Getting Real With Lisa Van De Graaff

It is soup season! Soup is an easy thing to make and enjoy on these cold, winter days. The ingredient ratios are usually forgiving, and most soups freeze well. I also find them to be inexpensive, especially if I make my own broth. Homemade broth is also substantially lower in sodium than the store-bought options.

I keep a plastic container in my freezer, and I throw in the ends from onions, peels from carrots, and tops from celery. I also throw in any celery that has begun to wilt (though once it is liquefied in the veggie drawer, it is time to just throw it in the trash or compost pile!) When the plastic freezer tub is full, it is time to make some broth…

Lisa’s Vegetable Broth

In a large stockpot (I use a spaghetti pot since it makes straining easier), place:

  • Approximately 2 Onions, quartered (tops and peels are fine, the root end is usually too dirty to be useful)
  • Approximately 3 Carrots, cut in half lengthwise and into 3-inch chunks (anything orange, not the greens)
  • Approximately 6 Celery Stalks, roughly chopped (wash off any dirt)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 5-10 Peppercorns (or ground black pepper)

Fill the stockpot with water, there should be 2-3 inches of water above the top of the veggies. Bring the water and vegetables to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cover. Simmer for about 45 minutes (I’ve let it sit for 2-3 hours with good results), and stir occasionally.

Add 8-16 ounces of Frozen or Fresh Corn (silks, husks, and cobs are fine)

Simmer, covered, for 45-60 minutes. Strain out and discard the solids.

I freeze the broth in one cup increments and keep them on hand for winter soup-making. Note that there isn’t any salt in this recipe, so you may need to add additional salt when making your favorite soup.

Other soup tips:

  • Toss the rind from a chunk of Parmesan into bean soups for added creaminess.
  • In cream or milk-based soups, remember not to let them boil – it can curdle the dairy.
  • In cream or milk-based soups, temper the dairy with a bit of the hot soup before adding it to the pot (to keep it from curdling).
  • After removing from heat, squeeze half a lemon into vegetable or squash soups to lighten the flavors.
  • In vegetable soups, wait until the end to add any chopped tomatoes. Only cook the tomatoes for 10-15 minutes to retain their fresh flavor (then your taste buds will be fooled into thinking it is summer!)