Simple Ways you can Make Soup Taste Even More Delicious!

I recently read this quote from the Telegraph and it certainly makes sense to me. We have just enjoyed a most fabulous hot and sunny summer when cool and refreshing fruit juices have been a Godsend. But, it is getting colder, have you noticed? 

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Time for soup!

I have written a great deal about soup, not only in my book 
Soup (Almost) The Only Recipe You'll Ever Need but, of course, also here on Sudden Lunch!

So today whilst my chicken and leek soup simmers on the

stove I am going to suggest lots of ways to make your soup, whether it be homemade (go on, it’s easy) or bought in, even more delicious.

Flavour Boosters

squeeze of lemon with brighten soups

If your soup is not quite as tasty as you had hoped, try these …

~ Worcestershire Sauce – this is a good addition to meaty and cheesy soups but be warned, it is Not Vegetarian as it contains anchovies although you can’t actually taste them!
~ Horseradish – this is also good in beef soups and also fish soups in general and smoked fish in particular, oh, and in beetroot soups too.
~ Hot sauce – when I lived in the West Indies hot sauce was added to most things and I can't actually think of a soup that wouldn't take well to a few drips of hot sauce.
~ Lemon juice – a squeeze of juice just before serving will brighten the flavour of seafood, poultry and vegetable soups.

Adjusting Soup Texture

adjust a soup's texture, puree, mash, chunky soup

A soup’s character can be varied by the way it is finished off ...

~   Do nothing and have a chunky soup – that is the easy one!
~   Mash the ingredients into the stock with a fork or potato masher for a rustic texture.
~   Use a food processor to produce a purée or a liquidiser for a very smooth and sophisticated finish.

You can do all this with bought in soups, too, if you like!

simmer leftover parmesan rind in sauces, stocks, soups

Add some dairy!

~ Cream – either stir cream into finished soup or add a drizzle as below.
~ Cheese on Soup! Grate Parmesan or other hard cheese over your soup second before taking to the table, or top with a cheese on toast croute as in French Onion Soup.
~ Another good idea is to simmer leftover Parmesan rind in tomato soup for a lovely flavour boost.
~ Butter – top your soup AT THE LAST MINUTE with a slice or dollop of suitably flavoured butter or, if you don’t want a rush when serving drizzle with melted flavoured butter. How about smoky chipotle butter on corn chowder or roasted garlic butter on pumpkin soup – see here for lots of tasty butter ideas.

Last minute additions 

~   Add fast cooking fresh or frozen vegetables and simmer for a few minutes just before serving – try frozen peas, shredded greens, finely cut green beans, tiny broccoli or cauliflower florets etc.

~   Cooked meats can also be added but do so at the last minute just enough to warm through, do not allow to boil.
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~   The same goes for cooked fish.

The above 3 ideas are all great for leftovers, something on which I am somewhat of an expert, which is why I wrote Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers.

Drizzle something tasty and attractive on the soup

drizzle soup with complimentary sauce, oil, salsa, cream

You can do this with a teaspoon or a squeezy bottle. Make a pretty swirl, draw a picture or write something! Years ago when I cheffed at the Royal BVI Yacht Cub I knew most of the patrons so would often write their names or a friendly insult in their soup! 

Try ...

~   Good tasty extra virgin olive oil.
~   Truffle oil – drizzle or drip abstemiously (it’s strong) on mushroom soup in particular and also try it on beef or blue cheese soups.
~   Nut or seed oils such as sesame oil, pumpkin seed oil or walnut oil.
~   Roasted garlic oil
~   Salsa or red pepper coulis on corn chowder.
~   Cream, of course

~   Infused oils such as basil, chilli or delicious chorizo infused oil.

add a little spirit or wine to soup

Add alcohol to your soup!

Generally speaking the best way to do this is to put a spoonful in the bowl before adding the soup. 

~   The obvious one is brandy in French Onion Soup
~   Dry sherry in fish soups, bisques and chowders.
~   Vodka gives a boost to tomato soups.
~   Madeira is good in mushroom soup.
~   Try this delicious spicy pepper “wine” from the Caribbean in seafood soups (or anything you fancy, really!). In this case I normally just put a small bottle of the pepper wine on the table and let diners dose their own soup.

Crunchy Soup Toppings

~   Croutons – see here for my definitive post on making croutons.
~   Toasted Nuts and Seeds
~   Crisp shards of freshly cooked poppadoms on curried soups.
~   At a pinch, crisps will work too!
~   Frazzled things! – all sorts of foods can be crisply fired for a crunchy soup garnish.
~   Scatter crisp shards of bacon or chorizo or parma ham on, well, pretty well any soup! 

crunchy garnishes for soup, croutons, chorizo

Herbs & Spices


sprinkle soups with herbs, spices
Sprinkle your soup with spices or with appropriately flavoured fresh herbs.

~ Basil or oregano are good on tomato soups,
~ Try a little sage (frazzled or not) on turkey soup – remember that for just after Christmas!
~ Parsley is not just a pretty garnish it actually has a flavour that goes very well with chicken and fish soups.
~ A little freshly grated nutmeg is good on potato soups.
~ A simple grinding of black pepper is always a boon. 

See here for lots more information on sprinkles, drizzles and garnishes in general.

Give it a Rest!

As with many slow cooked dishes, the flavour of soup can somehow improve with an overnight rest in the fridge.

allow soups and stews to rest, flavour will improve