The concept of soup is as old and established as the act of cooking itself. In fact, the very first item cooked — and I’m not referring to tossing pieces of a raw buffalo or venison over a fire but the first meal — was most likely some kind of soup.
Soup dates back to primitive man and there is evidence of soup as far back as 6,000 BC. Now, this was the days long before waterproof pots were around to boil liquid in, so rocks would be heated in a fire and then dropped into a hollow log, goard or reed basket full of water. Then meats and vegetables were added. And boom. You have soup.
Now, the word soup comes from either the French word for broth, or the German word for soak — no one is really sure. But the experts do agree that the word restaurant is from another French word, originally meaning a place to buy soup.
In the hobo jungles of the 1930’s there was always a pot of soup simmering over the fire. There, the hobos could jump on and off the freight trains and add whatever they found along their travels — a few carrots, an onion, some potato — into the communal pot.
To us men, knowing how to make homemade soup is crucial. First of all, it gives us a low cost food source. We can make soup for pennies and in fact the cost to make a pot of homemade soup is roughly half the cost of canned soup —- http://juliemcm.blogspot.com/2010/11/canned-soup-vs-homemade-cost-comparison.html . Soup is also a great way to reuse leftovers as well as a method to stretch food farther. And if you hunt, soup is the perfect way to mellow the gaminess of meats. And like all peasant dishes — chili, ratatouille, shepherds pie — homemade soup is easy, hearty, fun to make and feeds many.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE SOUP
There are many methods to make homemade soup but this is the method that I have been using for years. It’s simple, basic and allows you to add or change anything along the way.
The trinity. Onions, garlic, celery. In a pan with some butter and olive oil, fry some sliced onion, garlic and green pepper. You want to sweat these bit — soften them up — but not brown them.
Into the pot. Place the Onions, garlic and green pepper into a stock pot and set aside.
Meat. It’s not required to use meat or chicken in soup. In fact, I often think the meat takes away from the flavor of a really hearty soup. If you do not want to use meat, potato is a great substitute because it is so dense but a little known secret is rutabaga. Rutabaga is extremely dense and cooked over long times in a soup it softens up but still remains firm — it also gives the soup a strong flavor. But if you are going to use it, this is where you do. Brown your chicken or you beef in a pan. Once they are browned place them in the stock pot.
Vegetables. Now you want to add in your core vegetables in — carrots, green beans, peas, whatever you want. The only rule is, fresh not canned. I know it may seem like an extra step but fresh vegetables are actually less then canned and the flavor will be noticed.
Liquid. Add your liquid to the stock pot, completely covering everything and there is only one rule here. No water. You can use anything — and I mean anything — but water. Beer or wine works great and so does apple or tomato juice — I even know one guy who saves the leftover coffee as his soup stock. And of course, you can use beef, vegetable or chicken stock. Now store bought stock is okay — and I mean just, okay — but nothing beats stock from scratch — the next time you cook a chicken or a ham, save the bone. Toss it in the freezer and make your own stock — and remember, stock can be frozen and saved and thawed out when needed.
Here is a great stock recipe —-
Spices. Remember to spice in layers, not all at once. And keep tasting until you get where you want to be.
Simmer. Once everything is mixed in let the soup simmer. How long is up to you but the longer it simmers the more the flavors marry.
Experiment and enjoy.