We checked in with some experts to find out how to make a tasty soup


Warning: Use of undefined constant large - assumed 'large' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /srv/users/serverpilot/apps/concord-insider-wordpress/public/wp-content/themes/Nexus-child/functions.php on line 154

Warning: Use of undefined constant large - assumed 'large' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /srv/users/serverpilot/apps/concord-insider-wordpress/public/wp-content/themes/Nexus-child/functions.php on line 154

Warning: Use of undefined constant large - assumed 'large' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /srv/users/serverpilot/apps/concord-insider-wordpress/public/wp-content/themes/Nexus-child/functions.php on line 154

Warning: Use of undefined constant large - assumed 'large' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /srv/users/serverpilot/apps/concord-insider-wordpress/public/wp-content/themes/Nexus-child/functions.php on line 154
You can’t make chicken noodle soup without plenty of chicken.
You can’t make chicken noodle soup without plenty of chicken.
Just look at that mirepoix slowly cooking down in the Co-op kettle.
Just look at that mirepoix slowly cooking down in the Co-op kettle.
Wellington’s version of a vegetarian kale and Parmesan soup.
Wellington’s version of a vegetarian kale and Parmesan soup.
Ryan Blazon of the Concord Co-op chops what feels like a million onions for a batch of chicken noodle soup, the best seller at the Co-op’s soup station.
Ryan Blazon of the Concord Co-op chops what feels like a million onions for a batch of chicken noodle soup, the best seller at the Co-op’s soup station.

Have you ever heard of stone soup? Well, apart from sounding a little on the crunchy side, it’s actually the premise for an old folk tale about a group of travelers who tell the locals about their above mentioned soup and how it needs a little of this and a little of that to make it complete.

As the towns people contribute vegetables and spices, the soup gains flavors and taste until all the important ingredients have been added. It has been used to teach important lessons about sharing, but it also tells a loose story about how to make a delicious pot of your own soup. At least that’s what we learned after picking the brain of a few local soup chefs, who have spent countless hours making soups from scratch, in the quest to understand what goes into creating a good concoction.

“We are making soups every day and this time of year it just flies out of here,” said Rob Cone, sous chef at the Concord Co-op.

Unlike baking, where exact measurements and precise direction following are the difference between something being edible and it ending up in the trash, soup is a little more forgiving – or make that a lot more forgiving.

“Most of the time you can fix something,” said Debra Barnes, owner of Wellington’s Marketplace, where they make all their soups in house.

Once you decide making soup is part of your plan for the day, you want to come up with a general idea of what you’d like in it. Is it going to have meat or be strictly vegetarian? What kinds of vegetables do you want to use? Will it have beans, rice or noodles? Are you brave enough to make your own broth/stock, or is store bought the way to go?

“You want to make sure you’ve got the time to create a good soup,” Barnes said.

For those we talked to, soup making is a form of artistry.

“It’s not very exact,” said Natalia Strong, who owned the Soup Gallery before it closed at the end of 2014. “It gives you a lot of room for creativity. Everybody has their own way. Soup allows you that flexibility to substitute.”

These three have been making soups for years and have created a long list of soup combinations that you’ve likely never tried, let alone even heard of.

“We just try to get people used to and to enjoy flavors that are outside the box,” Barnes said. “When you take that first bite, we want you to have that OMG moment. And we always let people sample our soups.”

Speaking of things we’ve never heard of, there’s this thing called a mirepoix. It’s French, and quite common when it comes to making soups. It’s a generous mixture of carrots, celery and onions that act as your flavor base. Mix that with your stock or broth and your soup has some of its most important ingredients.

“Your soup takes on a depth of flavor,” Strong said.

And since every soup is so different, we’re not going to get into how long each part takes and the timing of it all because we’re just not that qualified. Plus, by now you should know we only like to speak in generalities. It makes your chances for getting something wrong go way down, and we like those better odds.

You can use just about anything when it comes to soup. Beer and wine are great for extra flavor, and think of a spice rack as your own little science experimentation station. Some soups even taste better the next day.

“It allows for the flavors to really marry,” Barnes said. “The variety is really endless.”

Here’s a couple of quick tips we picked up: Potato can act as a thickener because of its starchy quality, and greens are best added near the end because they will keep that vibrant color.

But what it really comes down to is what you like. You can add as many or as few ingredients as you want. If you’re a big vegetable lover, grab some of everything from the garden – just remember, the fresher and more in season it is, the better flavor it’s going to give your soup.

“You want a nice fresh product,” Cone said. “You try to be creative with the product you have on hand. It’s amazing how complex soups can be.”

Like beans? There are plenty of varieties to choose from. It’s all about mixing and matching. But remember that presentation is key – as is the taste. You don’t want to spend all that time slaving over a hot stove only to go hungry.

“You get used to what goes well with what,” Cone said. “It’s knowing how to make it reach the end result you’re looking for.”

When you’re making soup at home, it’s also a great way to clean out your fridge. Just think of it as your own version of stone soup.

“You can be as creative and flexible as you feel like being,” Strong said.

Author: Tim Goodwin

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Newspaper Family Includes:

Copyright 2021 The Concord Insider - Privacy Policy - Copyright