Soup Philosophy?

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Soup Philosophy?

Postby Howie Hart » Tue Oct 17, 2006 1:35 pm

In a thread a few years ago I believe I stated something like "My first rule of soup is that you can't use too many onions", which, of course prompted many to disagree with me. However, now that the cold weather is on the way, how do you decide what kind of soup to make? While some cookbooks will devide soups into 2 different categories, such as cream based and broth based, I like to divide mine into soups for a meal and soups as a meal course. I thought about this while responding to Jenise's thread on pea soup. For me, soups for a meal are heartier, contain lots of meat and I generally base them on something I have left over in the freezer, such as using backs and neck for chicken noodle, or smoked turkey carcass and drippings to make split pea, or leftover chuck roast to make a vegetable soup. I generally make these on-the-fly, so to speak. However, with soups for a meal course, I usually follow a recipe and the soups are lighter. Some soups I've made this way are French Onion, New England clam chowder, cream of asparugas and mushroom consomme.
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Re: Soup Philosophy?

Postby ChefCarey » Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:35 pm

Howie Hart wrote:In a thread a few years ago I believe I stated something like "My first rule of soup is that you can't use too many onions", which, of course prompted many to disagree with me. However, now that the cold weather is on the way, how do you decide what kind of soup to make? While some cookbooks will devide soups into 2 different categories, such as cream based and broth based, I like to divide mine into soups for a meal and soups as a meal course. I thought about this while responding to Jenise's thread on pea soup. For me, soups for a meal are heartier, contain lots of meat and I generally base them on something I have left over in the freezer, such as using backs and neck for chicken noodle, or smoked turkey carcass and drippings to make split pea, or leftover chuck roast to make a vegetable soup. I generally make these on-the-fly, so to speak. However, with soups for a meal course, I usually follow a recipe and the soups are lighter. Some soups I've made this way are French Onion, New England clam chowder, cream of asparugas and mushroom consomme.


Those of you who haven't yet burned my book when you tried to use the cabala-like index, compiled by a dyslexic native Bantu-speaking first year ESL student, will no doubt notice all 35 "soup" entries are at least in one place. At Mudd's I made 250 different soups based on what was available from the ten-acre organic garden. And whatever meat, fish and poultry trimings we had hanging around.
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Re: Soup Philosophy?

Postby Bob Ross » Tue Oct 17, 2006 3:50 pm

You are a little too gentle about that index, Chef. :-(

You content is worth a much better job. I've got yellow Post-Its on my favorite pages -- a dozen already.
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Re: Soup Philosophy?

Postby Gary Barlettano » Tue Oct 17, 2006 3:57 pm

Howie Hart wrote:How do you decide what kind of soup to make?


Soups are an integral part of this single parent's single-parenting of a divorced 24 year-old young woman who lives with me (although you wouldn't know it by the amount of intramural communication). The divorcée is my daughter who seldom tells me when or whether she'll be home or when or whether or what she wants to eat. But, as I have learned, food simply has to be scoopable and microwaveable, just not too spicy, and heavens forbid I put in some nutmeg or cumin.

My instructions are to just make something in a big pot and leave it in the fridge.

Soups lend themselves well to this kind of minion-like existence behind the oppressed apron. I seek out such that will not turn sour too quickly or those which remain wetter so as not to inconvenience my offspring with the necessity of adding liquid to a bowl before microwaving.

My soup decisions are generally driven by what is available, either in the market or in the fridge or purloinable from the neighbors' gardens. My soups, however, slither silently into the realm of stews and potages, i.e. they often tend to be thick because, well, you eat what you are and I've been called thick on numerous occasions.

Of course, I do get a taste for specific soups, e.g. liquidy pasta fagioli, minestrone, escarole and beans, escarole and lentils, gulash soup, and any number of bean soups. In such instances, I allow my appetite to send me to the store.

By the way, if you go to e-Bay, I am auctioning off a family member. She doesn't eat much and usually smells pretty good.
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Re: Soup Philosophy?

Postby Cynthia Wenslow » Tue Oct 17, 2006 4:02 pm

While I love all soups, what I make really depends on what I need. I divide my soups into Comfort Food or Not Comfort Food. For example, I had a lovely watermelon gazpacho this summer, but it was Not Comfort Food. This weekend I made a big pot of green chile based soup. Comfort Food.
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Re: Soup Philosophy?

Postby Carl Eppig » Tue Oct 17, 2006 4:14 pm

Have to agree with Gary on this one. We love soup of all kinds, and when it's time to make soup, I make soup with whatever is on hand.
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Re: Soup Philosophy?

