Adding frozen broth to a recipe
I’m playing along with Heather over at Beauty that Moves. Here’s a look at what’s going on in my kitchen!
I got a lot of positive feedback on my meal planning post and thought it would be interesting to share a bit about how I fill in my theme days. During the school year, Monday is soup night. We have soup, bread, and cheese. It’s a great meal for us that is comfort food, relatively easy to make, and fun to eat. This week, I thought I’d share some tricks we have for making soup making even easier and a favorite recipe.
With only a few variations, soup making comes down to chopping up vegetables, adding broth, and cooking. Sauteing the vegetables before adding broth adds depth of flavor. Pureeing before serving is another option. Adding pasta, beans, or grains before serving is also good. As an added bonus, kids can usually help with soup making. School is out at one o’clock on Mondays, so it’s nice to have a dinner project that we can do together if the kids are interested. It’s also always cozy to have a big pot cooking away on the stove while we fill our afternoon.
I like to make broth from scratch. It sounds so time consuming, but it’s not and I prefer broth from live vegetables to broth from mystery powder. I’ve done it a couple ways. One involved saving all my “clean-ish” veggie cuttings. Think onion peels, carrot peels, ends of zucchini and so on. I keep them in the fridge until I had a bag full and then cooked it up in water for 15 minutes or so. Lately, I’ve been doing a cleaner version. The tops of a couple leeks that I’m planning to cook the coming week, a couple pieces of celery, a carrot (we get gigantic carrots in the Netherlands called winterpeen that are great for this), peppercorns, and a bay leaf. When I make it, I usually end up with enough for two or three batches of soup.
You can freeze extra broth in one-liter zip-lock bags. Put the empty bag into a liter measuring cup, fill it with strained unsalted broth, close the bag most of the way, squeeze out air bubbles, close it up, label it, and put it in the freezer. It’s a good idea to put something heavy on top of the bag so it freezes flat. A bag left on its own freezes with a bulge in the middle. Flat bags are easy to file in my freezer drawers and defrost just a bit quicker. The bags usually develop get a tiny hole somewhere when they freeze. When I take them out to use, I put them in a large bowl catch the drips. The other alternative is to tear the bag open and drop a big old frozen broth tablet right in the pot and let the stove do the work. It’s liquid broth within 5 or 10 minutes.
I also freeze batches of base and red pepper. The base is sauteed onion, carrot, and celery. The red peppers are sauteed with onion until tender and then whizzed with the hand blender. I put the base in small containers and freeze the red peppers in ice cube trays. In a pinch, I have been known to put together a bean soup with a base cube, a few cubes of red peppers, water or frozen broth, and soaked beans. It’s like magic!
The most popular soup at the moment is beef barley soup. We eat it once every three weeks, the Monday after my butcher trip. It’s very simple: chop an onion, a couple carrots, and a couple celery sticks. Cook them in water with a piece of soup beef (I usually use a shank slice), a bay leaf, and a can of tomato. Cook on low heat for a couple hours until the meat is tender. Take out the meat, shred it, and return it to the pot. 20 minutes before serving, add barley or pasta (alphabet pasts is a huge hit right now). When the past is done, season and the soup is ready.
A couple weeks ago I made a last minute soup came up with a new winner. I haven’t worked it out to a recipe, but I’ll be using the framework again soon! I chopped up an onion, red pepper, bit of leftover raw pumpkin, and carrot and sauteed them. Add one container of base and broth. Once the veggies were tender, I whizzed it with a hand blender. Then, I added a big dollop (3-4 Tbsp) of tahini and whizzed it again. Total nutty creamy soupy bliss.
I’d love to share some new recipe idea. What are your favorite soups?
Let me know how things are going in your kitchen, then click that link and go see more kitchens at Beauty that Moves.