Diabetes Forecast

How to Stir Up a Satisfying Soup

By Robyn Webb, MS, LN ,

As the days grow colder and shorter, it's natural to yearn for a meal that will both warm your insides and keep you full. Soup is an obvious choice, but why limit yourself to the canned condensed stuff? This month, we offer step-by-step instructions for making basic chicken stock, plus several other recipes that cover the gamut of brothy options—from soup to nuts, you might even say.

1. Ingredients

Pick and prep. A great soup begins with a great stock, which begins with the right ingredients. (In other words, resist the temptation to throw everything in your crisper straight into the stockpot.) But the right ingredients don't have to be expensive. Chicken wings and backs are fairly cheap (as is a whole chicken you cut up yourself); so are onions, carrots, celery, and parsley. You can even use the leftover bones from a roast chicken, though the meat will make the broth richer.

Technique: Cutting Up a Chicken

[1] Begin by rinsing the chicken inside and out with cold water. Then, using a sharp chef's knife, split the entire bird in half vertically. [2] Separate the wing and breast (white meat) from the leg and thigh (dark meat). [3] Separate the leg from the thigh by slicing through the skin and then breaking the joint. Repeat with the wing and breast.

2. Cooking

Simmer and sit. Vegetables should be scrubbed well and coarsely chopped, but don't bother peeling them. (Onion skins, in particular, give stock a rich color.) Avoid vegetables like broccoli and cabbage that take on an unpleasant flavor when cooked for a long period of time.

Use a stockpot of 8 to 10 quarts, which will give your stock ingredients plenty of room but no chance of spilling over. Once you've brought the stock to a boil, let it simmer for about two hours, which is when the flavor really develops. Season to taste, then take it off the stove to cool. Strain the stock and refrigerate it overnight so that you can easily skim off the congealed fat the next day.

At A Glance: Soup Types

[1] Bisque usually refers to a rich and smooth soup. [2] Chowder is thick and chunky. [3] Consommé is basically a clear broth soup. [4] Bouillon cubes are made of dehydrated broth and are dissolved in hot water.

3. Serving

Eat and enjoy. This stock is delicious on its own, but it really shines as a base for all kinds of soups, ranging from chicken noodle and matzo ball to Greek avgolemono and hot-and-sour Chinese soup—to black bean soup. Once you've put your soup together, add style with a bit of tasty garnish. You can choose from one of the options below or come up with ideas of your own.

At A Glance: Great Garnishes

[1] Grated hard cheese (Parmesan or Romano) [2] Chopped fresh herbs (for example, dill or chives) [3] Veggies, like carrot curls, celery tops, or chopped bell pepper [4] A swirl of nonfat sour cream or nonfat Greek-style yogurt


Vegetable Stock

Shrimp and Sherry Bisque

Cuban Black Bean Soup

Basic Chicken Stock

Asian Mushroom Soup



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