Soups - Introduction

Soups are a most versatile food. They vary from delicate, low-calorie meal starters like a vegetable consommé to robust full meals like posole or hotchpotch to the sweet dessert soups.

My preference goes towards full-meal soups with meat and vegetables. I do occasionally make soups with just one ingredient, e.g. leek, fennel a.o. Sometimes I use a combination of vegetables only; more often a combination of meat or seafood and vegetables.

Because of this preference for meal soups, many of my soups could rightfully be classified as mixed vegetable soups. However, when they were made with meat or seafood , I usually listed them under the type of stock/broth that was used since that is often the more defining flavor of those soups. If not, they would be classified under what I consider to be the main defining vegetable ingredient. There is also a category for 'mixed vegetable soup' for the potpourris that do not have a dominant ingredient.

If I have one shortcoming, it is that I have trouble cooking small quantities. I often start small, but then I find myself getting a bigger pot. For some reason, a small pot of soup just doesn’t look or feel right to me. But on the other hand, a big pot lasts me 2-4 days. That is so much time saved after that first day. :-)

I usually make enough soups to last me several days. On the first day I eat a regular (clear) soup with chunks of vegetables. On the second day, I add several quarts of water and boil the soup again to get a stronger broth. By then there is very little flavor left let in the solids. I then either sieve and discard the solids to drink the broth, or blend part or all of the solids into the soup to thicken it. Those are 2 very different soups but equally good.

Calories, please

I don't count calories ever. That doesn't mean I am not aware of them. Occasionally I warn about a high calorie count in a recipe, but never with specific numbers. I don't think it makes sense that I would count what I use, when I leave so much in my recipes open to personal inspiration and interpretation. I don't expect anyone to narrowly follow my ingredient listings. Recipes should imo always be adaptable to your own personal needs and preferences. If you want to count calories, by all means do. Weigh everything that you use; look up the calorie value of each item on the internet and tally the total without leaving anything out.

Do not assume that a broth is low-calorie or easily digestible, just because you strained it to remove the solids.  Imagine for a moment that you dropped some of those terribly spicy ghost peppers in your soup. Even if you remove them later, your soup will still be dangerously spicy.  When you make a soup and then filter it, you still have to count everything you originally put in the soup, because all that nutrition and those calories are now in that broth.

Depending on what all you put in it, a broth can be very rich indeed. Chicken broth is often the first meal a sick person is allowed to eat because it is so wholesome. A concentrated broth can be so loaded with dissolved minerals, sugars, fats and proteins that it becomes a mineral laxative. Add the additional fiber from the vegetables in a soup and the laxative outcome is practically guaranteed. Onion soup is rather infamous for that.

“A soup can be a stew can be a soup.”

I refer to this occasionally in my recipes. This motto is a reminder that 1/ Every soup can be turned into a stew by adding less water than the recipe recommends; 2/ Every stew can be turned into a soup by adding extra water. 3/ Sometimes you may even have more choices than just those two.

Sauces can do that too.


recipe page links

Chapter 1.1. Stocks and Broths

Chapter 1.2. Meat Soups

Chapter 1.3. Seafood Soups

Chapter 1.4. Fruit & vegetable soups


Chapter 1.5. other soups