12 Chefs' Soup Secrets

It begins with stock

Chef Mareya Ibrahim says the tastiest soup comes from homemade stock. "I freeze chicken, veggie, and beef stock in an old-school ice cube tray," adds Ibrahim. "Then, when I need stock, I take out the number of cubes I need, and they're exactly portioned—versus pouring it into a big container and thawing it out or discarding bags."

A stick blender is magic

A stick blender makes blended soups and broths easier and tastier. "A stick blender is a must for purees so you don't have to transfer hot soup to a blender," Ibrahim explains.

Never boil soup

Yankel Polak, ButcherBox's head chef, says never to boil soup. "Never more than a moderate simmer," suggests Polak. "This allows you to create a clear broth while preserving texture in the vegetables."

Cover soup till it cools

Soup storage is as crucial as preparation, so keep it uncovered until it's chilled. "Trapping hot steam can lead to bacteria development," says Polak. "I usually chill my soup in an ice bath if I'm in a hurry, or open at room temperature for 30 mins before refrigerating."

Beans should not be drained

Add canned beans with liquid to soups for flavour. "Canned beans lend body and viscosity to a soup broth," explains Lisa Lotts of Garlic and Zest. She says not to rinse beans before adding.

Eat greens

Lotts suggests adding vegetables to brothy soups for a nutritional boost. "Avoid spinach since it wilts rapidly. Kale and escarole stay vibrant and provide a toothsome chew," she explains.

Cook with a parmesan rind

If you want to add umami to your soup, Lotts suggests simmering a parmesan rind in the stock. Lotts says it gives soup a salty, umami punch without overpowering. Peel the parmesan before serving.

Add kombu

Aaron Israel and Sawako Okochi of Shalom Japan in Brooklyn recommend adding kombu to soups. The kombu helps bring out umami tastes and gives soup body and texture. Add a 2-inch square per quart of soup.

Cook soup low and slow

Take your time when making homemade soup, even though it's tempting. Chef Mark Ian of Mealfan says soups are finest when cooked slowly. Ian says that cooking at a low temperature allows flavours to mingle, giving meals a richer taste.

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