Soups are never alone, they always have some kind of accompaniment. Whether this is in the soup itself, or on the side, it’s clear that soups are meant to be added to in some way. We can look back at some of the best culinary traditions in the world and see this to be true. In France, they use leftover baguettes, dunk them in their garlic soups and take a bite. In the UK, they use stale bread chunks in their chicken soups to add a little bit of heartiness to it. In places like Turkey, they add in some leftover grilled meats and spices to energize their tomato and vegetable soups. And in some places like Mexico, they even make meatball soups. Let’s take a look at the things that make soups a great dish.
Beef meatball soup?
We can probably agree that soups are always better when they have meat in them. This Mexican albondigas soup recipe is one of the best examples as they use spices, exotic vegetables such as zucchini, along with potatoes, and beef meatballs to make a very rich soup. The beef adds a strong taste to the soup, especially as they add heaps of onions, garlic, cumin and oregano. This is something like the Italian wedding soup which also had meatballs but that one has a mixture of pork and beef. The Mexican style instead, is spicier and has a hearty richness that only beef meatballs can provide. The best part is, when the meatballs absorb the broth and they just become soft, moist and melt in your mouth tender. This is something you can enjoy by itself, no bread is needed because it’s so rich.
Fried stale bread in butter
It’s not like croutons but it’s pretty close, but fried bread can be one of the best side dishes for any soup. You control the type of flavor the bread itself has because you can add things like garlic, onions and rapeseed oil which all have distinct flavors. You can char the stale bread pieces and cook them in just butter if you want, which is something popular in the UK. Make sure it’s a salted butter and you keep the flame on medium heat so the butter doesn’t burn so quickly.
The question is, should you use wholemeal or white bread? In all honesty, any bread is good but you can go for a mix. Seeded bread is probably best avoided as the seeds burn and pop as you fry the bread. Unless you like the slightly burnt flavor of course. And, why stale bread and not fresh bread? It’s because stale bread doesn’t have the water content which fresh bread does, making it easier to fry. Leave in the soup for about 10-15 minutes and the stale bread will be soft and chewy.
Yellow squash casserole
Something soft, chewy and rich, that’s what we all want with our soups. One of the best things you can make for your soups is yellow squash casserole. This is simple squash and sometimes swede mashed together, with a hard cheese, seasoning of your choice, eggs, butter and sometimes sugar to sweeten it. You can add bread to this if you want but make sure you grind it. So leave it in the freezer overnight, break it up into pieces and use a grinder to break it up and add it into the yellow squash casserole.
One trick is to drop some of this into the soup and eat it like dumplings. Take some spoonfuls of the casserole and gently fry them, so they are closed from the outside and don’t break up while in the soup. Then add them into the soup and enjoy.
Why not? Why not go for two soups in one sitting? Making more than one soup is not that hard if you time it right. You can have a starter soup like a garlic soup and a main meal soup like a chicken or beef soup. You may also want to try a hot and cold soup meal for dinner. A seafood soup like lobster bisque served cold with some warm bread followed by a hot chicken soup served with spiced fried bread.
Be adventurous with your soups, there is so much you can do with them. What is your favorite kind of soup? Do you have anything with your soups and if so, what is the best thing you like?