Soup making tools are the instruments you'll use to transform fresh, high-quality ingredients into fine, sumptuous soups.
Soup making is an art. And just as traditional artists require specific tools and materials to bring about their creations, you, as a soup maker, will also require specific tools to bring your art to life.
Cutting boards are important soup making tools because they help you work more safely with your knife. They are designed to protect you and your kitchen surfaces from knife cuts.
Although produced from a variety of materials, wood provides one of the softest and most desirable cutting surfaces. By cutting on a wooden surface, your knife will stay sharp longer and the blade is less likely to slip and cause you injury. Many cooks also find that cutting on wood delivers the most pleasing sound to the ear.
Plastic boards are dishwasher safe which means they are very good choices when cutting raw meat. Some cooks shy away from wooden and bamboo boards as they are the most difficult to sanitize and require occasional maintenance.
The chef's knife could easily become one of your favorite soup making tools. Besides being great for your soup preparation needs and making garlic skin easy to peel, its wide blade makes gathering and transferring what you have chopped easy and efficient.
When shopping for a chef’s knife, look for one with an 8-inch high-carbon stainless steel blade. A good blade will be thin and gently curve to a tapered point.
The curved edge will help you use the rocking motion used by chef’s when they mince and chop. And its tapered point is useful for piercing squash and other foods with thick skins.
One more thing...try grasping different handles and select the ones with the most comfortable fit for your hand.
A stock pot should ideally hold at least 10 quarts and have a heavy base to prevent scorching. Those constructed of stainless steel wrapped around an aluminum core are great for the long steady simmering required to make stock.
In addition, look for large, roomy handles which extend out from the pot and are secured with rivets. These features add safety and durability.
A good strainer is an important soup making tool as it allows you to easily extract the best part of your rich, flavorful stock.
You’ll want one that is a dishwasher-safe, heavy-gauge, stainless steel mesh strainer with a resting loop. Such a strainer won’t rust, stain, or discolor and will keep its shape during regular use. The resting loop makes for a more pleasant experience as it helps keep the strainer from slipping into your container.
When making puréed soups, you may choose between a countertop blender or an immersion blender.
Both devices work well, however, a countertop blender is more effective when you want to achieve a fine, smooth purée. But when you want your soup a little chunkier, an immersion blender is the perfect choice. When using a countertop blender, the soup is processed in small batches and placed in a large pot to be reheated.
The major benefit of a hand-held immersion blender is that you can blend or purée the soup directly in the same pot. This eliminates the need to work in small batches and makes clean-up faster and easier.
The most beautiful and best way to serve your masterpiece is with a ladle. A ladle is a large, long-handled serving spoon with a cup-shaped bowl. Not only does it keep your fingers away from hot soup, it also helps highlight the beauty of your ingredients as you gracefully serve them.
A handle that is 10-12 inches in length is typically a good choice, as it isn't so short that it slips into the pot nor is it so long as to be unwieldy. You may also find that a slight crook or offset of the handle from the bowl helps reduce spills. Once you have considered these factors, choose the ladle that feels best in your hand and is the most appealing to your eye.
Start with these six basic tools, and you’ll set the stage for outstanding soups.
Welcome the rich and inviting beauty these delicious soups bring...
Bittman, Mark. "Kitchen Basics." In How to Cook Everything: 2000 Simple Recipes for Great Food, 2nd ed., 1-20. Double B Publishing Inc., 2008.
Editors at America's Test Kitchen. "How to Make Stocks and Soups." In The America's Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Become a Great Cook, 435-469. 2013.
Editors of Cook's Illustrated, and Guy Crosby. "Equipping Your Kitchen." In The Science of Good Cooking: Master 50 Simple Concepts to Enjoy a Lifetime of Success in the Kitchen, 437-446. Brookline, Massachusetts: America's Test Kitchen, 2012.
Rombauer, Irma S., Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker. "Cooking Methods and Techniques." In Joy of Cooking, 1045-1072. New York: Scribner, 2006.