Soup Strategies

Welcome to Our Sunday Café, we are pleased you stopped by for a visit. Today we are offering another delicious recipe from our kitchen. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

Soup is our convenience food. It is always available in the freezer, ready to heat and eat, making it very easy to get a meal on the table in short order. As it turns out, soup and bread are my favorite combination. I have several soup recipes listed on the sidebar, but I find that having a strategy is as good as a recipe. With a strategy, you are not locked into an idea or ingredient and a strategy allows you to make the most of what is available when times are lean. 

Cook with what you have, soup strategies for your kitchen!
Chicken Barley Vegetable Soup.

In a perfect world, I would always have a fat hen or other boney parts to start out with, but these ingredients are harder and harder to come by in the marketplace. While we make bone broth as often as we have the ingredients, it is not as often as I would like, especially when making soup. But I have found a way to add in the natural collagen and gelatin, that a rich bone broth offers. 

Make stock cubes from chicken feet. 

Simmer chicken feet for enriched soup stocks.
How to make soup blocks from chicken feet.
I purchase chicken feet to use for bone stock. Stock from chicken feet is different from standard bone stock because chicken feet loaded with natural collagen and gelatin. I cook the stock twice, to allow for the most extraction of the needed nutrients. For a rich stock, I just barely cover (you do not need a lot of water) the chicken feet with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 45-60 minutes (20 in an electric pressure cooker, then let the pressure fall naturally), let cool and refrigerate. The next day, bring to a boil once again, let simmer for 15 minutes, cool, strain and refrigerate. When chilled the mixture is very rubbery in texture and can be cut with a knife. Cut into squares, wrap and freeze for future pots of soup. I package in amounts equal to adding 2 chicken feet to a pot of soup. Therefore If I picked up a package of 20 chicken feet, I would simmer and cut the finished product into 10 squares. 

Use plain gelatin to enrich your soup stock. 

Cook with what you have, soup strategies for your kitchen! Soup is frugal and delicious!
Note: This is not a sponsored post. I am not being compensated by Great Lakes for this post. All information is provided to offer our own soup strategies.

Add 1/2 cup dry gelatin to 1 cup cold water and let soften. Add to the soup when cooking time is almost complete.

Use lentil flour to thicken and add fiber.

Homemade lentil flour, the perfect thickener for soups and stews. Also adds fiber and protein.
Homemade lentil flour, the perfect thickener for soups!
I love broth-based soups, adding 1/2 -1 cup of lentil flour to the soup, gives body to the broth. Also, the added fiber and protein are appreciated. The wonderful quality that lentil flour has is that there no lumps! Sprinkle it in, cook your soup and no worries! See how to make lentil flour here.

This is our basic starting point for a large pot of soup:

1 large onion, diced
2 - 4 ribs celery, diced
4 - 6 carrots, peeled and diced
2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste
bay leaves and or other herbs your family enjoys

1 16oz can corn, do not drain
1 16oz can diced tomatoes, do not drain

1 c barley

2-4 c meat of choice - we have used browned hamburger, diced ham, browned and diced chicken thighs, leftover dark meat turkey, diced beef stew meat, browned Italian Sausage.

6 c broth to complement the meat being used ( I use a natural broth concentrate)

2 c water (if using dry gelatin, remember to adjust accordingly)
1 chicken feet "cube"

1/2-1 c lentil flour

Add oil, diced onion and minced garlic to the bottom of a large stockpot with a lid. Saute until golden, but do not brown.

Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 1-2 hours. If using, add the softened gelatin, stir until dissolved, adjust final seasonings. You are ready to serve up some soup!

Cook with what you have, soup strategies for your kitchen!
Hamburger Barley Vegetable Soup.

Remember, it is easy to substitute one ingredient for another, sweet potatoes for the carrots, as an example. If you cook with what you have, home cooking remains delicious and evolves with what your pantry has in stock.

Additional notes to share:

Cook with what you have, soup strategies for your kitchen!

Soup freezes very well. We use quart size freezer bags for our small family. They are easy to fill, freeze (flat) and store. We have 3-4 varieties of soup in the freezer to choose from at all times.

Cook with what you have, soup strategies for your kitchen!

I do not add rice or beans to my vegetable soups. This allows me to use leftovers creatively. I will often add a scoop of rice or leftover fried potatoes. Depending upon the soup, you could even add a bit of leftover Macaroni and Cheese to a bowl of soup.

I keep fresh minced parsley in the freezer, which is not only pretty to sprinkle over a bowl of soup, it also adds a rich, fresh flavor. In addition, I have several types of homemade pesto, along with various kinds of vinegar to offer as a seasoning option at the table.

And finally, our favorite fast meal to enjoy when the weather is cold!

Baked Soup with Biscuits. Easy whole grain dropped biscuits, baked atop your favorite soup.

I hope you were able to find a strategy to help your family enjoy soup more often.


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  1. OMG, TQVM for this wonderful post!

  2. What great tips. Love the idea of freezing soup in quart size baggies. Have never used chicken feet for stock, though . . .

    1. Jama, I was a bit skeptical about the feet also, but you don't really taste anything, they are a great source of mineral goodness. Thanks for visiting.

  3. Very interesting tips. I too, am hesitant about the chicken feet! Thanks for sharing on the #WasteLessWednesday Blog Hop!

    1. You will find that chicken feet will become more of the usual ingredient in soups and stocks. They are the magic ingredient in famous chicken soup cures from loving Jewish grandmothers who have held fast to old fashion cooking ways. I think the whole foods return will bring many of the older ingredients that had been used for hundreds of years. Thank for stopping by.

  4. What great tips for our soup, Mylynda. Happy Valentine Day and thanks so much for sharing your awesome talent with us at Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen


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