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I’ve made variations of this comfort soup so many times, each time with slightly different ingredients. And each time it’s been delicious and easy to prepare.
My favorite part is that usually I just throw in what I already have in the fridge. You can customize it with what you have on hand, and to your specific way of eating.
I take several different vegetables, sometimes leftover meat or beans, and some homemade stock, throw it in the pot and boom. You’re done. It’s always delicious, nourishing, and quick to put together.
I like to think of a recipe as a guide, because there’s freedom with a guide. You can use what you like and what you have on hand. And you can change things along the way, based on flavor preferences.
I love this soup. Not only does it taste great, it’s quick and easy to prepare. Especially if you’re using things like leftover meat or beans that you already have in your fridge.
And if you’re anything like me, then you love nutritious and delicious meals that are easy to prepare. Also, if you’re looking for ways to save time in the kitchen, read this post on Essential Time Saving Tools in the Kitchen.
Okay let’s get cooking. First, get out your dutch oven, or big soup pot. We love using our dutch oven because, well, it’s awesome. It makes our food taste even better, and we can use it for soups on the stove, homemade broth, or we can even use it to make bread in the oven.
We saute the veggies in the dutch oven, then add the stock, then the cooked meat, then add grains and anything else, then eat.
It’s a one pot meal.
We don’t have a dishwasher in our house, so anything that uses only one dish is awesome.
Open the door to the fridge and look inside the veggie drawers. Anything you see can be used in this soup. Some of my favorite options are:
- peas (add later – in the grains step)
- bell peppers (these tend to sweeten the soup, if you like that, go for it)
- corn (add later – in the grains step)
- sweet potatoes
To prepare the vegetables, chop them so that they’re all about the same size. Then put them in the dutch oven with a little oil and a couple hefty pinches of salt. Cook them until the vegetables have softened a little.
You don’t want them too soft or they’ll get mushy in the soup.
While the veggies are cooking, add a couple teaspoons of herbs to season the soup. I like oregano and thyme in this soup, so I usually do one teaspoon of each. Taste as you’re cooking, and add more as needed.
This is a great time to add black pepper. My kids aren’t huge fans of black pepper (much to my husband’s dismay), so I use it lightly.
We use our homemade bone broth for this soup. It adds so much flavor and nutrition. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, vegetable broth will work just as well.
After the vegetables are cooked, pour in the stock so that it covers them by about an inch. Taste and season with more salt, pepper, and herbs, if needed.
Let it heat up to a simmer.
Pause for a Taste
As you’re cooking, taste frequently. This is one of my favorite parts of cooking, to be honest. I love tasting how the meal comes together.
Now you’ll want to taste the broth. If it needs more flavor, add more salt, pepper, and herbs, depending on your taste preferences.
If you’re new to this taste-as-you-go method, you might be wondering how in the world do I know what taste preferences I have? Well it takes practice and experimentation. Use recipes as a guide, and try to add something new and see how it goes. Make cooking fun and free.
This is a great time to taste the veggies, too. These last few steps don’t take much time, so you want the veggies to be cooked and hopefully not mushy. Taste one to see how it’s doing. If it needs a little more time, boil for a few minutes and taste again.
If you have cooked turkey, chicken, or sausage, this is a great time to throw it in.
Alternatively, you can use cooked beans or lentils for a vegetarian option. Add your protein to the soup now.
Grains are optional in this soup. I’ve used rice (read How to Cook Perfect Rice for the best method), quinoa, or noodles before and they all worked well. If you’re using grains of any kind, cook them before you put them in, and add them just before you’re ready to serve. That way they won’t get too mushy.
This is also when you want to add vegetables like corn, peas, or greens.
Ready to Eat
Make sure the soup is hot. Then taste and season as desired, and serve.
We’ve found that leftovers are especially delicious for this soup. The flavors get even better from the extra time sitting in the fridge.
If you make this soup (or some variation), please comment below and let me know how it turned out.