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Secret Chef Tips When Making Soup


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1. Start With Delicious Liquid

  • Soups are mostly water, but it’s often disguised as broth or stock, wine, milk or cream.
  • The vast majority of the time, the liquid in soup is stock or broth.
  • When adding wine to soups, add the wine after you have sweated off the vegetables.
  • Be sure to bring it to a boil and let it cook for at least 10 minutes to cook off the harshest of the alcohol.
  • For cream- or milk-based soups, use fresh dairy products.

2. Sweat the Roots Man!

Aromatics include onions, leeks, garlic, and often celery and carrots.  Cooking them over low to medium heat in the pan before adding any liquid will help soften their texture and blend their flavors. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft but not browning, about 5 minutes.  The goal is to break down their cellulose (making them easier to eat or purée later) and get them to give off some of their liquid, which will deepen the flavor of the soup.

Peel and chop onions as uniformly as you can so they cook evenly.

3. Use the Right Tools

Technically all you need is a heat-proof vessel and heat, but if you want to make soups that shine a large and heavy pot, a powerful blender or immersion blender is going to work wonders.

4. Salt in Stages

Canned and prepared soups are known to be high in sodium. There’s a reason: all that water takes a lot of salt to flavor! The difference between soul-satisfying homemade soup and “why did I bother?” homemade soup is often in the salt. Cooks, afraid of over-salting, create pots of soup just a teaspoon or two shy of proper seasoning.

Salt soups as chefs do: in layers. Add some salt to the aromatics and other vegetables as you cook them. If you’re cooking the meat separately, make sure it is well seasoned before it goes into the pot. And, most importantly, taste it before serving and add salt until you taste a hike-up in flavor, then stop.

5. Make your soups look Alive!!

You’ve used great ingredients. You’ve cooked and salted them properly. How to make the most of it all before it hits the table? Add a bit of something fresh right at the end. Fresh herbs, fresh citrus juice, a dollop or two of cream or yogurt. A hit of something un-cooked and un-simmered will highlight the deep, delicious, melded flavors in the rest of the soup.

6. Garnish like a Chef

Go beyond chopped parsley and freshly ground black pepper (although they both make great garnishes for many soups!). Chefs know that the best soup garnishes offer a contrasting flavor or texture to both compliment and highlight the soup.

  • Crunchy on smooth (small croutons or crackers on a silky leek soup)
  • Smooth on chunky (sour cream on borscht)
  • Bitter on savory (herbs or black pepper on lentil soup or almost anything!)
  • Salty on sweet (diced crisped pastrami on sweet potato carrot soup)


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About Chef Yochanan Lambiase


Chef Yochanan Lambiase is the Director of the Jerusalem Culinary Institute providing a full range of programs for the next generation of kosher chefs. For more information about the school and the next 5 month professional culinary arts/Pastry program starting April 2013 and a new 8 week Master class Culinary and Pastry program check out the web site: www.jcichef.com




13 Responses to Secret Chef Tips When Making Soup

  1. avatar says: Community

    Here are a few questions that were posted by friends on Facebook – Maybe you can answer a few or consider them for your next post.

    The soup in the picture looks amazing. What do you put into a vegetarian “chicken” stock?

    That looks wonderful. What is your recipe please. Of course it would look good with matzah balls.

    My soups don’t have enough seasoning…any spice tips that you can provide?

    i want the recipe of yemenite soup!

    • Hi
      Firstly Thank you for enjoying my article and I look foward to sending you more

      For vegetarian chicken stock I usually make a strong vegetable stock using root vegetables but heres the trick!! Use Porchini,Portobello,or shikake mushrooms.
      They have a somewhat meaty flavor that will enhance your stock.

      or the best meatballs
      Use the following
      2 eggs beaten
      1/2 tspn baking Powder
      salt and peppep
      Enough matzah meal to give light soft texture.
      Note: matza Meal absorbs the moisture so be careful that your mix is not dry. Aliile wetter is best and leave for 5 mins and then your mix will be great.Make the balls about the size of a walnut.

      Add the balls to the chicken soup about 20 mins before shabbos and bring to the boil.
      Then turn off the heat and place the soup pot on thr blech. The balls will be as light as clouds by the meal.
      For the Yeminaite soup recipe find it at http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/152830

      Celery salt add a lovley flavor to your soups
      Please feel free to check out the next 5 month Culinary/Pastry Program and the NEW NEW NEW 8 week Masterclass Culinary/Pastry program given by award winning chefs at http://www.jcichef.com

  2. This is great! Soup is one of my favorite things to make! I love that you break down the process in to some wonderful tips. Thanks!

  3. Nice insight. If I can add one thing… always make your own stock!

    • Yosef
      THATS THE WAY TO GO……………

      To make natural stock cubes take your stock and reduce it down by 3/4 and freeze in ice cube containers .THROW AWAY THAT SOUP MIX MAN!

    • Yosef
      Please eel free ro check out our website at http://www.jcichef.com or facebook jci chef israel
      If you know any one looking to be a check the next 5 month Culinary/Pastry Program starts in April and the First of its kind 8 week Masterclass Culinary/Pastry Program learning new wave tecniques in the modern food industry given by award winning chefs under the hood of JCI


  4. Soup is among the most forgiving of recipes. And yet these pointers are incredibly helpful in making sure that the soup comes out better. These tips so are helpful, and easy to remember: like salting in stages. Of course that makes so much sense. Thanks.

  5. Such great tips! And perfect timing to brush up on them, with the cold weather here and soups being the number one go to dinner option! Thanks!

  6. Such great tips! And the perfect time to brush up on them with the cold weather here and soups being the number 1 go-to dinner option! Thanks!

  7. I’m feeling cooking guilt–I never make my own stock but I’mma start doing it! The “salt in stages” I think is the best recommendation ever. I learned that the hard way.

  8. These are really great tips! My favorite one is about garnishing the soup for flavor and texture contrast. So smart and simple!

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