It's officially soup season my friends! This recipe for White Bean, Chicken & Vegetable Chili always makes me think of my mom, who frequently made this soup to warm up our bones on cold and dreary winter nights. The recipe for this soup is below, but first I'm sharing a few quick tips for layering complex flavors into simple, nourishing soups.
The key to elevating a dish is knowing how to layer flavor throughout the cooking process - so here are three Farmbelly tips to use the next time you pull out your soup pot:
IT ALL BEGINS WITH AN ONION. Plain and simple – something magical happens when onions are softened lovingly in a good glug of butter and/or olive oil. When sautéing onions, make sure the butter or oil is hot and sizzling before you toss in the onions, and add a pinch of kosher salt to pull out some moisture. As the onions begin to turn translucent and begin to caramelize, use a flat wooden spoon to scrape up and spread out those slightly browned bits (that's where all the flavor lives)!
TOAST YOUR SPICES. Once your onions are softened and golden, that's the time to add your spices and dried herbs. Continually stir and toast the spices over medium heat before adding any additional liquid - you're building another key layer of flavor here!
ADD SOME FLAVOR BOOSTERS. The next time you have an extra rind of parmesan cheese hanging around, don't throw it away! I keep a ziplock bag in my freezer full of extra parmesan bits, because they are a dreamy addition to simmering soups. I throw in the rinds whenever I add the broth, as it adds creaminess and depth without overpowering the other flavors. Other go-to flavor enhancers for soups is a bit of acid - my favorites are lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, which add a little zip to an otherwise ho-hum soup.
FINISH WITH FRESH HERBS. This soup wouldn't be the same without a few handfuls of chopped parsley tossed in just before serving. If you're going to add fresh herbs, make sure to do it at the end of cooking, as fresh herbs have a more delicate flavor, which can get lost if added too early. Basil, cilantro, dill, and chives are some of my other favorite herb garnishes to kick a dish up a notch.