Soups and Their Benefits
Soups date back to Roman times, and we have been cooking and eating them for centuries. They are a cheap and effective way to make such an uncomplicated food. They are healthy and nutritious and downright delicious as well as easy to make. Mythical characters like witches use a cauldron which can be visioned as a soup! But it is the one pot wonder that we can relate to, using less appliances, pans, and cooking in one place that I am emphasising here.
If you make them in a slow cooker, they are low cost, and the latest soup makers are also popular with families and households. Soup makers are the thing that are taking us by storm like the slow cooker, the air fryer and the humble microwave. Anything to save money and energy. If you religiously make soup, then a soup maker is possibly worth it. They blend soups so smoothly and refine them. If you like chunky soup, then perhaps they are not so useful. But the best thing about a soup maker is the energy efficiency. Below is some info about soup makers, and worth looking at if it is something that you are thinking of adding to your low cost appliance collection.
A BBC article says, Microwaves, slow cookers, electric pressure cookers and air fryers all consume significantly less energy than ovens, so using these instead, if possible, will save you money. “Microwaves are particularly energy efficient,” Dr Reynolds says. https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/articles/energy_saving_tips
BBC Good Food quoted this; ‘Though not a kitchen essential, soup makers can save a great deal of time, stress and washing up. Traditional soup recipes call for various stages of preparation from chopping, to simmering for long periods of time and blitzing, which is time-consuming and creates mess. Soup makers can make light work of the process.’ https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/review/best-soup-makers-test
What is it about soups that make life easy? It is the use of any sort of veg, leftovers and the easiness of making them. We can follow a recipe and tweak it or make our own. By adding lentils, we can thicken a soup. We can use stock to flavour them, spices, and herbs as well as other condiments. You can add pretty much any vegetable to them. They are so nutritious and the great thing about them is they warm us up. Unless it is a gazpacho, alternatively this can cool us down. But is equally nutritious.
We can enjoy soup anywhere. In a restaurant, at home, at work and when we are camping! It is easy to transport as well as make. And therefore, promoting it on this level as a national day is just fun.
Another great point about soups and making them, they are so varied and adaptable. They are generally plant based and easy to adapt to vegan or if you have a veggie-based soup you can add chicken stock if you need to use it up, and left over chicken or ham if you have some in the fridge. The basis of a soup can be easy. Then add ingredients to your hearts content!
Add spices and herbs to make tasty. If you like spice flavours, parsnips are always a good base. These absorb spices like cumin, turmeric and garam masala well. Add them at the beginning and they will mix in beautifully and make the taste intense and adds heat but not necessarily spice that will blow your head off. Add chilli for this. What is your favourite flavour?
Top Tips for Soup Making:
1. For most soups it's easy to start with a mixture of finely chopped onion, carrot and celery and gently fry them in a little butter or olive oil. The Italians call it, "Soffritto". It gives a good flavoursome base to many dishes and is perfect for starting a soup. You can prepare this yourself (perhaps make in bulk and freeze some) or it can sometimes be bought chilled or frozen from the supermarket.
2. Add some herbs/spices and fry for a couple of minutes with the ‘soffritto’
3. Add 1/2-1 litre of hot stock; depending on what type of soup you wan to make.
4. Add some chopped vegetables and simmer
5. Add some protein (pieces of cooked meat/prawns/beans)
6. Add starchy carbohydrate (if desired) for long enough to simmer and cook. (eg. pasta/ noodles/ rice/ potato)
7. Accompany with croutons, crostini, bread; perhaps a drizzle of plain yoghurt, cream, olive oil or pesto.
Fry ‘soffritto’ with a little thai curry paste (or chopped garlic, ginger and chilli)
Add hot stock
Add sliced mushrooms, sweetcorn, green beans and prawns, tofu or cooked chicken pieces.
Simmer for a few minutes.
Add rice noodles and simmer until cooked.
Top with finely sliced chilli or a sprinkle of chilli flakes; and maybe a splash of coconut milk.
8. Another quick soup can be made by using the extra "sauce" left over from a casserole. If it's very thick, add some extra stock to it. For a smooth soup liquidise it - this works really well if there are leftover vegetables lingering from the casserole.
9. A delicious soup can be made by adding stock to a tomato-based sauce such as our "Hidden Vegetable Versatile Sauce" (https://www.cooking-good.co.uk/.../hidden-vegetable...) and seasoning to taste.
10. Adding a can of drained beans such as butter beans will make a more substantial soup.
11. Make it special by adding your favourite herbs; Tarragon or Oregano go very well with a tomato soup.
12. Leftover mashed potato is very useful for thickening a soup.
Once cooked, portion and cool your extra soup. It will keep a couple of days in the fridge or a couple of months in the freezer.
There are more delicious soup recipes on our website for more inspiration.
With thanks to Rosalia Barresi, Sustainable Food Partnership Coordinator and Northampton Hope Centre. Social: @rosbarresi
International Soup Day is 21 Jan 2023, but at Hope Centre we are running it on 20 Jan 2023. Come join us!