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Ingredients

For Silkier Soups, Add a Dash of Baking Soda

The ingredient helps vegetables break down, creating the smoothest possible texture.

An ultra-smooth pureed soup is dreamy, luxurious—and tricky to pull off. In homemade iterations of the dish, the lush texture of the puree is often marred by fibrous ingredients. There are a few ways of working around this issue—cooking the vegetable for a long time until it breaks down, straining the soup, or adding cream—but we discovered an even easier fix while developing our carrot ginger soup recipe: Baking soda.

Unassuming as it may be, this pantry ingredient is nothing short of a powerhouse when it comes to softening vegetables. Adding baking soda to a soup raises the pH and contributes sodium ions, both of which make the pectin that holds many vegetables’ cell walls together break down faster. The result? Restaurant-level creaminess.

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The proof is in our carrot ginger soup. We tested myriad approaches to attain the smoothest puree possible, including cooking the carrots until they turned to mush, but none produced satisfactory results. When we added a ½ teaspoon of baking soda to the simmering carrots, though, we created a soup that was downright velvety after just 20 minutes of cooking, no fussy straining required. The technique worked like a charm, so we put it to use again in our broccoli-cheese soup, attaining a lush puree. 

So, the next time you have a hankering for a creamy vegetable soup, try adding a scant amount of baking soda to your vegetables as they simmer on the stovetop. You’ll make your silkiest soup yet—the perfect blank canvas for a fancy garnish.

3 Silky Soups:

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.