A good bowl of soup isn’t just a winter comfort. You can make really flavorful soups with fresh spring produce, and as the weather turns cooler, a bowl of soup is a wonderful way to make the most of fall squash and sweet root vegetables. We know you have some go-to soup recipes, but we wanted to share our soup-making strategies to take your soup to the next level -- oh, and we're sharing a few of our favorite recipes too.
Focus on making a great stock. Stock is the flavor base of your soup, so you want to make it extra delicious. Homemade is best: If you’re short on time, throw your stock ingredients into the slow cooker for the day.
See step-by-step how to make chicken stock.
Use outside-of-the-box aromatic vegetables. Traditionally, you would start a stock with mirepoix: two parts onion, one part carrot, and one part celery. But you can add any aromatic vegetable to a stock to enhance its flavor. Try leeks or fennel, or add garlic, ginger, or even lemongrass next time to give your soup some Thai flair.
Roast those bones. If you're making a meat-based stock, roast the bones to get extra flavor. You can use leftover bones from another meal or buy bones from the butcher. Toss the bones with oil and roast them in a shallow roasting pan at 400 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes. You can also boost the flavor of your soup by roasting the aromatic vegetables you're using.
Add extra ingredients for flavor. After finishing off a good block of Parmesan, save the rind -- you can throw cheese rinds into the pot to enhance the stock's taste. Ingredients like cheese rinds and mushroom trimmings add umami (savory) flavor to soups. Right before the soup is almost done, stir in greens. Heartier greens, like kale, may need 10 to 15 minutes to soften, but more delicate ones, like spinach, can be stirred in at the end. You can also add delicate, chopped herbs (like parsley) or some citrus juice at the end to brighten the flavor.
Only freeze with the right ingredients. If you plan on freezing a batch of soup, hold off on adding certain things. Cream doesn't freeze well and would be best added when the soup is reheated. The same goes for fresh herbs; they wilt and discolor if cooked and are best added when you're about to serve the soup.
And watch how to make comforting vegetable soup with the last of the summer produce: