Soup's On!

My husband makes great soups, and the secret to them is in the stock. He makes a batch of stock every now and then, so when we feel like it we pull it out of the freezer and make quick and delicious soups. Stocks are fairly easy things to make, its a question of remembering to pick up those ingredients at the grocery store. Last night we made up some stock, and then Shankar made another variation on his classic Corn Soup. It was pretty good, and we rounded out the night with a nice fresh French baguette dipped in olive oil with crushed red flakes, and some salad topped with Parmesan shavings. This is another great tip for your kitchen, make stock and keep it on hand. You can do all kinds of things with it; cook rice in it, use as a flavouring agent in any dish, and of course make soups.

Vegetable Stock
You can put any vegetables in here that are hard. Do not use soft mushy vegetables as they will do bad things to your stock. Here are a few examples of veggies we put into our stock:
1 leek, 1/2 a bunch of celery, 2 carrots, 1 large onion, outer cabbage leaves, fennel, broccoli stalks, cauliflower stalks. Here are a few examples of seasoning you can add: parsley, basil, lemongrass stalks, coriander, ginger, thai basil, mint (in a small quantity).

1. Simmer a large pot of water on the stove.
2. Add the whole vegetables to the stock pot. You may want to put them in large pieces, so they fit easily. Add the seasoning
3. Simmer for a few hours and you will smell a lovely fragrance when it is done.
4. Strain the vegetables and any dirt out using a cheesecloth.
5. Reserve the liquid, I recommend freezing it in portions.

Corn Soup
2 cups of soup stock, 2 cups of frozen corn, 1 small onion, handful of grated carrot, handful of chopped tomatoes, parsely, basil, salt and pepper.

1. Saute the onion in butter, and add the tomato and carrot and cracked black pepper.
2. Add the stock and simmer for about 5 minutes.
3. Microwave the corn, blend it finely, and add it to the stock.
4. Cook the soup for another few minutes until it thickens nicely, constantly stirring.
5. Salt the soup. You could add a little cream if you wanted.
6. Serve garnished with parsley.
Verdict: Having a husband who is a good cook helps a lot.


Anonymous said...

Hello Kanchana,
You got a great blog going and you look very cute in your wedding photos, very traditional:)
I love this idea of making vegetable stock and freezing them, can i use the slow cooker with your exact recipe?
And what seasoning you prefer? do we have to add all the seasonings you listed or few combinations that we like. How much should we add and how about salt content?
So after freezing, you thaw a stock block whenever you need them (in microwave) or can we transfer one box to refrigerator to let it thaw on time??
Please let me know. Thanks in advance!

Anonymous said...

Kanchana, One more question,
If cooking on the stove top, how long it takes to make them?
Also, how much quarts of water should we use and how much stock does this yeild. Also can we store this in freezer gaurd ziploc bags? Please do reply whenever possible. Thanks!
-Anna said...

Great questions, I'll try my best to answer them.
1. You can do this in a slow cooker. Do this overnight! I do not recommend keeping a slow cooker on while you leave the house.
2. Seasonings are pretty much any herbs you have in your pantry. We usually always have cilantro, parsley, basil (thai basil sometimes), lemongrass, bay leaves,whole peppercorns, a little mint, a little piece of ginger, a little lemon rind. A little will go a long way. We're talking a sprigs or a leaf or two for a 8 quart stock pot. Do NOT add salt.
3. I thaw the frozen blocks in the fridge if I remember to do this ahead of time, or simply defrost in the microwave while making the soup.
4. Cook on the stove top for about 3-4 hours.
5. I usually make it in an 8 quart pot, so once you have the veggies in there you could probably fit another 6 quarts of water, just fill water leaving a few inches at the top. And the yield is almost the same as the water.
9. You can store in ziploc bags, and defrost them by putting in a bowl of hot water. Make sure they are the strong type.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for your reply. I am going to prepare it tomm and will let you know tomm.
I thought of doing it in my 4 quart slow cooker, but with the chopped veggies (which i did today evening) with plans of overnight slow cooking, but veggie quantity overpowers my slow cooker:( and those veggie went back to the fridge promptly.
I am going to go with my 10 quart crockpot with pasta insert and so that draining would be easier... Tomm will let you know.. Thanks for the timely reply and i really appreciate it.
Thanks, You are a real sweetie:)

btw: Do you guys have any recipe for making chicken stock, no pun intended please if you are vegetarians. Though i would gain advantage of it too.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to you! I made a hug pot of vegetable stock and froze them in quart sized freezer guard ziploc bags and tried your corn soup with it. It was yummy and delicious and thanks a lot too:)
From now on, it is going to be a stable one in my kitchen.
-Annapoorni said...

Anna -

So glad to hear that you made the stock. It is so useful. You can use it to make rice as well, and the rice will be very flavorful. Another alternative for the corn soup, is to garnish with chutney made of coriander, a little mint, and lemon. It is SO tasty.

I am a vegetarian and have never made chicken stock.

Anonymous said...

When you add coriander, do you use the seeds or the stalks ( leaves ) ? And how much? About the ginger how much? I grow Thulasi ( basil? ) could I use that? I grow lemongrass and rosemary ( grows like weed)


It is Sunday and I am going to try this.


Anonymous said...

I tried 2 batches of soup stock. One per your style and the other by pressure cooking the same. I am not finding any difference. And your opinion? I actually pressure cook cooked it twice after it had cooled the first time. your thoughts? said...

The reason you find that there is no difference is that the stock has been on the stove for much longer than necessary.

Traditionally, a vegetable stock is supposed to have just a very pale yellow color and an extremely subtle taste. I, however, do not believe in subtlety with stock - I like to be hit over the head with its flavor. So I leave it on the stove for 3 to 4 hours. The stock becomes a rich, dark color. If you do what I do, you will find no difference between doing what I do and pressure cooking it which compensates for much longer cooking times by raising the ambient pressure.

However, when you pressure cook the stock, you might destroy and the structural integrity of the vegetables and consequently have to filter it multiple times through a cheese cloth to get a clear stock.

Tylerboy said...

Once I make my beef stock....when it is time for me to make my soup, do I add any water to my stock to turn it into soup? Or is the straight stock the broth?