Why is my soup so flavourless?(31 Posts)
I always imagine myself to be one of those people who can whip up a hearty soup for a warming dinner from things languishing in the fridge, but they always turn out so flavourless. Currently on hob soup consists of:
2x yellow pepper
2 bay leaves
2 chicken stock cubes
green and yellow lentils
1 tin kidney beans
1 panic spoonful of marmite (always add this to stew so think that was my logic?)
It's just lumps of veg in water basically Should I blend a few ladelfuls to make it more hearty and thick? What can I add to give some flavour?
Oh I do actually have some frozen shredded rotisserie chicken in the freezer which I could add, but not sure how I'd defrost it safely in time for tonight?
Vegetable bouillon powder will reach the blandest soup. Or slowly add more salt until it tastes seasoned enough-this will bring out the flavours rather than just make the whole thing salty (I would find 2 stock cubes not enough seasoning for a big pot of soup)
Marigold bouillon powder. Makes every soup amazing. Comes in a low salt version as well. Life changer for me
Sometimes less is more for soup. So pick just a few ingredients. Decide what your base favour is (chicken, tomato, etc) then other ingredients that go with it.
Personally I wouldn't add both lentils and kidney beans unless I was doing a spicy soup where the main event was the pulses.
Pepper doesn't add much if you add it and boil it like carrots. If using pepper roast / grill it to make it sweet, remove skin, slice it and add at the end.
I think you've got definitely enough salt there with the cubes and marmite, but again may be confusing flavours.
I add potatoes or red split lentils to thicken soup.
I am assuming you add salt and pepper?
Making your own stock helps a lot with this. I use the pressure cooker, then reduce down until very concentrated and freeze.
Peppers in soup no, unless roasted as others said.
Butternut squash can be very bland too. Try roasting this first as well, or season and fry it properly. I add cumin and turmeric to butternut squash in soup because I cba to roast it first.
You need veg with stronger flavours, add some celery or garlic, root veg, or experiment with different kinds of pumpkin.
Cauliflower and or potatoes (floury not waxy) make a soup creamy and thick when blended. I like mushrooms in blended soups too but they will make it brown.
Are you frying the veg?.
I use girl called Jack recipes for soup.
Did you not put salt and pepper in it?! A couple of stock cubes and a sprinkling of herbs won't add much flavour. Needs seasoning! Bouillion is great too but would still need salt and pepper imo.
When I make soup I briefly fry the veg in olive oil which adds some flavour then add bouillion stock, salt, pepper. Sometimes add garlic powder or some chili whatever I fancy then cook usually in a pressure cooker for time. I think blending can add more flavour sometimes.
So many people don't season it's weird
Try adding celery. That's what was missing from my soups, as well as skill & interest in cooking.
Red lentils break down easier than green.
Do you cook the veg first in butter or olive oil? I know someone who just chucks the ingredients in stock straight away. I don't think you can achieve tasty soup her way.
Try following some soup recipes to get the hang of good flavour profiles and typical methods and then you'll be better equipped to make leftovers soup.
I always have this problem too. I think it can be quite hard to make flavoursome soup. Even my DH, who is a pretty decent cook only seems able to make soup that tastes of pepper, he thinks it is delicious, but it is shit. Sorry, not much help, but interested in tips too.
I always start my soup with a large onion with a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil. Let your onion sweat for as long as you've got, then add a clove of crushed garlic and stir in. Do not let your garlic burn. Then add whatever your soup will be in stages. For example I would add my leeks next, then my potato. I would stir the whole lot round then put in some chicken stock, black pepper and some milk to simmer. Check seasoning at the end.
I often make minestrone (basically Mediterranean vegetable soup). I fry the veg in olive oil for a good few minutes before adding stock, they need to be soft & the the onions need to be starting to get brown.
A sprinkle of herbs isn't enough - for a big potbof soup I add about a tablespoonful of mixed Italian herbs.
