Sunday Soups

25 Jan

Winter in New England is harsh.  It’s cold.  It’s dark.  And there’s lots of snow, especially this week with Winter Storm Colbie reading to drop 2-3 feet of white stuff outside.  There’s nothing better than a big bowl of soul-warming soup – the kind that kicks those winter-blues to the curb.

Because I try very hard to not waste any food, I have gotten into the habit of making soup on Sundays.  I take all the extra veggies and meats from the week and throw everything in the Crock Pot.  Yup.  The Crock Pot is one of the best soup-making tools ever.

Today, I had half a bag of baby carrots, one potato, two stalks of celery, half and onion, and a rotisserie chicken breast leftover.  I chopped everything up, added some garlic (I always have a jar of minced garlic in the refrigerator) and some spices (Italian spice blend, red pepper flakes, black pepper), and I was on my way to delicious.

Crock Pot Chicken SoupInstead of using all stock, I use half stock and half water.  There are always cans or boxes of chicken or vegetable stock (the low sodium kind) in the pantry, and I stock up at the market when there is a sale.  Once everything was in the Crock Pot, I gave it a stir, put it on high for four and a half hours (I had a late start to the day), and enjoyed the warmth of homemade chicken soup in the air.

This is seriously the best way to use up whatever is in the refrigerator.  Green beans from dinner the other night?  Throw them in a soup.  A head of cauliflower that you swore you would cook?  Throw it in a soup.  Little meatballs or beans?  Throw them in a soup! Be creative with spices and combinations of ingredients.  Everything tastes good in a soup.

One of the best tips I can give you about making the BEST chicken soup is something that my Sicilian mom and grandmother did.  They added a small can of tomato sauce to their soup.  It might sound weird, but I swear it adds a fantastic depth of flavor that reminds me of being a little girl waiting at the kitchen table for a bowl of yummy goodness complete with a sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.  Try it.  You’ll never go back.

Can I tell you how much of something to put in?  Nope.  Use what you’ve got.  Can I tell you how long to cook it for?  Nope.  I can tell you that I usually put it on for 4-5 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low.  I like my veggies to be tender (especially if they were raw when I put them in), so I check on them after a few hours.  I can also tell you that if you’re going to add pasta, WAIT UNTIL THE END, like maybe the last 30 minutes or so.  I may have added pasta at the beginning of cooking one batch, and let’s just say it disintegrates.

What kind of soup are you going to make?

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One Response to “Sunday Soups”

  1. jamieayres January 25, 2015 at 9:07 pm #

    Just made some bean soup in the crock pot today 🙂 Great way to use leftovers, for sure!!!

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