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Old 10-01-2008, 10:59 AM   #1
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Making soup from scratch?

I'd like to make more soups. Right now if I am making something else, pressure cooker chicken and veggies for instance, I don't have too big a problem turning it into soup my shredding leftover meat, maybe adding more veggies or noodles of some sort to the juice I had leftover. I would like to start from scratch with the sole intent of making soup, but don't know when to add water and when to add broth or stock, how to cook the meat with it's only intent to be turned into soup, I'm not really sure where to start. By boiling water and adding stuff?

More specifically, I would like to turn some short ribs into a beef and barley soup with veggies, using my pressure cooker if at all possible. At least to shorten the beef cooking time, unless it would be better to trim the meat, but I'm thinking bone in would be better.
So, do I leave the meat on the bone, brown it first in oil, then add water & spices and start cooking? Would I add water and storebought stock to add more flavor right off the bat? Can this even be done at one time start to finish, or is there going to be cooling and skimming needed?

Does anyone have a few simple rules of thumb or preferred methods to turn an empty pot into one with some tasty, hearty soup in it? Without opening a can of Campbell's Select?

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Old 10-01-2008, 11:08 AM   #2
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Mmmmmmmmmmmm! Soup is my favorite food. I don't own a pressure cooker so my soup making is all in a pot on the stove.

OK, here are some basics.

-Beef of any type is better browned. It gives your stock/broth more flavour and depth.
-Leave the meat on the bones and take it off later and chop it up into the soup.
-Start with the bones in a pot and cover with water. More bones = better soup.
-Add root veggies earlier, and other stuff much later. Herbs near the end.
-You need a bit of sweetness so saute your onions to bring out their sugar or roast them in the oven. I like to do them just past golden and into brown. I sometimes cheat though and toss in a handful of brown sugar if I'm in a hurry. Roasting carrots is another great way to add some sweetness.
- Chicken carcasses (cooked) don't produce that scum that raw chicken does. They will also give you nearly the same flavour. Toss a tbsp of cider vinegar into the pot with the bones to leach all the calcium out and into your soup.
- Same as with BBQ low and slow works best if you can. (Pressure cooker probably works differently, sorry no info on that) Don't let your soup boil if you can help it. A good simmer is the best bet.
- Barley and other stuff I like to add to my finished product right before serving as I don't like it to get "overdone". Just my personal preference. I take some stock out of the pot and add some water and simmer the barley in that.

Hope some of that is helpful pacanis. Let me know.
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Old 10-01-2008, 11:10 AM   #3
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Bone-in short ribs will bgive a better flavor and texture tot he broth. Sear the meat first. More flavor from the Maillard reaction. Remove it from the pot and add a mire poix - two parts onion one part each of carrot and celery. sweat the veggies in the fat left in the pot.

This is a good start to most soups.

Add a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste and cook that with the veggies.

Add stock/broth or water. Water has less flavor.

Then add seasonings and other things such as canned tomato. Simmer until the meat is tender and the bones have given up their goodness.

Remove any bones and skim off fat.

Add veggies (beyond the mire poix) and simmer until done. Barley needs a good bit of time to soften.
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Old 10-01-2008, 11:11 AM   #4
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Hey, Pacanis. I'd suggest reading a few recipes to get the idea, and then going from there. Here's one: Beef, Barley, and Vegetable Soup Recipe at Epicurious.com

If you want to make your own stock, that's a separate step. Usually, when making stock, you simmer the ingredients for several hours, till there's no flavor at all left in the ingredients, so they're useless as soup ingredients. Here's a basic recipe: How to Make Beef Stock | eHow.com HTH.
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Old 10-01-2008, 11:14 AM   #5
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Soup is one of the easiest and most forgiving things to make from scratch. I learned how mostly by watching my Mom and Grandma make soups. It's amazing what you can turn out with little to nothing to start. One of my all time favorite soups is little more than potatoes and water!

I do, however, LOVE to read cookbooks, and there are many that have great ideas for soups that I never thought of.

