10 Techniques for Making Quickie Soups
You liked becoming the Usain Bolt of soup. Now, we’ve got more tips to make you even faster.
From quick meatballs to soup thickening tips, these 10 techniques are going to kick your soup-making butt down the race track.
#1 Easy Meatballs
To make meatballs fast, use any link-style sausage in a casing. Pork, chicken, veal, or turkey. Slice open the casing and squeeze or pluck out a tablespoon size piece of the ground meat. Roll it between the palms of your hands and you’ve got an instant meatball. Repeat with the rest of the meat in the link. Drop them straight into the soup to simmer. That’s how the meatballs were done in the Italian Wedding Soup pictured above.
#2 Put a Lid on It
When making a quick soup, the thing that slows me down the most is waiting for liquid to come to a simmer. It all heats up faster with a lid on though. So, unless it says otherwise, keep a lid on it. This will help it get hot quickly, help keep it hot and it will help get the ingredients done fast as well.
#3 Rapid Roux
A roux is a mixture of melted fat and flour that helps soups and sauces thicken up. It can be tricky business to thicken with a roux though. If you add liquid to a roux too quickly, sometimes the flour clumps up and you end up with the opposite of a smooth soup.
To get around this, start by sautéing vegetables (onions, carrots, celery, bell peppers, etc.) in butter then sprinkle the flour over top. Stir. The flour is now lightly coating the veggies and is evenly dispersed so it won’t clump up when you add liquid. Make sure any soup containing flour comes up to a good simmer. That’ll get rid of the floury taste.
#4 Super Slurry
If a roux isn’t your thing, a fast slurry is a great option. A slurry is an equal mixture of cold water and cornstarch or arrowroot, blended together and then stirred into a soup like this Homemade Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese and Bacon Croutons.
#5 Immerse It
An immersion blender is a great tool for making pureed soups more quickly. Instead of having to transfer the soup to a blender in batches and blend each batch, you leave it all in the pot, insert the immersion blender and puree to your heart’s content. It’s magical.
#6 Cheese, Please
Adding cheese to soup can be weird. If you add it during the cooking process sometimes it will curdle. Yuck. Instead, take your soup off the heat and serve into bowls. Sprinkle with cheese and serve. The heat from the soup melts the cheese. No curdled mess here, only good stuff.
#7 Chill It Down
When you make a cold soup you want it to be icy. To get it that cold purée ice cubes with some of the other ingredients, kind of like a savory smoothie. This gets the temperature down low in no time.
#8 Nuke It
And the opposite…One of the biggest challenge to making quick soup is getting the liquid heated quickly. Try heating broth in the microwave while you’re chopping and sautéing other ingredients. Just make sure you put the broth in a microwave-safe container and be careful when transferring that hot broth into your pot.
#9 Bacon Flavor Fast
So, you can’t just pour bacon fat into a soup. Well, you can but the fat wouldn’t incorporate into the soup and would form a greasy layer on top. If you want bacon flavor in soup, here’s what you do. Make a bacon-flavored slurry: Measure flour and water into a mason jar. Attach the lid and shake it. Shake it lots. Pour your slurry (that’s the stuff you were just shaking in the jar) into some warm bacon fat. Heat and stir until it gets thick. The bacon fat has now bonded with the slurry. When you add that to the soup it will blend in, no greasy layer. Here’s our Fully Loaded Potato Soup uses this technique.
#10 Getting Thick With Bread
For a quick puréed creamy-style soup, try thickening with bread. There’s no flour or cornstarch mixing to do. Just add fresh or stale bread cubes. Let them get really really wet in the soup. Then purée it (hint: use that immersion blender from #5 above). The wet bread breaks down into, essentially, starchiness that thickens the soup.