soup tutorial

The Gentle Art of Soup-Making

The Virtues of Homemade Soup 

Wouldn’t you agree there is something special about homemade soup?  It fairly sings, “I love you,” with every spoonful.  Soup is comforting, strengthening, and healing. Soup is not hard to make, but does require time, and something more… heart.   You see, soup is changeable.  You may follow the same recipe and end up with a slightly (or entirely) different dish each time you make it.  And while that is not a bad thing, after all, soups are a great way to make use of little dibs and dabs of leftovers, you must be willing to taste and adjust the seasoning near the end of the cooking time, asking yourself, “Does my soup taste balanced?  Are the flavors well-married?  Is it salty enough?  Could it use a touch of brightness (lemon juice), additional herbs or more freshly ground pepper?”   Evaluate the flavor and trust your instincts. You know what you like, and if you are blessed to cook for a family, you know their tastes as well.   While time may be hard to come by that is no reason to deprive yourself and the ones you love of the restorative powers of soup.  Think of ways to divide tasks into manageable steps, such as pre-chopping vegetables the day before, making a big batch of Egg Noodles (Knoephla – pronounced k-nip-flah)  ahead and freezing it in recipe-size portions, or tucking a morsel of meat, well-wrapped and labeled, into the freezer for a future batch of soup.

Pre-made stock is a frozen asset

Add economical to the virtues of soup.  You likely have most if not all of the makings of a beautiful pot of soup already stashed away in your garden, cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer.   On this week’s program of Kitchen Wisdom, I serve up a batch of ideas.  Ideas for re-purposing vegetable bits and peelings into Thrifty Stock and a formula for crafting a fermented  Vegetable Bouillon or a dried Veggie Powder to either enhance or form the basis of your next pot of soup.   A homestyle masterpiece:  Chicken Noodle Soup with Roasted Garlic, awaits you and several bonus recipes:  Heirloom Tomato & Chickpea Soup, Cheeseburger ChowderCurried Pumpkin Soup, Zucchini Velvet Soup, and Garden Vegetable Soup ~ with Pesto.  You’ll also find a Tutorial:  How to Sew a Muslin Stock Bag, a timely recipe for Turkey Carcass Stock, and old-fashioned, fortifying Bone Broth. Thank you for joining me, I hope my recipes are a blessing to you!

Michele Ps.  Next week we’ll delve into the world of homemade bread…  To view Kitchen Wisdom programs visit and click on the  Kitchen Wisdom box. Select and view your show online in the comfort of home, then meet me back here for all the recipes!

dinner soup

Chicken Noodle Soup with Roasted Garlic

Ah, the restorative powers of homemade soup…

This is the soup my family requests when someone is feeling “under the weather.”  It has Campbell’s beat by a mile!  By keeping a supply of homemade stock and boneless chicken in the freezer I can put it together without too much effort.  And, yes, I do make my own noodles.  My German Grandma, Emma Blumhardt, taught me to make “knoephla” (pronounced k-nip-fla) a thick, fluffy German egg noodle made with a bit of baking powder.  I occasionally make up a large batch, divide it into portions, and freeze them.  My mom, on the other hand, buys dried egg noodles and that works, too.

1 quart Thrifty Stock (or store-bought chicken 
    or vegetable broth)

3 quarts water
2 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
3 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1/2 small head of white cabbage, shredded

Heat stock in large soup pot with 3 quarts water.  Add vegetables and simmer, lid tilted.  

1 head garlic

1 Tbs. olive oil

Trim off pointed end of garlic, exposing the individual cloves.  Drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil, and roast in 300 degree Fahrenheit oven for 50 minutes, until soft.  Let cool.

1 lb. chicken thighs or breast tenders
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic salt
4 oz. thick cut egg noodles, homemade (see Knoephla, German Egg Noodles) or store-bought
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Heat olive oil in cast iron skillet.  Sear the chicken on both sides, season with salt, onion powder, garlic salt.  Cool slightly, then chop chicken and add to soup.  Squeeze garlic from wrappers, mash well with a fork and add to soup.  Simmer 1 hour to marry flavors.

Meanwhile, boil 8 oz. noodles in separate pot of water according to package directions until al dente.  Drain and rinse.  Add to soup during last few minutes of cooking time.

Taste and add salt or additional water to correct seasoning or thickness of soup.  Serve garnished with a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup with Roasted Garlic:
just what Doctor Mom ordered.