Agree re pp's comment on pulses and beans. I would blend veg soup but not if I'd added kidney beans. I tend to have a thick tomato base for non blended minestrone type soups/soups with beans etc. Try Slimming World's Little Book If Soups, great soup ideas, all tasty even if ur not on a diet!
Yes to frying the veg first! Essential first step. Use lots of butter or olive oil.
This is my method:
Chop veg for using except potatoes.
Chuck in heavy bottomed pan with olive oil.
Add seasoning appropriate to other flavours. Stir every few min.
Chop about as much potato by volume as the rest. Bit less if other similar textured veg used. Add to pan.
Keep eye and prevent sticking.
Add water until there are just a few bits poking through the surface. Calculate how much water that was and add enough stock/bouillon as though was making that amount of stock. Would add anything like lentils at this point.
Stir to mix and settle, bring to boil, summer until everything is soft.
Remove from heat and blend. Add water or milk to thin consistency, taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
Always makes a lovely soup.
Use less water, barely cover the veg and add milk/water at the end to get the texture you want.
Black pepper! I don't use salt and stock cubes, but pepper is good.
Fry off the veg first, or roast them. Usually fry off carrot onion celery as a base, then others as the main flavour.
Add delicate ingredients like peppers at the end.
If desperate, fry finely chopped bacon and drizzle a spoon on top of each serving, or loss of grated cheese!
Some good combinations for chunky soups are: chicken, sweet corn, potato; frozen peas and ham; leek and apple...
YY to bouillion and celery.
I try to chop veg quite small, and coat in herbs/spices to fry off for as long as possible before adding the stock. Nice and low, sweat it off using a lid on the pan. Also lots of black pepper.
Butternut squash can be useful for thickening soups instead of lentils, but yes, either roast or coat in spices as above.
Pearl barley is also a nice add, as is a soup base ( a mix of lentils etc).
I usually take a few ladlefuls out before blending, then add back them in to make it look less like baby food and to add texture.
I think you've got too many different things in there and they're cancelling rather than complementing.
My favourite hearty and very flavourful soup is a couple of roasted red peppers (hot oven or grill to blacken, put in a bag for a few minutes then scrape off skin... or sometimes cheat and use a jar); meanwhile fry an chopped onion, some carrot and a stick of celery in some olive oil and butter. Blend those and half the pepper with a can or two of tomatoes, then back in the pan with some red lentils until those are mushy. Seasoning - I've gone off marigold, at the moment I prefer a knorr low salt veg cube. Black pepper, maybe a bay leaf and quite a lot of smoked paprika. I don't add salt because DH needs loads of sodium, and DD has grown up used to that - I season mine at the table.
Google felicity Cloake perfect minestrone, loads of advice on soup as well as great recipe. Parmesan rind really helps, I often add smokey paprika if a soup smells like it's lacking something at the frying stage.
Oh yeah I deffo put salt and pepper in and fried veg first, thought that was a given. Thanks for advice! Realised I should have roasted first. Re. the mix of ingredients, I just used whatever was about to go off in the fridge. I don't know what bouillon powder is, I must get some!
Beans and lentils because that's what the recipe I was vaguely following (lentil and veg soup) said, agree kidney was a weird choice but all I had.
Tried to blend a bit but the blender broke aaaaah was an all round nightmare but we choked it down - the flavour had actually developed by dinnertime and DH said he liked it!
Taking these tips on board as it will be so useful to be a good soup maker.
YY to sautéing or roasting the veg first. Boiled veg do get flavourless.
Hearty and flavourful soups need fat. Food flavours require fats in order to be tasted. Low fat foods have to have artificial chemical additives to make them taste of anything so whack up the fat content.
I'd also recommend a spoonful of curry paste - just a bit to round out the flavour and give it a little punch, not so much that you get curry soup.
Also wine/some other booze. Soup benefits hugely from booze.
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