The Secret to Better Soups
2022 November 06

I’ve been on a bit of a soup kick lately, in the past 2 weeks I’ve made 2 big pots of different kinds of soup. Both have turned out good, and have been filled with very rich and deep savory flavors. I have to give a lot of credit to the content I’ve been consuming and watching on youtube of older french cooking techniques. I credit the results to 2 very interesting ideas. The soups I’ve made have been a pepper potato chicken soup, and a beef short rib with beans soup.

The techniques are as follows:

  1. Getting color on the meat before adding to the soup. This helps to unlock other hidden flavors within the meat that are only obtained when the fats are rendered down.

  2. Using dried mushrooms to deepen the flavor. There’s an insane amount of flavor inside of them. You have to know how to use them.

I’m going to include both recipes below. There’s no real precision to either of these recipes use whatever you have that sounds good together.

Chicken with Peppers and Potatoes

Saute the onions and onions and start to caramelize them under low heat with some oil. This will take a while be patient. Once the onions have a nice bit of color add some sherry. Add the frozen bell peppers or use fresh peppers, its up to you and none of my business, and saute. Rehydrate your dried mushrooms in a measuring cup. I used about an ounce. Let sit for 30 minutes to rehydrate. Keeping the soup over low heat. Get out another pan and brown some little potatoes. The little potatoes should be cut into disks or quartered. Use some oil to help with cooking.

Remove the mushrooms from the mushroom tea. Reserve the liquid, chop up the mushrooms and add to the soup. filter the mushroom tea through a paper towel to remove any dirt found. Add the mushroom tea to the pot. At this point let it simmer, while browning the chicken. I like to use thin cut chicken breast. You want to get the chicken nice and browned. Add the chicken to the big pot.

Let simmer for a while, and then add salt and pepper to taste. You’ll know it’s done when it smells amazing. This soup can be served with sour cream to increase the thickness and richness.

Beef Short Rib with Beans

The first step is to soak some dried beans overnight in some water. I prefer dried beans for this because they are cheap and I have a lot more options. 1lb of dried beans becomes crazy large. I used about half the bag. flavorful soup.

You will need a big chunk of beef short rib, mine had 4 ribs. Cut it into one rib chunks. Add each of them to a large pot with no oil, then turn on the heat on medium high. Let each side get a bit sticky to the bottom of the pot. Rotate the chunks and get some color on all sides of the rib chunks. This should take about 5 minutes per side, and a decent amount of fat will be rendered into the pan.

While the ribs are cooking, you should be preparing your sliced or diced vegetables, I used celery, carrots, and onions. Remove the ribs onto a place, and pour off some of the fat leaving about a tablespoon in the pan. Add the diced vegetables and stir every so often. Let some nice color get on them. This should take between 7 and 10 minutes. De-glaze the pot with a touch of sherry. Add back the ribs and add water to cover them. Also add the beans. Also add some dried mushrooms and some tomato paste. Cover while simmering on very low heat for several hours until the ribs come apart. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Remove the bones, and serve.

Wrapping up

You’ll notice that neither of these recipes used any store bought broths. Using some simple simmering or mushroom tea to provide a very rich and flavorful soup. It’s a simple dish that has been with humans since the dawn of time, not hard to make, but hard to perfect. I hope these tips have given you some ideas for your own soups.

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Written by Henry J Schmale on 2022 November 06
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