Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Easy 4 Ingredient Soups - IHCC Potluck

My youngest daughter has never shown much interest in cooking so I was quite pleased - but didn't show it of course, lest that dampen her enthusiasm ;-) - when she recently requested some easy soup recipes. Since this is Potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs where members can cook with previously featured chefs, we turned to Mark Bittman's weighty tome, How To Cook Everything and chose a few simple recipes that require only 4 ingredients each.

Wonton Soup
First up was Wonton Soup, clear chicken broth flavoured with a little soy sauce. Added to that were cooked wontons (a 300g package of frozen or 20 homemade) and sliced green onions. It had very good flavour with minimal effort.
Potato and Leek Soup
Next was Potato and Leek Soup, a French classic. There was a good balance of potatoes and leeks to liquid that resulted in a delicious soup with great consistency. We added a sprig of fresh thyme (strictly optional) since it's what I always use. As per daughter's preference, the soup was left chunky. This was one of the favourites.
Chicken Noodle Soup
Finally, Chicken Noodle Soup. Cooked egg noodles and cooked, chopped chicken added to chicken stock is this soup at its most basic. Of the suggested add-ins for extra flavour, we opted for a mirepoix of sautéed onion, celery and carrot - I'm counting this as 1 ingredient ;-) - which helped transform the simple soup into a hearty, great tasting meal-in-a-bowl. 

The common ingredient in each of these recipes was chicken stock; one batch of each of the soups above could have been made with a 900ml carton of good quality, preferably low-sodium, chicken broth but we used Mark Bittman's Quickest Chicken Stock, a recipe that called for a chicken and the most basic of ingredients to flavour the broth: onion, carrot, celery, parsley and a bay leaf.
It was cooked for only as long as it took to cook the chicken, about 45 minutes, and yielded 2.7 litres of chicken stock and usable chicken meat, perfect for adding back to a soup. The key to extracting as much flavour as possible from the ingredients during the relatively short cooking time was cutting them into smaller pieces, increasing their surface area.
Quickest Chicken Stock
After refrigerating the strained stock overnight and skimming the fat that solidified on the surface it was ready to use or freeze. With its clear and distinct chicken flavour, it was a great base for the 3 soups we made.

We had fun with Mark Bittman, but check out who's cooking with whom this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs.


  1. I love soup and each of these appeal to me. I also love to cook from Mark Bittman. I like his style. Good choices.

  2. Great idea to do a round-up of Bittman soups...and to have them all based on his stock. Nice! The won ton soup really grabs me.

  3. Hi Zosia,
    It's great that your daughter is showing interest in cooking! The soups looks delicious. Homemade stock is always the best. Time for me to make some homemade stock!

  4. It's almost time for me to take out my soup pot and just leave it on the stove top. When Fall weather arrives, we have soup available almost all the time for lunches and snacks ... thanks for the great soup line-up!

  5. Hello Zosia, I love all of the soups! and they look very delicious too ...

  6. Mmmm...potato and leek is calling me! I love soup all year round.

  7. Love that you turned to Mark Bittman this week, Zosia. He's one of the first chefs I turn to for quick and simple, yet flavourful, dishes like this. The wonton soup really appeals to me - can't wait to give that one a try.

  8. Mark Bittman is the king of delicious and easy soups--looks like your daughter is now all set with some bowls of comfort! ;-)


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