Here are 9 Top Tips for using a Soup Maker.
Soup makers are great, once you’ve figured out how to work them! Allowing you to get on with doing other things whilst it makes delicious, nutritious soup in 19-26 minutes makes it wonderfully convenient.
It is also a great way of using up vegetables that you might have lurking in your fridge or vegetable rack. Homemade soup is cheap and easy to make and extremely tasty. It also generally lasts for a couple of days or more in the fridge and so is perfect for a quick and easy lunch.
1. Read the instruction book!
I always love getting things out of the box, pressing buttons and seeing what it does, but with soup makers they do have a few little peculiarities that you might not pick up on without reading the instructions! They’ve also got a few recipes in the back which might be a good starting point.
2. Cut vegetables up into very small, even sized chunks.
I didn’t do this the first time I tried it. I attempted to make a tomato soup and put everything in in huge chunks, including celery. I ended up with a huge amount of hot, vodkaless Bloody Mary which had the texture of a not particularly well-blended smoothie. If you cut the vegetables into small, even sized chunks (around 1cm3) it will help it cook and blend more evenly.
3. Put the vegetables etc in first, top-up with stock and then give it a good stir.
This should mean that it doesn’t burn on the bottom and that all the vegetables are surrounded by stock. If using lentils put those towards the top.
4. Wake hard vegetables up first by sweating in a little butter
Hard vegetables like swede, potatoes and butternut squash will probably still need sweating in a pan before cooking, unless you cut them into very, very small chunks.
Sweating the vegetables off first can produce a more rounded flavour as the sweating process ( by sweating I mean gently warming the vegetables in a little butter until they start looking glossy without any colour changes happening) releases the moisture from the vegetables and starts helping the sugars to flow. This can improve the flavour of the soup and also help it blend more easily.
5. Can I put RAW meat or chicken in the soup maker?
No. Raw meat should NOT be added to the soup maker. It’s ok to add cooked meat like shredded left over roast chicken or boneless chicken cooked especially for the soup, or things like cooked ham or leftover gammon etc to the soup maker but the soup makers shortish cooking times are not conducive to cooking raw meat.
6. Always fill the soup maker between the minimum and maximum line.
Cover the vegetables etc with stock but don’t add lots of extra stock as it’s a lot easier to let down a soup that’s too thick than it is to thicken a soup that’s too thin.
7. What to do if your soup is too thick
If your soup is a bit thick, let down with a little boiling water or stock or add a little double cream if appropriate at the end of cooking.
8. How to thicken soup if your soup is too thin
There are various things that you can do to thicken a soup that is too thin. You could stir-in a little instant mashed potato or make a paste using cornflour and water and slowly stir that into the soup whilst it’s still hot. It is also possible to buy thickeners from the supermarket baking aisle. Alternatively add a little cooked potato or sweet potato and blend
9. Cleaning your soup maker.
Soup makers are easy to clean, but do NOT immerse any part of it in water. Simply wash the blade and heated jug with some hot water and washing up liquid. Do this as soon as you’ve finished making your soup as it is so much easier to do so when the soup maker is still warm and the food is fresh. Dry carefully with a clean cloth or leave to air dry and then put away. If you have any burnt bits on the bottom they should come off with some warm soapy water and a non-abrasive scouring pad (sometimes called non-scratch scouring pad)
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