On Sundays I like to clean out the refrigerator and freezer and make a nice soup. It doesn’t matter what’s in there, I just take everything out and organize by flavor components and start cutting. I usually make 2 soups and it’s a great time to clean out and clean the fridge. If your fridge and pantry are like mine, you usually have some of these things lying around- carrots, onions, celery, old vegetables, potatoes, beans, spices, tomato sauce, etc.. These ingredients are great building blocks for some yummy soups.
If I’m making a clear, chicken soup, I start with anything chicken I might have-whole, parts, chicken sausage, etc.. I first boil the chicken or chicken pieces until done and cool and pull the chicken off the bone, if needed. If I’m cooking a whole chicken, I might add some large pieces of onion, celery or carrots to flavor the broth- I cut them in smaller pieces after to add to the soup.
While the chicken is cooking, I dice any veggies I might have and saute them in olive oil or canola oil. I have also been known to use those garlic butter to-go ramekins you get with some pizza deliveries. As long as it will lubricate your veggies and lightly saute them, use it up.
From there I add any dry spices and “guts” I might have hanging around. Leftover beans, raw spinach, tomatoes in their juice, old tomatoes, a tiny bit of uncooked pasta or rice just hanging out, a packet of soy sauce- you get the jist. I let this simmer a bit and then flavor to taste and add the chicken and any leftover fresh herbs in the fridge or garden. It’s as simple as that. You really can’t go wrong with fresh chicken stock and veggies.
If I have some milk, cream, mashed potatoes, cheeses or creamy sauces to use up, I’ll start with sauteeing some onions in whatever with garlic until soft. I then will add either some veggie like broccoli, peas, cauliflower, etc and then a small amount of water of stock to cover. I simmer this until soft and then add whatever creamy mixture I might have and the cheese and simmer a bit more. (I save the ends of all cheeses from party platters and freeze them and use them later in soups like this!) Depending on the texture, I’ll just blend it with a hand blender or blender and you wouldn’t believe what you can hide, I mean,”utilize” in a blended creamy soup!
If you have a lot of some veggie, I suggest simmering it in small pieces in a stock until soft. Season and blend and you can have a whole pot of anything from Butternut Squash puree soup to Carrot Ginger to Cauliflower dill- basically 3 ingredient vegan soups.
Usually in the middle of the first soup I send out the flares to the neighbors to let them know soup is on anytime after? Then I just heat up some bread and pull some butter and there it is- a nice Sunday with friends over warm and yummy soup or lunch and dinner for a couple days, and the fridge and freezer are all cleaned out and clean! Cheers!