Sunday, September 7, 2008


Soups are perhaps one of the best ways to get creative in the kitchen. The variety of ingredients, seasonings and garnishes are virtually endless. You can start from scratch using top quality ingredients or the leftovers from the night before. You can make classic soups that depend on using specialized techniques or, it can be as easy as simply throwing few things together.

Understanding the basics makes all the difference. These four recipes are designed to show you the basics of making chowders, pureed, and broth based soups. The techniques are simple and can be used in a variety of recipes.

Beef & Vegetable Soup


Vegetable oil 125 mL
Beef shank, neck or shoulder, cubed 2.25 kg
Mirepoix (onion, celery, carrots) 500 g
Garlic, minced 20 g
Thyme, dried 1 g
Bay leaf (optional) 2
Beef stock (recipe in previous entry) 4 L (substitute with store bought broth or water)
Potato, small dice 150 g
Leeks, medium dice 125 g
Zucchini, small dice 125 g
Tomatoes, diced 125 g
Corn, frozen (optional) 50 g
Salt & pepper To taste
Fresh parsley, chopped Garnish


1. Brown the meat in the oil.
2. Add mirepoix and sweat until vegetables are soft.
3. Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaf and sauté briefly.
4. Add the beef stock and simmer for about 1.5 hours to 2 hours. If you’re using water make sure to extend the cooking time for the broth to develop flavor. You can also cheat a little here by using store bought broth or about 100 g powdered beef stock.
5. Skim the soup as needed.
6. Add vegetables according to longest cooking times. In this case you would start with the potatoes.
7. When potatoes are done add the rest of the vegetables, simmer for a few minutes.
6. Season to taste and add fresh parsley to finish.

Chicken Noodle Soup


Vegetable oil 25 mL
Mirepoix 500 g
Thyme, dried 1 g
Oregano, dried 1 g
Bay leaf (optional) 2
Garlic 20 g
*Chicken, bone in 2.5 kg
Chicken stock or water 6 L
Leeks, sliced 450 g
Turnip, sliced 150 g
**Noodles, broken 250 g
Salt & pepper TT
Fresh Parsley or cilantro, chopped Garnish


1. Sweat the mirepoix until vegetables are soft. Then add thyme, oregano, bay leaf and garlic. Sauté briefly.
2. Add the chicken, stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and skim the soup as needed.
3. Add leeks, turnips and continue to simmer.
4. Add noodles.
5. Season and add fresh parsley or cilantro to finish.

* When I don’t have a stock ready I like to start this soup by using bone in chicken pieces such as drums and thighs. It’s even better if you have a whole chicken. This brings your cooking time up since you have to allow enough time for flavors to develop. When the chicken is fully cooked, simply take it out and let sit until cool enough to pull chicken from the bone.

** Use whatever noodles you like here. Personally I like to use Capellini, Rice Vermicelli or Cellophane Noodles. Also, you can always pre-cook any pasta before adding it to your soup to avoid most of the liquid from being absorbed.

Puree of Split Pea Soup


Split peas, washed and soaked 800 g
Bacon, diced 100 g
Mirepoix, diced 500 g
Garlic, minced 10 g
Thyme, dried 1 g
Water 3 L
Smoked ham hocks, or meaty ham bones 700 g
Salt & pepper TT


1. Soak peas in water overnight.
2. Cook the bacon in a pot, slowly and allowing it to release its fat (rendering).
3. Sweat the mirepoix and garlic in the fat without browning.
4. Add water, drained peas and the ham hocks or bones. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until peas are soft.
5. Remove the ham hocks or bones and set aside to cool. Blend the soup in a blender, food processor or a good old fashioned food mill.
6. Remove the meat from the hocks or bones, dice and return to soup.
7. Bring the soup to a simmer. If the consistency is too thick you can adjust it by adding water or stock. Season to taste.

New England Style Clam Chowder


Bacon, diced 250 g
Butter 50 g
Onions, diced 100 g
Celery, diced 200 g
Thyme, dried 1 g
Flour 100 g
Fish stock, warm 1.5 L (substitute with clam nectar)
Potatoes, diced 125 g
Baby clams 700 mL
Heavy cream, 35% 250 mL
Salt & pepper TT


1. Render the bacon with butter.
2. Sweat onions and celery until translucent.
3. Add flour to make roux. Cook it under medium to low heat, stirring and making sure
to keep roux light colored, also called white/blond stage.
4. Whisk in heated fish stock until smooth consistency. If using canned clam nectar,
warm it up before incorporating it into the soup.
5. Add potatoes and simmer until tender.
6. Stir in baby clams and juice.
7. Return to simmer, add the cream and adjust seasoning.

1 comment:

Degenerasian said...

That's a complicated recipe for soup!
I'll have to try to make that.

Being a chef sounds fun. Get to eat all day and be creative!