Chickpea & Heirloom Tomato Soup with Rosemary

So incredibly fragrant it will make your mouth water while it simmers


If you have a supply of Thrifty Stock, pre-cooked chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans; see Cooking Dry Beans ), and home-canned or store-bought Crushed Tomatoes & Herbs it goes together easily.  To quickly thaw stock frozen in freezer containers (not jars) fill your sink halfway with hot water and float the containers in it for 15 minutes, until you can pop them out into the soup pot.  During the summer I use fresh heirloom tomatoes from the garden instead of canned.  Chickpea & Heirloom Tomato Soup goes nicely with a fresh green salad and homemade bread or biscuits for lunch or a light dinner.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary or 1/4 tsp dried 
1 pint Crushed Tomatoes & Herbs or 24 oz. can diced tomatoes 
2- 15 oz. cans garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), drained 
    or 2 cups dried chickpeas, cooked
3 cups Thrifty Stock (or commercially prepared chicken or vegetable broth)
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add oil; saute garlic 1 minute.

Add rosemary and tomatoes and cook, stirring, 10 minutes.  

Add garbanzo beans and cook, stirring and mashing with a potato masher.  Add broth and seasonings; bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally 20-30 minutes.  

Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Yield:  4 servings as a main course; 6 as a side dish


pumpkin & winter squash soup

Curried Pumpkin Soup

Inspired by the pumpkin patch!

My second most-asked for recipe (right after Vanilla Laced Pear Jam) was inspired by a bumper harvest of heirloom Musquee de Provence pumpkins in 2007.  Our 20 ‘ x 20’ pumpkin patch yielded more than two dozen of these gorgeous vegetable heirlooms, each weighing between 11 to 28 pounds.  See Roasted Pumpkin or Winter Squash Puree for directions on processing your own pumpkins into recipe-friendly puree and Thrifty stock for directions on transforming your vegetable peelings and bits into lovely broth.  

1 medium sweet onion, chopped (about 2 cups)

Freeze Roasted Pumpkin Puree in recipe-size portions.

1 stalk celery with leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves or pinch dried thyme
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp curry powder
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups Homemade Pumpkin or Winter Squash Puree
1 medium apple or pear, peeled and chopped
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 quart Thrifty Stock (or 2- 15 oz. cans chicken broth)
1 -15 oz. can evaporated milk or half-and-half

In a soup pot, saute onion, celery, and thyme in olive oil until tender.  Stir in curry powder, flour and a bit of broth to moisten.  Cook til golden and bubbly.  Add pumpkin puree, apple, sugar, salt, and broth.  Cook 20 minutes over medium heat.  

Cool slightly and puree in blender, or puree in the pan with an immersion blender.  Stir in evaporated milk and reheat before serving; do not allow it to boil.  Lovely with a simple green salad and homemade whole grain rolls.

Ps.  You can obtain seeds for Musquee de Provence pumpkin from Seed Saver’s Exchange and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

left:  Musquee de Provence pumpkin; right:  Mayo Bule Gourds

D.I.Y.convenience foods fermentation soup

Veggie Bouillon

Put blemished but good garden veggies to good use!

This recipe goes together quickly and rewards you with mild, fresh-tasting vegetable broth for months to come.  It is a happy way to utilize slightly blemished or misshapen vegetables from the garden.  It is not a way to use sad, withered, or moldy vegetables.  No, those have given up much of their life and flavor already.  Instead, you will want to use very fresh, preferably organic vegetables that are full of enzymes.  You can vary the vegetables from what I’ve prescribed here:  green beans, zucchini, and bulb fennel make a nice broth, or use your favorite blend of herbs.  A jar of Veggie Bouillon in the refrigerator means you are always ready to make soup.

2 oz. each:  
~celeriac or celery
several stems of parsley
2 oz. sea salt

Scrub the vegetables well, weigh them, and have everything ready.  Put lid on Vita Mix (or food processor) and remove the small cap that covers the feed opening.  Turn the machine on its lowest setting and begin adding the vegetables in order listed:  carrot, then celeriac, then leek, tomato, and parsley.  As the mixture grows thick and climbs the sides of the container use the machine’s tamper to push the vegetables back into the vortex.  Add salt last and process until a smooth paste forms.  Mixture may be dry and chunky or moist and smooth depending on the water content of the vegetables you used and how long you process it.

Transfer Veggie Bouillon to a small jar with a lid.  Label with name of product and today’s date.  Hold at room temperature in a cool spot (65 – 75 degrees F) out of sunlight for 3-4 days to initiate fermentation.  Then store in the refrigerator up to 1 year and use as needed to make Vegetable Broth for soups and other recipes.

Mild-tasting Vegetable Broth is a good beginning for light soups.  I used a mesh tea ball to make a very clear broth.

To make Vegetable Broth from Veggie Bouillon:
Measure 1 teaspoon Veggie Bouillon and 1 cup of cold water into a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, covered.  Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.

Note:  Vegetable Broth will contain small specks of vegetables.  If you desire a very clear broth place the Veggie Bouillon in a mesh tea ball when preparing broth.

dinner soup

Cheeseburger Chowder

 A substantial soup for the man of the house

If your man prefers his soup extra thick and hearty, Cheeseburger Chowder will surely win his approval.  It’s loaded with all the goodies you’d expect to find on a cheeseburger at your favorite diner.  Do add the chopped pickles or sauerkraut as suggested; they really add an authentic, flavorful crunch.

Potatoes from the garden; well-scrubbed and diced.

2 Tbs olive or vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
1 1/4 lbs. extra lean ground beef
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 medium potatoes, diced (scrub well; no need to peel if organic)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp prepared yellow mustard
2 cups Bone Broth or 1-15 oz. can Beef Broth
1 1/2 Tbs GMO free corn starch or 2 1/2 Tbs all purpose flour
1-15 oz. can evaporated milk or 2 cups fresh milk
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup diced dill pickles or chopped sauerkraut, for garnish

Heat medium soup pot (3-4 quart) over medium heat.  Add the olive oil and swirl to cover bottom of pan.  Add chopped onion and celery and saute until tender, 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once onion and celery have softened, add ground meat. Sam hunts, so we often use ground game meat.

Increase heat to medium-high and crumble ground beef into the pot.  Season with garlic salt and pepper and cook until browned but not completely done, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.  Add potatoes, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and broth.  cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, 30 minutes.

Stir cornstarch or flour into milk and add to the pot.  Simmer, stirring constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Add cheese and stir just until melted.  Do not allow the soup to boil, particularly if you used fresh rather than evaporated milk.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.  Garnish individual servings with cold chopped pickles or sauerkraut.

A hearty pot of Cheeseburger Chowder; husband-approved!

dinner freezing soup

Knoephla (German Egg Noodles)

Knoephla (German Egg Noodles)

Knoephla (pronounced k-nip-fla; the “k” is not silent) is of German-Russian origin.  My Grandma Blumhardt made knoephla with potatoes as a side dish with her home-fermented sauerkraut and German sausage every time we came to visit.  I also love them in soup (see Chicken Noodle Soup with Roasted Garlic).

For the Knoephla:
   3 eggs
Beat eggs in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup and add water to the 1 1/2 cup mark.

   4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus  more for rolling
   1/8 tsp salt
   1/2 tsp baking powder 
Sift or whisk ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.  Gradually add liquid to flour mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon and then working the dough with your hands until it forms a semi-firm, non-sticky ball.  (Add additional flour or water if necessary.)

Place dough on a floured work surface and knead 20 times.  Divide into 7 balls.  Place one ball of dough on a heavily floured work surface and cover the remaining 6 with inverted mixing bowl.  

Generously sprinkle flour over a 2 standard cookie sheets with sides. 

Roll 1 ball of dough at a time into a circle 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick.  Cut into 4 strips.  Sprinkle or dredge with flour and stack pieces, matching size/shape.  Cut with knife into 1/4 to 1/3 inch wide noodles.  Toss noodles generously with flour as you work to keep them from sticking to each other and sprinkle them over the floured cookie sheet.

To Cook for Soup:
   2 tsp salt
   one-third to one-half batch of knoephla
Bring a large pot of water (4 quarts) to a boil and add salt.  Drop noodles in boiling water and boil gently until tender; 5 – 7 minutes if fresh, 10 – 12 minutes if frozen.  Watch carefully to prevent boiling over.  Drain without rinsing when done and add to soup just before serving.

To Cook as a Side Dish:
   3 medium red-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch cubes
   2 tsp salt
   2 Tbs vegetable oil
   4 Tbs butter
   8 – 10 soda crackers
   one-half batch of knoephla
Bring a large pot of water (4 quarts) to a boil and add salt.  Add potatoes and cook until tender.  Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon to heavy warmed crockery bowl, reserving cooking water.  Add more water if needed and return to a boil.  Drop noodles in boiling water and boil gently until tender; 5 – 7 minutes if fresh, 10 – 12 minutes if frozen.  Watch carefully to prevent boiling over.  Drain without rinsing when done.

Meanwhile in a small saucepan, heat oil and butter together over medium-low heat until foamy.  Crumble the crackers into the butter mixture and saute until golden brown and crispy.  Toss noodles and potatoes together.  Drizzle with buttered crumbs and stir well.

To Freeze Uncooked Noodles:
Be sure the noodles are evenly distributed over the cookie sheets.  Sprinkle additional flour over the noodles.  Freeze uncovered until solid, about 2 hours.  Working quickly, package frozen knoephla in zipper top freezer bags, label, and return to the freezer.  Use within 3 months.  Drop frozen noodles directly into rapidly boiling water; do not thaw before cooking.

canning freezing soup

Bone Broth

Rich, garlicky base for winter soups and stews


Beef marrow bones make a rich broth that is as nutritious as it is tasty.  Roasted garlic makes a fabulous addition to Bone Broth.  You’ll love having it on hand in your freezer or pantry shelf (if pressure canned) to make rich, meaty soups and stews all winter long.  (Take a peek at Beef & Barley Soup with Vegetables and Cheeseburger Chowder.)

4 lbs. meaty beef or lamb marrow bones
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 onions, quartered (no need to peel)
3 carrots, quartered (no need to peel)
4 celery stalks, quartered
Handful mushrooms, optional
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 tsp whole peppercorns
Several sprigs fresh thyme
Handful parsley
Place bones on broiler pan or in a roaster.  Roast at 400 degrees F 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally until bones are browned.
Transfer bones to a large soup pot or slow cooker.  Add vinegar and water to cover bones by 2 inches.  Leave at room temperature 1 hour if using a pan on the stove.  Add remaining ingredients and turn heat to medium; bring to a simmer. Skim any foam that forms on the surface.  Simmer on low 3-24 hours, uncovered.  Depth of flavor and nutrition increase with longer cooking times.
 If using a slow cooker, set heat to “low” without the 1 hour rest period and cook 8-12 hours, covered.  
Check on water level occasionally; bones should remain covered.  Add boiling water if necessary.  When broth is done remove lid and let cool for 1 hour.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve or colander lined with several layers of cheesecloth.  
Refrigerate and use within a week, or freeze in straight-sided can-or-freeze jars or freezer containers for use within a year.  You can also pressure can bone broth following instructions found in the Ball Blue Book. 

bread soup tutorial

How to make a Muslin Stock Bag, Bread Bag, Produce Bag

Endlessly useful, utterly washable
Fabric bags are endlessly useful and utterly washable.  I have 2 muslin bags for making Thrifty Stock and a nice pile of pretty print bags which I take to the market to bag produce that is sold by the each rather than by the pound (avocados, celery, lemons, limes, grapefruit,  lettuce, pomegranates, mangoes).  My favorite grocery store gives me a nickel credit for each reusable bag.  Just ask, and I’ll bet yours will, too.  
Fabric bags are great for  storing Classic French Bread, also– just for a day or two.  
Kids love them as treasure bags and stuff sacks and they make fun “wrapping paper” that will be used over and over.  Start with one fabric bag and once you see how easy and rewarding it was to make you’ll make more.
Note:  Stay tuned for helpful photos of fabric bags.   ~Michele
For Stock Bag:
1/3 yard unbleached muslin 
plastic produce bag
paper grocery bag
basic sewing supplies:  scissors, straight pins, sewing machine, thread
32 inches sturdy cotton yarn
1.  Take a look at a plastic produce bag.  This is the size bag you will be making.  Lay it on top of a paper grocery bag.  You will notice the 2 bags are nearly the same size when flat.  Cut either the front or back panel from the paper sack.  This is your pattern : )
2.  Lay fabric on a work surface and place pattern on the fabric with bottom edge against the fold of the fabric, pinning if necessary to hold the pattern and two layers of fabric in place. Trim fabric to match pattern and set pattern aside. You should have a piece of fabric that measures 12 inches wide by 34 inches long.   Quilters take note:  you can use your quilting ruler, rotary cutter, and cutting mat to quickly cut out your bag.
3.  Fold fabric in half from end to end with right sides together.  The crease forms the bottom of the bag.  Stitch one long side bottom to top, using 1/4 inch seam allowance.
4.  Using a straight pin, mark the second long side at 1 1/4 inches from the top.  Measure 1/2 inch down from the pin and place another pin.  This little gap is a “no sew zone” that will form the casing that will contain the bag’s drawstring.  Now sew the second side from the bottom to the pin using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Back-stitch, lift the needle, and cut the thread.  Resume stitching at the second pin (leaving a 1/2 inch gap) and sew to the top of the bag.  
5.  You now have an inside-out bag.  Roll top down 1/4 inch and press with a hot iron.  Fold down 3/4 inch and press again.  Now carefully stitch right along the edge of the hem all the way around the bag.  Turn bag right side-out.
6.  To make drawstring for bag, cut a length of yarn about 32 inches long.  Fasten a safety pin to one end of yard, tying a knot to secure it, and move it through the casing at the top of the bag.  Remove safety pin by untying or snipping the knot off.  Pull ends even and tie in a knot. You now have a Muslin Stock Bag! * Care of Muslin Stock Bag: After emptying the contents of the stock bag into compost, turn bag inside out and scrape any loose particles free.  Rinse and toss into the washing machine.  Wash in warm or hot water with detergent, no fabric softener.  Tumble dry low in the dryer or line dry.  Fold stock bag away in your dish towel drawer and it will be ready for its next use.

For Bread or Produce Bag: 1/3 yard cotton print (for bread or produce bag) plastic produce bag paper grocery bag basic sewing supplies:  scissors, straight pins, iron, sewing machine, thread 1 1/8 inch x 34 inch strip of fabric (selvage works well) Follow directions given above for Stock Bag through step 5.   6.   Make a fabric drawstring.  Mist 1 1/8 inch x 34 inch strip of fabric with water.  Fold long edges to the center and press with hot iron to crease.  Or use a binding tool, pressing with a hot iron as you pull it through.  Zigzag stitch the entire length of the strip.  Fasten a safety pin to one end of the drawstring and move it through the casing at the top of the bag.  Remove safety pin.  Pull ends even and tie in a knot.  You now have a completed Fabric Bread or Produce Bag!

freezing soup

Turkey Carcass Stock

Turkey Carcass Stock

When Thanksgiving dinner is cleared away and I’ve enjoyed a second piece of pie (just a sliver), I would much rather simmer a pot of Turkey Carcass Stock and set a batch of Potato Sponge Bread (recipe coming soon!) while It’s a Wonderful Life plays in the background than gear up to battle traffic and crowds for Black Friday shopping. I prefer to use my muslin stock bag to make Turkey Carcass Stock, as it eliminates the need to strain the stock, but if you prefer, you may simply add all ingredients to the stock pot and then strain it afterwards.
1 turkey carcass, skin removed
2 carrots, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped (with skin)
2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp peppercorns
2 sprigs of lemon thyme or 1/8 tsp dried thyme + a lemon wedge
2 tsp sea salt
4 stems of parsley or 1/4 cup dried parsley
2-3 quarts cold water

Muslin Stock Bag

If the turkey was stuffed, clean out the cavity well.  Remove any skin and break down the carcass so it will fit compactly in a Muslin Stock Bag.  Add remaining ingredients except water to the stock bag, cinch it closed, and place it in the stock pot pressing down firmly to fit in the bottom of the pan.  

Add only enough water to cover the stock bag by 1-inch.  Bring to a boil gradually over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer with lid tilted for 2 hours, adding water if necessary to keep stock bag submerged.

Turn the heat off and allow the stock to cool 1 hour in the pan.  When it is cool enough to handle, carefully lift the stock bag from the pot into a colander set in a large bowl.  The contents of the bag can be fed to chickens (minus bones) or emptied into the compost heap.  Since the ingredients were all contained in the muslin bag, there is no need to strain the stock .  And since there is no fat or skin involved, there is no need to skim grease off the top. 

Use right away to make soup or ladle into freezer containers leaving 1 1/2 inches headspace or wide-mouth Can-or-Freeze jars following the headspace marking indicated on jars.  This allow for expansion in the freezer.  You may have a kitchen utensil other than a ladle that you can use for scooping the stock that will save you time and drips on the counter.  Label containers and freeze at 0 degrees F. Use at your leisure (within 1 year) to make delicious economical homemade soups and happy memories.  

*Care of Muslin Stock Bag:
After emptying the stock bag, turn inside out and scrape any loose particles free.  Rinse and toss into the washing machine.  Wash in warm or hot water with detergent, no fabric softener.  Tumble dry low in the dryer or line dry.  Fold stock bag away in your dish towel drawer and it will be ready for its next use.