Even typing the title feels strange. Who makes soups in single-servings? Isn’t the whole idea behind soup a big pot of awesomeness to soothe your soul and warm your heart on cold winter nights?
I mean, that’s how I grew up thinking about soup. My mom would make a large batch of turkey noodle soup after Thanksgiving every year, and it was always my favorite way to eat leftovers. She’d use a ham hock and make batches of split-pea that back then, I didn’t appreciate, but now I do! When I was sick, the smell of a large pot of chicken and rice soup would fill the house without fail. To this day, I still crave chicken soup when I’m sick. Cure or not, it comforts me.
Despite my best efforts, however, my family doesn’t appreciate soups as I do. I’ve tried, believe me, I have. Over the years I’ve made brothy soups, creamy soups, cheesy soups, pureed soups, soups that are more like stews, soups with rice, with noodles, with beans. They all get the same response.
That’s pretty much it.
They’ll humor me and have a few bites, and then I’ll dump the broth from their abandoned bowls into mine, so the tasty nectar that warms my soul doesn’t get wasted.
Then, well, I’m left with a huge pot of soup. No one in the house will eat it leftover but me, which I guess is okay, but I bore easily, especially in the food department. I’m ok eating the same thing for two, maybe three days in a row, and then, I’m done. I want to get back into the kitchen and make something else.
When cooking is your hobby, you want to cook! That’s the whole idea. However, with a fridge full of food, or in this case, soup, I can’t justify cooking something new. I hate wasting food, and knowing there are leftovers in the fridge that may go to waste sucks the fun out of cooking for me.
So this year, I decided not to fight the good fight. They don’t want soup, fine. I won’t make soup, but now what do I do with all this amazing stock from Thanksgiving?
Our 20-pound bird yielded nearly seven quarts of stock (bone broth, whatever), and it was some of the best I have ever made.
I am a believer in the health benefits of broth made from bones. I know there is some controversy about it, but at the end of the day, if it’s something I can make myself instead of buy, and it tastes good, then I’m all about it.
The family still gets fed some of the broth-goodness as I use it when I make rice and gravies but no soup for them! Nope, I have resorted to only making single-serving soups on demand for myself, and I couldn’t be happier. Doing so has allowed me to have fun in the kitchen while experimenting with interesting combinations they would never eat anyway. Plus, it helps me use up other leftovers in creative ways. It’s a total win-win for me.
Earlier this week, I made a single serving of chicken noodle soup using:
- tri-colored rotini,
- a carrot,
- a celery stalk, and
- leftover cooked chicken breast.
It came out fantastic! So fantastic that I made it again yesterday just so I can take a photo.
To make it, I weighed out a serving of rotini, topped it with two cups of stock, and let it simmer away as I added the diced carrots and celery. Once the noodles were soft, I removed it from the heat and added the chicken since it was already cooked.
(You may notice you can’t see any chicken in the photo because I actually forgot to add it. Once I took a bite, realized it was missing. That’s the kind of week I’ve been having, but I digress)
Today, I made this bowl of awesomeness.
This one is leftover roasted sweet potatoes simmered with a cup of stock, an ounce of smoked gouda, and then pureed. I garnished it with a fried piece of Proscuitto since I happen to have some leftover from Thanksgiving’s antipasti plate. Sprinkled on top is just a pinch of thyme.
The sweet potato soup is my favorite so far. I made it once before without the cheese, and it was missing something. The smoked gouda added just a touch of creamy, and the flavor complemented the potatoes nicely.
Another combination I recently tried was carrot and ginger. I simmered a couple of carrots in stock with a hunk of ginger and then pureed. I then added some leftover turkey meat from Thanksgiving. It was one of the first soups I made when I decided to start my single-serving soup adventure.
Maybe it’s my age or the current state of the world, but I’m tired of balancing the needs of everyone else. Cooking brings me joy, and I’m all about finding as much joy as I can these days, so single servings of soup it is.
Does anyone have any fun soup combos I can try? I usually find inspiration from whatever I have in the fridge, but I’d love some suggestions as well. I have three quarts of stock left!