Soup Cooking Tips

Fri, Sep 12th, 2014

Over the years, there has been a lot of soup prepared in the Mapleton's restaurant! Favourites include Corn Chowder, Split Pea with Ham and Lasagna soup.

Here are some tips to help you make your next batch of soup a success!

#1 – Chop everything evenly.

When you chop items, you want evenly sized pieces. This allows all of the items to cook uniformly. The only exception would be if you are including items that quick cookly as well as items that cook more slowly in the same pot.
For example, sweet potato and tomatoes cook more quickly so can be cut in larger chunks. Onions, potatoes and carrots take longer to cook so should be diced or chopped small.

Corn Chowder

#2 – Lots of different veggies? Simmer longer.

Variety is great, but if you are using many different vegetables it will take longer for their flavours to combine in your soup. In the Mapleton's restaurant kitchen, we let soups like these simmer longer. Crock pots work perfect for this making it easy to simmer a soup for 8-10 hours.

#3 – Soften onions separately – especially if using a crock pot.

Chop onions and then soften them in a pan with some oil or butter on low heat. (Be careful with butter as it can brown quickly.)
If a recipe calls for onions prep them first and get them simmering as your first step. While they are softening up you can continue to prep the rest of the recipe.
This tip is especially important if you are using a crock pot for your soup.

#4 – Use seasonings.

Most recipes will outline which seasonings to use. At the Mapleton's restaurant kitchen we sometimes get a little inventive.
One of our favourite go to's is herb d'provence. It goes with pretty much anything. (We create our own mix by drying herbs from the garden and mixing them together.)
If it is a tomato based soup, basil is always a good choice. For soups with mushrooms or onions try thyme.

#5 – Taste Often!

As mentioned previously, we sometimes like to get creative or are dealing with different tastes depending on the ingredients and time of year.
Taste test your soup creation often to monitor flavor. But no double dipping!

#6 – Start with a recipe.

Although we don't always do this, cook books and online recipes are great resources for ideas. They can be especially helpful when you are dealing with in season produce.
Pay attention to the main ingredients and adjust and substitute less important items as needed.
If you prefer the feel of a cookbook in your hand, don't forget your local library. This is a great way to check out different books. If you fall in love with one, then you can purchase it confidently.

#7 – Don't be too tough on yourself!

Not everything turns out, and sometimes you'll have to try again. (It even happens to us sometimes.) Cooking takes practice and soups are a great place to start.

kale and sausage soup

Up next, How to make your own stock!

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