I have always been a leftovers-crafter and one of my favorite ways to utilize any delicious tid-bits in my fridge has been to turn them into soup. I mean, really, if it tasted good the first time, it will certainly rock as a soup, trust me! Most of my soups are made this way. I rarely use a recipe to make soup. Soup supper is one of the best ways to use up what you have and can also stretch out your food to get more bang for your buck. One of my favorite soups every year is my Thanksgiving Soup: I cook down the turkey carcass and then add some of all the left overs including the mashed potatoes, gravy, AND stuffing. Seriously delicious!! Just add a salad or some dipping bread and you can call it a full meal.
Chef came up with this delicious Salmon en Papillote during some recipe testing on our 'week off' and as soon as we cut open the pouch after cooking the test batch, the first thing that came to my mind was turning the left-overs into soup!! This family size meal feeds three and there are two of us. So, I knew there would be left-overs and I was thrilled. I couldn't wait to put it to the soup-crafting test.
Chef makes soup all the time for the cafe and our customers are always asking for the recipes. The funny thing is, most of his soup creations are simply entree recipes he crafts into scrumptious soup. So, when we share the recipe, we tell them, 'first you have to make this entree' and give them the recipe for the entree. It usually elicits a chuckle or two, but it is wholly the truth. There is a pretty simple formula that chef follows which I will share with you.
Yummy entrees yield yummy soup. Pretty simple, right? Here is Chef Mario's basic formula: for every two cups of solids (left-overs) you will need four cups of liquid. But, you can adjust to your liking, of course.
Crafted Leftovers Soup
2 cups entree left-overs of your choice
4 cups broth or water with bouillon (we typically use Chicken Broth for any Crafted Soup)
4 dashes hot sauce! (We use Red Hot or Texas Pete)
Cut the entree leftovers into bite size pieces. Yes, all of it. Noodles, meat, veggies, cheese chunks, whatever. Place in a soup pot big enough to hold the soup. Add the four cups of liquid and the hot sauce to the pan. Turn the burner on medium and stir to incorporate. Once the broth is warm, taste to adjust seasonings (salt, pepper). Heat to your desired temperature.
So, feeling creative? You can add additional ingredients to tweak your soup. But, in all likelihood, if you loved it as an entree, it will be delicious as a soup. Want to make it a creamy soup? Add a little Heavy Cream. Have left over spinach or some onion? Saute them up and add them to the soup? Like it spicy? Add some chili flakes or more hot sauce. Want a tomato based soup? Add some Marinara or tomato sauce. Want to get really crazy? Use this formula with your left over veggies (cooked of course), add some heavy cream, Parmesan if you have it, and get your immersion blender out! Cream of Veggie soup for all!! Pssst: your kids won't even argue about eating the veggies.
So, if you are trying to use up what is in your fridge, make soup. I know it's an age-old mantra, but it really does work. It is pretty easy, can definitely be tasty, and will give you a 'bonus' meal instead of just 'eating left-overs'. So, what's in your fridge? Soup! Enjoy!