Making soups and stews

One of the food hacks my family uses to help our weeks go smoothly is making a big batch of veggie stock and a double or triple batch of vegetable soup on Sundays so we have go-to meals on hand throughout the week. We often make enough stock to freeze so we can skip a week of making it, and when we make a triple batch of soup, we freeze a large portion for later. Both the stock and the soup will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Since we eat a lot of soup noodles at our house, we simply stir in a slurry of miso to our stock, blanch fresh veggies, and boil noodles for a 30-minute meal. On other days, we make a grain or toast bread to go with our vegetable soup, and we are eating within 15 minutes of getting home.

The first step to making a flavorful vegetable soup is slow-cooking your aromatics (onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and the like) in a good-quality fat. This is when you can add spices to punch up the flavor. If you add spices to soup after you pour in stock, they will most likely get lost in the liquid. The only exception is salt. While you want to add a little salt while sautéing aromatics, don’t go too heavy on it at the start. You can always season with salt and freshly ground pepper toward the end of cooking to ensure that the flavor of the soup is right where you want it. It’s important to taste throughout the cooking process to make sure the flavor is heading in the right direction.

As with roasting, make sure you cut your vegetables into similar-size pieces so they cook evenly. Bite-size pieces are ideal so folks don’t struggle chewing them.