Soup is not a four letter word. I mean, sure, it is, but for those of you who consider soup a meal of last resort, the Stout Sprouts and I are here to try and change your mind.
It’s hard to hate soup, but those of you who do have probably had a bad soup experience at some point in your life. That’s because there are — in my opinion — only two major categories of soup:
- Showstopper Soups (aka, soups requiring a guest list and grocery run in order to make), and
- Stretch-the-Budget Soups (aka, soups made from leftovers, normally reserved for immediate family)
One of these can quickly lead you down the path of culinary disaster if you don’t know what you’re doing, and it doesn’t take much of an imagination to realize which one it is.
Maybe someone close to you tried just a little too hard to eek one more meal out of the previous night’s dinner. For me, that experience came, of all places, at a corporate cafeteria where chicken chow mein was on the menu one day and then later that week — and without much additional culinary creativity — chicken chow mein soup suddenly appeared. Leftovers can be great, but in my mind’s eye I envisioned the whole chafing dish of day-old chicken chow mein sliding into a simmering stock pot in preparation for the next day’s soup station. I couldn’t bring myself to give it a try.
Despite this experience, I still think you can make a great stretch-the-budget soup that you won’t be embarrassed to serve to anyone. Take, for instance, split pea soup with ham.