over a pot doesn’t thrill you, just throw the ingredients in your crockpot and let it cook all day. I let it cook on low overnight. There is always chicken broth in my freezer. I keep it in 2 cup portions for easy reference to a recipe. Either way, creating big quantities of broth and having it in the freezer is a big help when it comes time to make your quick soups and stews.
Soup making time can be cut drastically when you prepare at least some of the vegetables ahead of time and store them. These vegetables would include the ones we use most often as the basis for any soup – onion, celery, carrots. As soon as you get home from the grocery store, wash and dice these vegetables, then store separately in zipper food bags either in the refrigerator or in the freezer.
When the recipe calls for the standard “saute onion, celery, and carrots” step, you are ahead of the game. Stopping to chop these basic vegetables takes time, which is something we are trying to avoid by making simple soups to begin with. This is a kitchen staple everyone needs to keep on hand.
It doesn’t matter what the blend is, having a favorite pre-mixed seasoning blend of any kind or flavor helps the busy cook with the creative process. Instead of stopping to search, measure, or think about substitutions, grab a seasoning blend you like and sprinkle it in the soup. It’s like decorating a house; if you buy the styles you like, the house will look nicely decorated. That’s because we all tend to lean toward the same styles over and over, making the house unified and pleasing to your taste.
Likes and dislikes in flavors and seasonings are the same. Use seasonings you find tasty and your soup will please you, too. Once you find a seasoning blend you like, or several blends you like, stock up. Now when you are following a recipe that has a list of spices as long as your arm, you can skip the frustration and grab your favorite seasoning blend and move on.
Some basics are garlic powder, oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary. If you have these you can make most anything work.
A quick and easy soup recipe can sometimes be on the watery side. Part of this may be because there just isn’t a lot of cooking time involved, or a lot of ingredients, or both. Some recipes solve this by turning the soup into a blender to puree. This works just fine, but there are soup recipes you might want to serve chunky.
Keep potatoes, pasta, and rice on hand to add body to your soup. These starches will thicken the broth without adding a lot of extra work. You can even keep dried potato flakes in your pantry and simply sprinkle into the soup if you don’t want to bother peeling potatoes and waiting for them to cook. Both pasta and rice can be added to the soup raw or cooked, but raw provides quite a bit more thickening power.
These kitchen staples are particularly helpful when making simple soup recipes. Be sure to have the basics on hand in your pantry, refrigerator, or freezer and you can have your soup on the table quickly and easily, just like the recipe says!
If you need some recipes, the Hillbilly Housewife has the perfect book for you. Freezer Soups & Stews Volume 2 – Easy to Make and Sure to Satisfy. Quick and simple recipes to create. You can freeze them if you wish, or just toss them quickly together at the last minute for dinner.