The use of soup makers in general tends to be a general choice between a sauté and soup maker versus a soup maker that only has the function to cook soup on its own.
What’s your preference?
I’m betting that it depends on which brand of soup maker or which method of soup making you use at home. That’s only natural. We’re always more comfortable with what we know.
To Sauté or Not to Sauté.
For the first two years of my soup maker ownership, I owned one that couldn’t sauté vegetables. Now that I own one that does, I know my recipes taste so much better with the onions especially shallow fried before being made into soup. If I’m using a stock cube, or stock pot, which I frequently do when I use the soup maker, the added flavour released by the minute of two of sautéing really does make a difference.
My Soup Making Sauté History
What does amuse me at times, is that when I made great vats of soup on the hob, I never once, ever pre-fried onions before adding them to the pot. It’s something I missed out on for years and years of soup making. I copied my method of soup making from my mother, and she never added flavour to onions, herbs or garlic by sautéing them. I think most of us are like that.
When I was younger, I always thought everyone could just magically make soup. When I was first introduced to my lovely mother in law, she proudly offered me a bowl of home-made soup, and being used to fabulously tasting soups make with fresh stock, I quickly nodded my head, said thanks and waited for my soup. The disappointment when I was presented with a bowl of floating and overcooked vegetables in stewing water was difficult to hide, but I did the best I could to finish every awful mouthful.
If I have to make soup for twenty people, for sure, I’ll break out my huge pot and simmer a bone or two to make the stock, but otherwise, it’s just too much effort day-to-day, so I tend to add other ingredients for taste.
Garlic, Onions and Stock
There’s no denying that stock is the basis of great soups, but it doesn’t have to be the only basis of great soup. In particular, I love those little frozen cubes of garlic in a tray, that you just pop into the freezer and take out when it’s needed. In the long run it does save me money, as if I buy a tray of fresh bulbs, most of them will end up in the bin before I use it all, or a jar is past its open for date and I waste a lot. I do use garlic salt, but it’s not my favourite way of getting garlic into my soups. The frozen kind means I always have a tray or two in the freezer and it’s always ready to go.
For the same reason, I always keep packs of frozen onions in my freezer too. I’ve often used them and can’t tell the difference between those and fresh in soups. It’s different if you want the crunchy texture of freshly chopped onions which are almost raw in texture for salads, coleslaw and the like. I would use fresh onions for those. If I have onions available, I’ll use those, but otherwise, rather than make a trip to the shop for only one or two ingredients, I tend to hit the freezer.
Long live my freezer. Without it, I really would be lost.