Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Things I find in the refrigerator" soup

As I've said before, Alex loves it when I make soup. The other night when it was raining and crappy and miserable out, I made soup to go with the sweet corn pudding I made. When I make soup, I follow this process, instead of following recipes, because usually when I make soup I make it with a tub of stock fron the freezer plus things I find in the fridge, like leftover meat, veggies that needed to be eaten yesterday, and other stuff I find. Things-from-the-fridge soup always turns out delicious, and often can be a whole meal - you have plenty of veggies, a meat, and often a starch, maybe even some dairy. 

Things from the fridge soup
This is not a recipe but a process. Use whatever you have left in your fridge!

1. First things first. If you are using frozen stock, microwave it or thaw it in a pan on the stove. 
2. Chop all your vegetables. I always use onion and garlic, this time I added carrots, celery, a parsnip, and Chinese broccoli. If your vegetables have leafy greens, like bok choy or Chinese broccoli, slice the stems and use them now. Set aside the leafy greens to be added in at the end. 
3. If you are using raw meat, cook it now, then remove from the pan and set aside. 
4. Heat a bit of butter or olive oil in your soup pot. Add your chopped veggies, and cook 5-10 minutes until softened and starting to brown. I know all these vegetables cook for different amounts of time, but they're going to keep cooking in the soup so it will be ok. 
5. Once vegetables are soft, add tomato if you are using tomatoes. 
6. Add some salt and pepper, and if you want to add some spices do it now. I often use cumin and coriander, or curry powder, and paprika and chili powder if you want a kick. Cook the spices for a minute, stirring. 
7. Add the stock (and some water if it's strong, or if you don't have a lot of stock) and stir to get anything stuck on the bottom of the pan into the liquid. Bring to a simmer. 
8. Add whatever starch you are using (unless you're using pasta). I usually use rice, but buckwheat is great, and quinoa is too. Simmer, stirring, for 15 minutes. 
9. Add cooked meat back to the pot. If using pasta, add it now. Cook about 5 minutes, until meat is hot and has taken in some of the soup juices. (You can add the meat earlier, of course, and let it cook further with the vegetables.) If you're using tofu instead of meat, add it now. 
10. Dump in all your greens, if using. Cook just until wilted. 
11. At this point, you are done. However, there are other optional things you can do, like crack in some eggs, stir in some cream or cheese or yogurt, add a sliced avocado and some tortilla chips, or stir in some miso (make sure it's gf!). 


  1. hey! i love doing this -- I also tend to make soup when it's crappy out and we have lots of random vegetables in the fridge. And Matt also LOVES soup too -- I thought guys never liked soup?

    I think I'm actually going to make this tonight with some leftover turkey (and we have some parsnips that NEED to be cooked)... I usually add a bit of pasta, but I've never used rice - great idea! You don't cook it first do you?

  2. Allie - Nope! I always cook the rice in the soup. No sense in making more than one pan dirty!

  3. I love the idea of using things what you already have on hand to make something hearty and delicious. Your soup sounds great!

  4. Anonymous12:58 AM

    in germany, this is known as "quer durch die woche" and is something my mother has been "making" since i was wee!

  5. Anonymous6:49 PM

    I am all for recycling the fridge. Sometime your best creations are from impromptu leftovers. Nice photography

  6. Is the pasta supposed to be cooked when you put it in?

  7. Nope, the pasta doesn't need to be cooked first. There's plenty of water in the soup pot.

  8. Anonymous3:50 PM

    thank you very much for sharing this simple and delicious idea for leftovers! i just made a chicken and rice soup from the template you provided!!! i just discovered your site through a "refrigerator soup" search, and voila! i am now a fan! :)

  9. Anonymous2:06 PM

    though i guess it could be implied from what you said... consider rice one of those things to keep bits of to add to soups later. often after meals, i have half a cup or less of cooked white rice. save it in the fridge and add it to "leftovers soup." yum!