Soup principles

I'm new to making soups, but recently turned on to eating them. Forget specific recipes, let's talk PRINCIPLES. Here's what I've been doing so far:

Simmer for 1-2 hrs. Chicken legs w/ combinations of carrot, parsnips, celery, potato, onion, garlic, black & white pepper, sea salt. Shrimp added at the end. everything in small chunks, potato, garlic and onion - very small.

Please add various suggestions/configurations. ESPECIALLY, for a slightly sweet, tomato-beef concoction (ever had PHO? - their beef stew..)

don't hard boil soup/stews, simmer

i usually add my cooked starch, ie: pasta/rice, separately right before serving

Ever consider a pressure cooker? I've never used one, but they're supposed to cut the time down to about 1/3 of the normal time.

Am I the only one who likes soup?

In case anybody cares, here's something I picked up recently. Joints are best for soup. I have been doing chicken base exclusively so far, and always used to throw out the tips of chicken wings (the 3rd part). Tonight I made wings and a soup with all the wing tips and a few of the non-drumstick wing parts, and it came out amazing.

How about some tips for beef?

The most important two:

sterilization - always bring to a rolling boil once all the ingredients are in and simmer afterwards.

rapid refrigeration - if making a large quantity of soup ( > 1 gallon), kickstart the refrigeration by using the freezer and inserting sealed icepacks into the soup. The objective is to get under 40 F in less than 30 minutes.

Soup is, bar none, the #1 source of foodbourne illness. The liquid helps bacteria multiply at incredible rates..exponentially higher than solid food.

I've seen, first hand, catastrophic results of someone putting a large batch of soup in the fridge overnight, not realizing that it can take 24 hours for a normal fridge to cool down that kind of mass.


I've been flirting with death with my soups.  I do (did) the pop a gallon in the fridge thing.  I think only the copious amounts of salt I use has saved me. 

Well, a gallon is kind of a gray area and is about the most a regular person is going to make, myself included.

For that kind of quantity, I'd recommend just keeping one of those 6 pack cooler things in the freezer. When it's done, serve the soup as usual, then drop the 6 pack thing in the pot and put the whole pot in the fridge.

This is, of course, assuming you're going to eat it in the next few days. Otherwise, you'd probably do better to split it up into servings via tupperware and throw into the freezer.

If you have a temperature probe, you can look at the results yourself. The impact of even one of those freezer packs is huge. It will drop the temp 30+ degrees extra in an hour than the fridge can do by itself.

The thing is, if the soup is properly sterilized, even if it is just refrigerated like usual, the chance of foodborne illness is rare, but it just adds an extra layer of protection. There is plenty of bacteria in the air and on that latel you used.

If you are only making a gallon, I wouldn't go out of my way to ensure FDA standard procedures, but if you have the equipment laying around, it certainly couldn't hurt.

roast a chicken, eat it, boil the carcass for stock, makes great soup (or sauces, etc)

if I was starting from scratch, I would roast the meat and bones (need bones for texture), get more flavor. Also, use onion, carrot and celery, maybe a little bit of herbs like bay and thyme (I think that's French, depending on what soup you're making, may not be appropriate).

Also, don't forget about bean soups cooked with a ham hock.

poopyhead - cooked bones for the soup? Advantage/disadvantage to using cooked? I've been using raw.

Know anything about making a beef stock?


2 kinds of chicken stock, brown (roast the ingredient) and white (? not sure about the name). Roasting gives you a richer flavor, which generally I like, although sometimes you may want a more delicate flavor.

If you're already having roast chicken, then it's convenient to make the brown stock. Turkey stock, in my opinion, is even better. You're already got the bones with the leftover bits of meat, just put it in the pot and simmer that.

If you're starting from scratch, you can just roast the ingredients (chicken necks and backs, veggies, whatever) first if you want the richer brown stock flavor.

bones: you need both meat (flavor) and bones (texture), but I don't know if it really matters whether you cook the bones as such. It's the meat that's the key if you want the richer flavor.

Beef stock: mixture of beef and beef bones, you can roast the beef for more flavor, too. I haven't made this in a while, since I'm a little worried about beef bones and mad cow, but principles are the same.

Now, besides being a big poopyhead, yuo are also THE MAN! Thanks to all for the input. This forum is a huge plus.

Made a huge discovery last night. Diced 1 roma tomato into the soup and holy shit was it good! Added a lot of sweetness, and this is the answer to my question about the sweet beef pho. Enjoy!

I have become the soup master. My soup is now always incredibly delicious and I will share...

Tonight - used the stock from ribs made last week, thawed from the freezer. Scoop out any crap remaining at the top. Add onion first with maybe 20 mins head start, bring to simmer. Add garlic, parsnip, carrot, mushroom, tomato, black & white pepper, sea salt, a little lemon juice. simmer another hour. Add raw shrimp and bean sprouts, simmer just a few more mins. Put modest amount of rice vermicelli in bowls with a little butter. Your tastebuds will rejoice! Other vegetables optional according to preferences and what's in the fridge - don't skimp on the veggies!