Did you know that January is National Soup Month? I love making and eating soup year round but there’s nothing better than chasing away a cold winter’s day than a bowl of homemade soup.
Soups are the ultimate budget smart meal and some of the secrets I’ve found to making a great one are-
Onions and Garlic etc.
I don’t think you can have a good soup without at least one member of the onion family in the mix. I usually start with onions, garlic, and then add things like celery and carrots. I then turn the heat low and let them sweat for at least ten minutes to bring out all their flavors.
Ninety nine percent of the time I use a homemade stock when I’m making soup. It’s cheaper and as each batch tastes different depending on what leftovers vegetables scraps and peelings it creates more variety. You can also control the salt content of the soup too.
Soups are perfect for using leftover food too. I often add leftover vegetables, like beans and peas. Also things like rice and pasta. And yes, I’ve even put cheese rinds into the stock to give it more flavor. Nothing goes to waste.
A Meal In Itself
Some soups are perfect for a one pot meal, while others pair well with a sandwich. Either way it’s a cheap meal.
Not Just for Winter
In the summer if you’re looking for a light meal, try soup. I know it sounds crazy but sometimes it’s all you need on a lazy summer afternoon. And don’t forget chilled soups too.
Soups can also be a great food when you’re watching your weight. If you blend them after they’re cooked they have a creamy consistency that makes you think you’ve add something fattening to the mix. One trick I’ve used to cut down on fat is to saute the vegetables in stock instead of adding more oil or butter.
Make Now Eat Later
The best way to eat soup is to make it one day and eat it the next so all the flavors marry together overnight. And the best thing is most soups are perfect to keep in the freezer.
Here’s a link to an article with soups you can try at home-
Red Lentil Soup
I’ve been making this recipe for more years than I can remember. I always rely on it when I want soup in a hurry but don’t want the canned variety. The nicest thing about this one is it uses low cost ingredients, everything in it is good for you, and if you don’t add the flavored oil, it’s a no fat dish.
1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed
1 cup each of chopped carrots and onions
2 cups of stock…I always use vegetable
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
2 teaspoons coriander
15 ounce can chopped tomatoes
pinch salt and pepper
Two tablespoons oil
Handful of cumin seeds
In a large saucepan, add the lentils, carrots, onions, stock garlic powder, coriander and tumeric. Heat until boiling and then lower the heat and cook for about 15 minutes.
When the onions and carrots are tender, add the can of tomatoes and heat through.
In two batches, pulverize the soup in a food processor or blender and then add back to the saucepan. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep the heat low.
Meanwhile, over medium high heat, heat the oil and then add the cumin seeds and roast them until they’re fragrant and lightly browned.
Serve the soup and sprinkle some of the cumin oil over the top.
These are a nice addition because they add some flavor and crunch but you can use any spice or herb you like.