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The Best Soup Seasonings
Soup is the blanket for your insides on frigid days, and it brings all the comfort you could possibly need when you are sick. It can be a disappointing experience when you sit down to a bowl of steaming soup to find yourself underwhelmed by the flavor. If only you had added a little bit more salt at the beginning, or thought to drop in some powdered garlic. You could add it to your bowl then, but it’s just not the same as cooking with the spices. Do not beat yourself up, everyone has bad cooking days. Chalk it up to a learning experience and take a few moments to master some different ways to season soup. Whether you love chicken noodle soup or stick to the classic combination of tomato soup with grilled cheese, you are sure to discover some spices here that will help you bring this comfort food into your regular rotation. Your tongue will thank you for your efforts.


Soup Seasoning

Where can we start when talking about soup seasoning? There are so many kinds of soup to choose from, and you will certainly want to pick the right spices and blends to compliment the soup you are making. Is it homemade or condensed? Homemade soups are much healthier than condensed because you can control how much added sodium goes into them.

That’s your first spice right there; salt. This is a huge component in a lot of processed foods, but it can also help boost flavors in your real food if you are using it correctly. Salting to taste is a phrase you will hear a lot in soup preparation, but what that really means is subjective. One person’s bland is another’s over-salted. Salt sparingly and allow the people eating your soup to salt it to their own tastes.

Salt probably makes you think of all the savory soups you can make. Savory soups are delicious appetizers for the long winter months, but they can also serve as an entire meal if you so choose. If you are going for something savory, you could easily fall back on a vegetable soup.


Vegetable Soup Seasoning

So cousin Tammy’s best friend’s niece who you’ve never even met is coming for dinner with the extended family this weekend and she is a vegetarian. It’s winter and you want to build a good vegetable soup from a solid, tasty base that will both impress her and fill her up, so she doesn’t feel inclined to eat more of the dessert than you had planned per person. This spice blend is perfect for a vegetable soup base. It contains celery salt, parsley flakes, garlic powder, sea salt, summer savory, marjoram, thyme, black pepper, turmeric and sage, which are all excellent with root vegetables, so you could easily incorporate things like carrots or potatoes into the soup. With chunky vegetable soups, you will find just a pinch of lemon zest will help bring together all the flavors.

If you don’t want to build a base and you’ve decided to just jump in with a black bean soup for dinner, you will do especially well with herbs like Mediterranean oregano or basil. Black bean soup can be made infinitely better with a finishing salt like fleur de sel. You would want to put a finishing salt on after you’ve distributed the soup to bowls, since finishing salts give texture and visual appeal to the dish. Because of their nature these would not do well on thinner soups, as they would only sink and dissolve. This extra touch will surely impress your guests.

Sweet potato soup is a less savory vegetable soup that can even be treated as a dessert. Surely you have at least one family member who doesn’t favor sweets but really enjoys soup. Sprinkle the soup with allspice for some extra flavor. If you are daring, try pairing the sweet potato soup with a vanilla bean ice cream. Ginger also compliments sweet potato soup well, and powdered ginger can be added in place of the actual rhizome if you do not have that on hand. As a bonus, ginger compliments vanilla ice cream really well, too.

Alright, so you’re dying for some tomato soup. Technically tomatoes are a fruit, okay, but you eat them like a vegetable, don’t you? You are here thinking about how to spice up that recipe that you pulled from your mom’s faded cookbook with the pages coming free of the spine. Moroccan Vegetable Rub is the answer you are looking for. This seasoning blend gives everyday tomato soup real dimension. It has a little sharpness from the paprika, chili powder, and cayenne, but it also lends a tiny bit of sweetness because of the cinnamon, allspice, and cloves in its ingredients list. Whole peppercorns ground fresh over your soup will cement it as a showstopper.

“Some vegetable soups aren’t complete without a meat!” you cry in the distance, shaking your head at this blog post. If your signature vegetable soup is the kind that also includes a meat and it happens to be called “ham and bean soup,” you would do well to add a bay leaf to your recipe. The bay leaf will give the soup a little something extra without overwhelming the dish. Bay leaves have a great relationship with meat dishes, as they help enhance the flavor of the whole dish. Remove the bay leaf before serving your soup; you don’t want anyone to choke.

If you are just testing the waters with making your own soup, you can’t go wrong with onion or garlic, which are wonderfully dynamic. They will give flavor to any kind of vegetable soup you can imagine. Dehydrated vegetables are excellent in traditional vegetable soups as well, with some favorites including, Dried Shallots, Dehydrated Red Bell Pepper, Dehydrated Green Bell Pepper, Celery Flakes, Tomato Flakes, Minced Onion and Roasted Garlic Flakes.


Spices to use in Chicken Noodle Soup

Are you in the camp that only likes chicken noodle soup? Forget the dozens of other soups out there, you want the ultimate classic. As a child, you probably had Campbell’s on hand all winter, or if you were especially lucky you were graced with a parent that would make giant batches of homemade chicken soup for you to eat the whole time you were sick. Even if you weren’t sick, chicken noodle soup was the best sort of treat.

We already talked about salt a little bit, but you simply cannot go wrong with salting your chicken soup. Add salt at the beginning so the flavor makes it way all through the dish. Try a smoked salt for even better results than you would not get from using a plain table salt. Reach for something like smoked hickory salt for a deeper, more intricate flavor, but be sure to taste as you’re adding it because it is quite strong. You could even leave this salt on the table simply for experimentation’s sake and let people salt their own soup to taste. You could even take this a step further and dry brine your chicken with a salt blend before you even begin to cook your soup. This will ensure the chicken’s moistness and retention of the best flavors.

Aside from the usual carrots and celery, some cooks like to use chunks of sweet potato in their chicken soup for that vitamin A boost. There is a plethora of spices that can really help the sweet potato flavor become more prominent in the soup, including black pepper and cayenne pepper. This addition is a great idea if you have a cold and want to help your body heal a little bit faster, plus the spicy heat from the complimentary spices may help you clear out your nose. Smoked sweet paprika is also delicious in chicken soup and helpful with nose clearing.

If you want more of an herbal tasting chicken noodle soup, parsley and basil are perfect because they are both mellow but slightly sweet. These will give you a more pronounced, classic chicken soup flavor.


Broth Seasoning

Sometimes you just want some broth! This might be the case if you have a scratchy throat or just feel like swallowing your soup without the hinderance of all those noodles and vegetables, no matter how delicious they may be.

Broth seasoning depends on what kind of broth you are starting with. A good chicken broth seasoning would be sea salt, which we have already talked about extensively. Herbs de Province is a good spice blend that will help you get a mellow, herbaceous flavor in your broth that will certainly delight you in conjunction with the flavor of the chicken broth, without overwhelming it.

Beef broth is extremely flavorful as is, but you can certainly add some spices. A common combination is cinnamon sticks, cloves, ground coriander and star anise, which when used in conjunction with one another recreate the flavor of pho. You could also simply use pepper to taste.

Vegetable broth seasoning is very similar to vegetable soup seasoning. Celery seed powder will give a good neutral, grassy flavor to vegetable broth, which will keep it earthy. If you want a spice blend, there are things like Chinese Five Spice and Maharajah Curry that would be excellent for lots of flavor with minimal effort. Spice blends eliminate the need to layer flavors on your own, which is lovely if you are in a rush.

Just like any other kind of cooking, testing out different flavors is key. Learn what you like best by being unafraid of failing in the kitchen. Sometimes your creations will be delicious and sometimes they will taste awful, but that is okay. It’s all a learning process. Enjoy the rest of your winter with these tips on spicing up your favorite soups.


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