homemade-soup.jpgWhen I’m cold and I think about dinner, soup is the one dish I constantly go back to. I don’t like just any soup though – I only crave homemade soup.

But why make homemade soup when it’s so easy to open up a can and eat within minutes? Really, it all comes down to taste. If you go through the effort of making your own soup base and you let your soup simmer on your stove or in your slow cooker for hours, the flavours of what you’re cooking will practically explode when you eat it.

Homemade soup is also easy to customize, so if you have a picky eater in your house, you can add or remove ingredients according to what they’ll like.

I’ve made homemade soup base and stored it in my fridge, then put a soup recipe in the slowcooker for an entire day. When we get home at night, the entire house smells like hot, delicious soup. Then all you have to do is slice up a loaf of sour dough, serve a side salad, and dinner is on the table.

Here’s a look at a few of my favourite soup recipes, starting with a soup base I use all the time.

Soup Base chicken-soup-base.jpg

When you want to make homemade soup, you need to start with a good soup base. This recipe from Martha Stewart is perfect for any type of soup you want to make and it keeps in your fridge for up to 3 months.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds chicken parts, such as necks and backs
1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), rinsed
4 medium carrots, cut into pieces
3 celery stalks, cut into pieces
1 large yellow onion, quartered
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
5 stems parsley

 

Directions

In a 10- or 12-quart stockpot, heat oil over high. Add chicken parts and cook, turning frequently, until browned on all sides, 15 minutes.

Pour out fat. Add whole chicken, carrots, celery, onion, peppercorns, parsley, and enough cold water to cover ingredients by 1/2 inch (about 12 cups).

Bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through, 40 minutes, skimming fat and foam and flipping chicken once.

Transfer whole chicken to rimmed baking sheet and let cool, about 10 minutes.

Pour liquid through a paper-towel-lined sieve into a large bowl (you should have 10 cups broth). Discard vegetables and chicken parts.

Shred chicken into bite-size pieces, discarding skin and bones (you should have 4 cups meat).

 

 

 

Now that you’ve got your soup base made, here are a few delicious soup recipes to try.

 

Asian Noodle Soup with Chicken asian-soup.jpg

I love spicy soup. One a cold day it warms you from the inside out, and served with hot bread it’s the perfect meal for the entire family. This recipe is Martha Stewart’s, but I add my own tweaks depending on who I’m serving it to. For kids I skip the Sriracha.

 

Ingredients:

Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 ounces rice noodles
3 3/4 cups soup base or 2 14.5 cans of chicken broth
1 piece fresh lemongrass (3 inches), smashed, or 3 sticks dried lemongrass
1 piece peeled fresh ginger (1 inch), cut into matchsticks
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 ounces each), thinly sliced crosswise
8 ounces snow peas, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
Asian chile sauce (such as Sriracha), for serving (optional)

 

 

Directions

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain noodles. In a saucepan, combine soup base, lemongrass, ginger, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until fragrant, 10 minutes.

Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain broth and return to saucepan. Add chicken and snow peas and simmer until chicken is cooked through and snow peas are crisp-tender, 2 to 4 minutes.

Remove soup from heat and stir in lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, pour soup over noodles. Top with mint, lime wedges, and chile sauce if desired.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Chicken and Wild Rice Soup chicken-rice-soup.jpg

This is one of my favourite soups, and trust me when I say your kitchen will smell amazing when it’s cooking. I like to do this one in the slow cooker and let it cook all day. The directions say it’s a quick soup, but cooking for longer really brings out the flavour. This recipe and photo is from health.com.

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked quick-cooking wild rice

Cooking spray

1 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups soup base

1 1/2 cups cubed peeled baking potato

3 cups 2% reduced-fat milk

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

10 ounce light processed cheese, cubed (such as Velveeta Light)

2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)

 

 

Directions

Cook rice in a rice cooker.

 

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Add broth and potato; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until potato is tender.

 

Combine milk and flour, stirring well with a whisk. Add the milk mixture to potato mixture; cook 5 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in rice, chicken, pepper, and salt. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

 

 

Butternut and Apple Harvest Soup butternut-squash-apple-soup.jpg

If you love butternut squash the way I love butternut squash, you will love this soup. The apple gives it a sweet flavour you may not have experienced in soup before. Photo and recipe from allrecipes.com.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter
2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 cup diced carrots
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and sliced to 1/4-inch thick
4 cups soup base
1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
1/2 cup light cream
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped chives

 

Directions

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in leeks and onions, and cook until the onion softens and turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Add potato, squash, carrots, apple, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.

Carefully puree the soup in batches in a blender, or use a stick blender to puree the soup right in the pot. Once the soup has been pureed, return it to the pot and stir in wine and cream. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper; simmer gently for 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped chives.

For lunch, dinner, or just as a warm snack on a cold afternoon – soup is the one meal that’s good for any time of the day. If you need to stock up before you begin making homemade soup, just take a look at the cookware available on Bestbuy.ca.

Here are a few of my favourites for soup-making.

cast-iron-round-pot.jpg 
When you want to simmer your soup for hours, you’ll need a cast iron pot like the Staub 4.6L Cast Iron Round Cocotte
stock-pot.jpg 
A stock pot like the Paderno 19L Covered Stockpot is the perfect kitchen tool to create soup base
slow-cooker.jpg 
Slow cookers will make simmer your soup all day so it’s ready for you when you get home

Intro soup image from http://adashofcinema.com/