Canned soups make an excellent base for a meal, here are some handy, easy tips to perk up your soup from the store cupboard.
Come winter I embrace my store cupboard and stock up just in case. We live in central London so in reality there is simply never going to be so much snow that we are unable to get to the shops, or order a pizza, in the unlikely event that we run out of food.
Canned soup is an excellent store cupboard staple, it it quick and easy to prepare, very affordable, comes in a wide range of flavours and for many is a winter warming staple. Of course you can enjoy straight from the can, but with just a little extra effort, in the time it takes to heat it up, you can put your own twist on the humble canned soup. A little addition here, or a garnish there all help to make your bowl of soup more interesting and different so you can continue enjoying it all winter long.
Reasons to love soup
- Soup fills you up with fewer calories, but without filling you out
- It’s ‘souper’ convenient – it can be made in advance, it’s easy to prepare and can be enjoyed on the go
- There’s lots of varieties to choose from – ensuring you never get bored
- Soup helps with portion control—especially if it comes pre-portioned
- It’s really versatile—have it as a starter, a snack to keep hunger at bay, or as a main course
I’ve teamed up with Heinz to add my twist to 3 of their most popular soups; serve with some bread and cheese or salad and you have a comforting winter lunch.
- Add a squeeze of lemon juice – this trick will work to lighten and enliven almost any canned soup (it is also perfect for perking up a boring homemade soup, stew or casserole too). You only need a teaspoon or two and I guarantee that you will be amazed at the difference. Squeeze a bunch of lemons and freeze the juice in an ice cube tray so you always have some to hand.
- Garnish, garnish, garnish. A garnish will add colour, texture and flavour. Something as simple as a drizzle of oil, sprinkling of seeds, scattering of fresh herbs will all make a difference. Croutons or cheese toasts will transform your soup to a comforting bowl.
- Make a rustic pesto, ideal with cream of tomato soup. I’ve topped a bowl with some chopped basil, toasted pine nuts, shavings of hard cheese, a drizzle of oil and a good sprinkling of black pepper. Delicious.
- Add vegetables. You simply cannot go wrong with adding extra vegetables to your meals. I also added some chopped cherry tomatoes to the cream of tomato soup, and some shredded greens to the beef broth (above). My friend Michelle recommends adding a handful of mixed frozen veg – it is cheap, and will defrost as the soup heats up.
- Use your leftovers, or even cook extra so you have leftovers to use. Quickly chop then fry some extra roast vegetables and serve on top of the soup – I used potatoes and carrots on the beef broth above.
- Make a main meal soup by adding protein & carbs – add a handful of rinsed pulses, leftover rice or pasta to add some body to the soup and turn it into a meal to keep you fuller for longer. Jemma suggests using roasted chickpeas in place of croutons. I also like to add a little vegetable stock and a handful of cous cous or polenta which will thicken and bulk out a thin soup.
- Enhance the existing ingredients – Adding more of the same ingredient to a soup can really bring the flavour out. I’ve topped a lentil and bacon soup with slowly fried sticky onions (delicious with most soups) and some extra bacon and chives. A little goes a long way and half an onion and one rasher of bacon is all you need for two.
- Add a flavour hit – Grated Parmesan or Grana Padano will give a lovely burst of umani (idea from Andrea), a spoonful of Salsa Macha (an easy to make addictive blend of chilli, garlic, nuts of olive oil) will add heat and smokiness. A glug of soy, tamari or Worcestershire sauce will all add interest, a spoon of chutney works in much the same way as lemon and will also add some sweetness. Line up the condiment bottles and let everyone pick their favourite.
- Use canned soup as an ingredient. Condensed soup is an especially good ingredient. Go full on retro with mushroom soup as a filling for vol-au-vents (thanks Kavey), use a tomato soup as a base for chilli or in place of canned tomatoes for a pasta sauce (Lisa), or maybe try Becca’s three bean stew that uses cream of tomato soup.
- Make it richer – swirl in the cream, grated melted cheese or some leftover wine.
How do you like to perk up your canned soup?
Post sponsored by Heinz, all opinions our own.