For some reason, many people find the notion of making soup overwhelming. As a result, they either skip soups at home or buy it canned. That’s not to suggest that Scamper snubs Campbell’s tomato soup. We don’t. As a general rule though, fresh is best.
If you made the chicken soup from last week, you’re ahead of the game. If you didn’t, fear not. We’ve got you covered.
“Cream” of Mushroom
You can use a little cream if you want but if you don’t, no one will know.
You’ll need about 2 lbs of fresh mushrooms for about 4 people. Any kind of mushroom is fine. We usually buy a variety. Portobellos and shiitakes mixed with regular white mushrooms is typically what we choose. Just take a good look at them before you throw them in your cart. Old mushrooms get slimy and moldy. Supermarkets tend to stick the old ones in the front.
- Rosemary fresh for both
- Onions 1-3
- Butter or olive oil
- Chicken stock (If you are buying it. Get unsalted*) 4-6 Cups Approx.
- And obviously. Mushrooms
BEFORE YOU SHOP, read this:
These are standard ingredients. However, like any other post from In The Kitchen, the idea is that you use what you like. We provide suggestions and simple techniques designed to enrich your experience in your kitchen.
* Salt is the only thing that really is important. Do not add it as you cook. You can always add it but you can’t remove it. Salt has an unpleasant habit of surprising you. It becomes concentrated quickly. That dash that you casually added may taste like a cup later.
You’ll need a relatively big pot.
- Sauté the chopped onions and the chopped garlic in the butter or oil. Truth be told, we don’t particularly enjoy sautéing garlic. Or chopping it, for that matter. We just cut off the ends and throw whole cloves in the pot. Garlic burns quickly so if you choose to sauté it with the onions add it at the end. Some people swear that caramelizing the mushrooms is crucial. We regard that as worth nothing more than an eye ball roll but if you’re looking to kill 45 min and it makes you feel good, have at it. Otherwise just throw them in the pot as is. (After a rinse)
- When your onions are translucent or golden, depending on your patience level,) golden is a little better but not if makes you cranky to wait. We’ve done both. )
- Toss them in with the mushrooms. Mix them in to distribute them.
- Throw in a few sprigs of either rosemary, thyme or both.
- And cover everything with stock. Just to the top of the mushrooms.
- Bring it to a boil
- Reduce it to simmer
- 2-4 hours until it has reduced by about half. If you like it thick, reduce it more. If you like it thin, reduce it less.
- Once you’ve reduced it, turn off the heat and ladle it 1-2 cups at a time, into a blender or Cuisinart and purée it. (Remove the Rosemary and thyme stems)
- Be careful– The soup is hot!
- You can either use a second pot for the puréed soup or you can just throw the puréed parts back in to the original pot and keep pureeing until it’s all blended. 2 pots is easier because you don’t have to hunt for solid bits to blend but we do not enjoy dealing with extra clean up. We do it either way depending on our mood and when the housekeeper is coming.
When it’s all blended and back in the pot, heat it just to the temperature that you like and you’re done. If you want to add cream, add it while you heat it up and stir it in. Give it an extra 5-10 min on low heat. The cream is a nice addition but you don’t have to use it. You only need a small amount 1/4-1/2 cup for the whole pot.
Spring Pea Soup
This is very similar to the mushroom soup. Just skip the Rosemary and go light on the garlic. They’re both strong flavors and they can overpower the peas.
You’ll need a couple of bags of frozen baby peas.
Some people also like to add a couple of carrots and a stalk of celery. If you want your soup to be a beautiful vibrant green color, leave the onions, carrots and celery in big pieces because you need to remove them before you purée and you don’t need to bother with sautéing either.
Pea soup doesn’t need to cook as long either. About an hour should do the job.
Peas have a lot of starch so don’t bother with the cream.
Once you’ve puréed it, strain it. Instead of putting it directly into the pot, place a fine strainer over the pot when you pour it back in after the blender.
You can use this technique for most vegetables. Just don’t try it with broccoli. It doesn’t work well. It gets a little sour. Carrots and squash work very well. Just use what you like.
Carrots, Potatoes, and Onions Soup
These 3 ingredients make a great soup.
- Just peel them, quarter the onions and throw them in a pot.
- You can cover them with either water or chicken stock.
- Simmer it for 2-4 hours, and blend it.
- Add salt and pepper and serve it up.
This time you will need the salt and pepper, unless you like things really bland.
Finally, a Scamper favorite:
- Chicken stock
- 1-2 cabbages depending on size. Purple or green. It doesn’t matter.
- 4 onions
- 1/2 a pound of pancetta
- Arborio rice
- Parmesan cheese
This one is hearty and so delicious but it is NOT good on date night.
- Shred the cabbage into strips and throw it into a big pot.
- Chop the onions and pancetta.
- Heat the pancetta until it looks a little brown. You want the fat to melt. Put the meat in with the cabbage.
- Then sauté the onions in the same skillet, using the fat. You can also do this in the big pot before you add the cabbage. (Less clean up)
- When the onions are translucent mix them in with the cabbage.
- Cover the cabbage with the stock and cover the pot loosely. Simmer about 4 hours. The cabbage needs to be soft.
- Add the Arborio rice. About 3/4 to all of the bag. And simmer on a low flame for the rice to cook. Look at the bag but 20 min is about right. 30 min is what we usually do.
- Then turn off the heat and add the Parmesan anywhere from 1/2 to the whole pint.
Stir it in and serve.
Enjoy your soups