For your short rib / barley soup -- Man, it sounds wonderful! I would sear the short ribs (bone in, of course -- they'll fall out later!), then add chopped onions, celery, carrots and soften. Unless you have home made, I don't think you'll need stock. Your short ribs will add so much flavor. I would also add some ground, dried mushrooms. Put a couple quarts of water in the pot (to cover everything very well) a couple of bay leaves, salt and pepper to taste, and maybe some thyme, and let simmer for several hours on low heat, or in a 325 degree oven. When the short ribs are "falling apart tender," I would remove the bones, shred the meat and add the barley to the mix. Continue simmering until the barley is done.

You could garnish with mushrooms sauteed in butter.

Edit: oops... forgot the wine! I would probably use 1 cup of rich - but not tannic - red wine (Cote du Rhone, perhaps) along with the water.
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:05 PM   #6
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I'll just add to all of the wonderful ideas/suggestions etc. that....

Your soup(s) will be no better than your stock(s)......

Have Fun!
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:27 PM   #7
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Wow. Some great advice and tips here...
About the PC, I was hoping to speed up the long simmer until the meat falls off the bones time, but maybe I should forget that until I get a handle on making it the regular way.
After reading these replies, up to Chef June as I'm typing this, I can see in my mind I was confusing making stock from scratch with making soup from scratch. I also see the steps to build the flavor up in soup. My stew isn't bad, I brown floured meat, add everything else, and cook until thick, but sweating/sauteing the veggies in the juices left over from cooking the meat.... then adding more later on as you build your soup..... I can almost taste it

I gotta scoot to the store for some celery >>>>>>>>
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Old 10-01-2008, 01:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
I'd like to make more soups. Right now if I am making something else, pressure cooker chicken and veggies for instance, I don't have too big a problem turning it into soup my shredding leftover meat, maybe adding more veggies or noodles of some sort to the juice I had leftover. I would like to start from scratch with the sole intent of making soup, but don't know when to add water and when to add broth or stock, how to cook the meat with it's only intent to be turned into soup, I'm not really sure where to start. By boiling water and adding stuff?

More specifically, I would like to turn some short ribs into a beef and barley soup with veggies, using my pressure cooker if at all possible. At least to shorten the beef cooking time, unless it would be better to trim the meat, but I'm thinking bone in would be better.
So, do I leave the meat on the bone, brown it first in oil, then add water & spices and start cooking? Would I add water and storebought stock to add more flavor right off the bat? Can this even be done at one time start to finish, or is there going to be cooling and skimming needed?

Does anyone have a few simple rules of thumb or preferred methods to turn an empty pot into one with some tasty, hearty soup in it? Without opening a can of Campbell's Select?

Soup is my forte. If there is anything I love to make and am good at it's soup. Alix gave you great tips and every one of them will give you terrific soup. I'm not sure about using a pressure cooker. I use a Dutch oven and simmer soup slowly. Good stock will give you good soup. Don't skimp on that one. If you are serious about making soup, why not get a "soup only" cookbook or google whatever kind of soup you want to make.
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Old 10-01-2008, 01:55 PM   #9
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Soup is my forte. If there is anything I love to make and am good at it's soup. Alix gave you great tips and every one of them will give you terrific soup. I'm not sure about using a pressure cooker. I use a Dutch oven and simmer soup slowly. Good stock will give you good soup. Don't skimp on that one. If you are serious about making soup, why not get a "soup only" cookbook or google whatever kind of soup you want to make.
Because I wanted to come here first
I read five replies that all overlap in one way or another, reinforcing everyone's suggestions, in a fraction of the time it would have taken me to order a cookbook or Google the internet

But while you're here..... is it OK to add baked potatoes that have been sitting in the oven overnight?



General question:
Let's say I wanted to make chicken soup.
Would I still brown or sear the chicken pieces to start?
Should I remove the skin because it will add too much fat? ( my favorite part of the chicken)
Could I cut down on the 2 hour simmer time because it's chicken and not beef I am trying to cook until tender?
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Old 10-01-2008, 01:57 PM   #10
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The only thing that I will reinforce, cause it's been said already. Slow and steady on this one. I simmer my soups a long time (3-5) hours depending on what kind. As has been said. the stock is the soup.

AC
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Old 10-01-2008, 01:59 PM   #11
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See the do patatoes have to be refrigerated thread - From what they are saying it is not OK. I would aslo think that a baked potato after being cut up and simmered a whaile would turn into mush.

