Soup is the ultimate comfort food — with its unique flavors and endless variations, a small bowl of soup can make you feel like a kid again tasting mom’s cooking.
In the Latino culture, protein-laden soups are typical dishes at the family table, remedies for curing ailments, and even the “secret cure” for hangovers.
The preparation of soups may seem very basic: boil a broth and add the ingredients. If we think about it, it is not a very complicated science, but we can always apply some extra steps to facilitate the process, and the result will be better than expected.
The perfect soup will depend on many factors, such as cooking time and the order in which you add the ingredients, but if you are not one of those who want to spend hours cooking, here are some tips to easily achieve it.
Don’t throw away leftovers
Take advantage of leftovers from meals you’ve prepared before, like baked meats or stews, and just add vegetables and broth. You can also use leftovers as extra ingredients in a soup you’re already preparing.
Using already prepared dishes adds extra flavor to the soup from something that has already been seasoned.
Herbs are key
The main ingredient in any soup is always a vegetable or protein, but it’s important not to forget the herbs that will bring all those flavors together and add a bit of color. Both fresh and dried herbs are used in small amounts because they can overshadow the rest of the ingredients’ flavor.
Make it tasty with some protein
If you are looking to make the soup a main dish and not a starter, use protein. There is no major complication beyond using the right amount of salt and the right cooking time when using proteins. Whether vegetables or animals, they will always need a few more minutes on the heat.
The texture is as important as flavor
An ideal soup should be neither too thick nor too runny; it should be in a middle ground where we don’t feel we could drink it through a straw, nor so thick that it could easily be a puree. Achieving an ideal texture will depend on the vegetables we use and the time we cook them. A good option is to use a base of pumpkin, potatoes, or carrots that break down relatively quickly and help to give more body to the soup.
Learn to use heat
A good trick is to use intense heat to bring the water to a boil and then lower it to medium intensity; this will make the food cook slowly and have a better chance of releasing all its flavor and reaching the ideal texture.