Fall Weather, Right on Schedule, Calls for SOUP!
Oh, Midwest, my beloved home, you are an enigma. Three days of record highs, ninety degrees yesterday, and a forecasted high of 67 today. I'm here for it, with a steaming bowl of soupy deliciousness.
All healthy soups start with a nutrient & flavor-packed stock or broth. This base is so easy to make at home; please, please, please stop wasting your money on sodium-laden, nutrient-deficient, store-bought broth and try making your own!
Are you ready for the totally doable recipe??
Step 1. Put veggie scraps (celery & onion ends, carrot peels, broccoli stumps, etc) into a pot and cover with water.
Step 2. Simmer for about an hour.
Step 3. Use it in any savory recipe that calls for water, stock, or broth or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Step 1. Put bones into a pot and cover with water. Add herbs/spices if desired. Bones can be trimmed from raw meat or removed after meat has been cooked. I suggest limiting each stock to one type of meat bone.
Step 2. Simmer at least 3 hours or up to 24, adding additional water if necessary to keep bones submerged.
Step 3. Carefully strain into a large pot or bowl.
Step 4. Use immediately in recipes or let it cool a bit, then store in a sealed, glass container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Stock and broth are also excellent to drink on their own when you catch a winter bug, especially when upset guts are involved. The sooner you use it, the higher the nutritional content and better flavor you'll get.
One thing I love about soups and stews is that you can throw together whatever you have on hand, and it magically becomes dinner. We have some old standby recipes that essentially come out the same every time, but it's fun to look up recipes and bring some variety to the table, as well. Over the past couple of years my husband has been limiting his dairy intake, so that has lead us down the trail to new recipes and variations of treasured favorites.
For soups & stews with meat, cook the meat first. This is a great use for leftovers, but if you're cooking the meat specifically for the soup, season it with salt, pepper, garlic powder and/or onion powder.
Chicken breast (the easiest and most versatile, IMO)
- Grilled, baked, or pan-seared, then shredded or cubed
- Poached or simmered until just done (internal temp of 165°), then shredded
Bone-in chicken (or turkey...hello, holidays!)
- Roasted or smoked whole chicken or thighs are my fave, because the flavor is
amazing, and the bones yield an especially lovely stock. During Thanksgiving and
Christmas we freeze so many bags of turkey stock in 2 cup & 4 cup quantities.
Pork (also extremely versatile, but with a little more flavor than chicken)
- Smoked shoulder or butt that's been shredded
- Ham cut from the bone (Perfectly usable for making stock, but it's not my
favorite. My husband comes from a hog-farming family, so his happy memories
are full of all things pork.)
I'll be honest, I don't use a lot of beef. It's delicious but pricey, which is why I'm
looking forward to our quarterly deliveries that start in a few weeks from Legacy
Livestock Company in Butler, MO! We cut beef into about 1-inch cubes and sear
the sides in bacon grease on a hot pan, then let it simmer until fully cooked in the
The rest of the story: Fill it with veggies!
Almost all of our soups & stews start with sautéing diced onion, celery, and bell pepper & sometimes carrot in a large pot. Add minced garlic and continue cooking for just a minute or two, because garlic burns easily. Season with salt & pepper and other spices if you're going for a certain flavor. E.g. oregano, basil, and parsley for Italian; cumin, cilantro, or Mexican oregano for south of the border; etc.
Then cut up other veggies...potato, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potato, okra, green beans, etc. Add them to the onion mixture and sauté about 10 minutes.
Add the cooked meat to the veggies and cover with your homemade stock. Throw in quick-cooking veggies like peas at this time.
Want it thicker? Stir together a tablespoon of corn starch and 1/4 cup of COLD water until the corn starch is completely dissolved, then stir this into the soup and simmer another couple of minutes.
Do you have a favorite soup recipe? Share it in the comments!
Dr. Amy Crowe is a nature-loving, homeschool-leading, grace-seeking chiropractor in Kansas City, MO.
She brings chiropractic care to women in their own homes and offices around the metro, because she wants to help break down barriers to self care.
Want to find out more?