AC
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Old 10-01-2008, 02:03 PM   #12
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AC, do you simmer it that long with all the ingredients in, or hold some back?
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Old 10-01-2008, 02:04 PM   #13
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See the do patatoes have to be refrigerated thread - From what they are saying it is not OK. I would aslo think that a baked potato after being cut up and simmered a whaile would turn into mush.

AC
Uhh, gotcha!
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Old 10-01-2008, 02:05 PM   #14
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good for you pacanis for trying to make soups, it is a skill that will serve you well..I make many soups and eat/drink them for breakfast, lunch and suppers.

oh, ChefJunes cookbook has an excellent recipe for making chicken soup which includes using a pressure cooker

but no, you do not brown the chicken parts and I would not remove the skin, but some defat the soup afterwards
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Old 10-01-2008, 02:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
General question:
Let's say I wanted to make chicken soup.
Would I still brown or sear the chicken pieces to start?
Should I remove the skin because it will add too much fat? ( my favorite part of the chicken)
Could I cut down on the 2 hour simmer time because it's chicken and not beef I am trying to cook until tender?
As you might have guessed, whether or not you brown the chicken depends upon whether you want a golden or a brown stock. In our family, we cook a whole chicken in the soup... skin, bones, meat, everything -- NOT browned. Add a large onion peeled and poked through with a knife, and 2 cloves in it, 3 carrots and 3 stalks of celery. Essential too, is a parsley root, and failing to find one, you need a whole bunch of parsley, wrapped in cheesecloth. The pot gets filled 3/4 with water (use a 10 - 12 quart pot).

Bring it to a boil, then lower to a bare simmer and let it cook for a couple of hours. Skim off the "impurities" that rise to the top.

In our family, we remove everything from the soup and serve a clear broth with matzo dumplings, kreplach, mondlen or home-made noodles. The chicken can be used for chicken salad or tetrazzini. The veggies are pretty much "dead." I often eat the carrots. the others, not so much.

The fat adds flavor. I prefer to leave it on/in, and then chill the soup. The fat congeals on top and you can remove it. So you have all the flavor, but not the fat itself.
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Old 10-01-2008, 02:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
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I would aslo think that a baked potato after being cut up and simmered a whaile would turn into mush.

AC
Yes, but they make excellent thickener for Chowder!
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Old 10-01-2008, 02:17 PM   #17
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Or you could roast da birds first...remove and reserve the meat till later towards the end of cooking...Make your stock from all of the remains...

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Old 10-01-2008, 02:43 PM   #18
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Interesting. It seems making chicken soup is a different animal than making beef soup... err, pun intended I guess.
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Old 10-01-2008, 02:51 PM   #19
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Interesting. It seems making chicken soup is a different animal than making beef soup... err, pun intended I guess.

The possibilities are endless...you are only limited by your imgainition!!

Have Fun & Enjoy!
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Old 10-01-2008, 04:24 PM   #20
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As you might have guessed, whether or not you brown the chicken depends upon whether you want a golden or a brown stock. In our family, we cook a whole chicken in the soup... skin, bones, meat, everything -- NOT browned. Add a large onion peeled and poked through with a knife, and 2 cloves in it, 3 carrots and 3 stalks of celery. Essential too, is a parsley root, and failing to find one, you need a whole bunch of parsley, wrapped in cheesecloth. The pot gets filled 3/4 with water (use a 10 - 12 quart pot).

Bring it to a boil, then lower to a bare simmer and let it cook for a couple of hours. Skim off the "impurities" that rise to the top.

In our family, we remove everything from the soup and serve a clear broth with matzo dumplings, kreplach, mondlen or home-made noodles. The chicken can be used for chicken salad or tetrazzini. The veggies are pretty much "dead." I often eat the carrots. the others, not so much.

The fat adds flavor. I prefer to leave it on/in, and then chill the soup. The fat congeals on top and you can remove it. So you have all the flavor, but not the fat itself.
I too brown the chicken, beef etc. before making soup. I prefer to brown the parts in the oven, giving the soup a nice rich flavor and golden color. However, like you ChefJune, I love matzo ball soup or kreplach so to do this I use raw chicken so that I can have clear broth. OMG now I gotta have matzo ball soup!!
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