Postby James Roscoe » Tue Oct 17, 2006 4:27 pm

Gary Barlettano wrote:By the way, if you go to e-Bay, I am auctioning off a family member. She doesn't eat much and usually smells pretty good.


But does she look like you? That would really drive down the price! :lol:
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Re: Soup Philosophy?

Postby Jenise » Tue Oct 17, 2006 6:41 pm

Good question, Howie. I think you'll find that geography makes a big difference in how people answer--in the Pacific Northwest one can live on soups year round where one wouldn't in Miami or Phoenix. And vegetable-based soups are as much a meal to me as meat based soups (obviously)--especially since I eat a lot of leftover soup for breakfast, when I'd prefer to eat only vegetable or fruit based foods.

I probably make more vegetable and grain soups than I do meat soups, though, and in general the meat and bean soups are winter food. On rainy days? Pea soup. If I'm sick? Tomato bisque or chicken noodle but only the noodles and the broth.
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Re: Soup Philosophy?

Postby Howie Hart » Wed Oct 18, 2006 8:25 am

Gary Barlettano wrote:...My instructions are to just make something in a big pot and leave it in the fridge....

Usually, that's theyway it ends up here. I fill my 20qt stock pot, invite the kids over, bake some bread, watch the game.... After a few days, if there's any left I'm usually tired of it, so I freeze it. Then, six months later, I discover it in the freezer and throw it out. :roll:
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Re: Soup Philosophy?

Postby Carrie L. » Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:01 am

I'm like Gary -- I let my appetite decide what kind of soup to make. If I'm in the mood for something warm and hearty, I'll make 15 bean soup, or a rich beef barley soup. The soup I make most frequently though is turkey noodle. Obviously, I make this after Thanksgiving, or if it's another time of year, I like to use turkey wings and thighs. The thighs make for an especially nice shred of meat in the broth. My noodle of choice for turkey soup is a very wide Dutch egg noodle. Ironically, though, what I enjoy most about turkey soup is the broth. I sprinkle a hint of allspice on top, since my hubby won't allow it in the soup (or in ANY dish!)

I've never been a big fan of vegetable soup -- imo, the tomato always seeems to take over. If I feel like something tomatoey, I'll make chicken chili or gumbo.

Not a cold soup person, except on a very hot day, spicy gaspacho with a colossal ice cold shrimp on top. As far as cold fruit soups, give them to me in a tall glass with a straw and call it a smoothy.

Soup is always one of my favorite things to make. Love having something simmering on the stove all day. A-N-T-I-C-I-P-A-T-I-O-N......
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Re: Soup Philosophy?

Postby Christy M. » Wed Oct 18, 2006 2:50 pm

I usually make soup in the fall and winter. I tend to make it as a main course and something hearty, likely with meat and/or beans. My husband can EAT hence the hearty types which aim to fill him up.
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Re: Soup Philosophy?

Postby David Creighton » Thu Oct 19, 2006 11:23 am

i don't usually decide what kind of soup to make - my refrigerator tells me what kind i HAVE to make. like too many peas or asparagas means i have to make at least the base and then freeze it for later. the last one was oyster mushrooms - too many got sauteed to eat for dinner; so the next day some stock and cream got added for soup. the exceptions are gazpacho - though even there the tomatoes usually tell me it is time; and vichysoisse - the latter is one i make on purpose during the summer.
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Re: Soup Philosophy?

Postby Karen/NoCA » Thu Oct 19, 2006 12:03 pm

My favorite soups are seafood based. I make one with shrimp, scallops and crab, tomato based with lemon and basil. It is divine. Next on the list are chicken soups, and a minestrone mom used to make. Beef soups are ok but I rarely make them.
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Re: Soup Philosophy?

Postby David Creighton » Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:50 pm

last night when i was putting something in the freezer, a UFO jumped out and onto the floor. couln't figure out what it was so i heated it on the stove and finally it declared that it was a forgotten batch of turkey stock. i added some cream and thickening and it smelled really good; but i thought surely there must be some way to make it more substantial. then i remembered i had some cooked and frozen wild rice. added a handfull of that, heated it up and it was great. somehow this whole thing expresses by 'soup philosophy'.
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Re: Soup Philosophy?

Postby Howie Hart » Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:32 pm

creightond wrote:.....somehow this whole thing expresses by 'soup philosophy'.
Pretty much me too, however, have you ever planned a soup course as part of a meal and actually shopped for the necessary ingredients? I've done this a few times, but not often.
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