Let’s Make Soup this Fall and Winter

Heather says:

Cooler weather has finally arrived, yes, even in my little corner of the world known as the Lowcountry of South Carolina. I’m finally in the mood for soups, stews, and chilis.  I thought I would put together a round up of all of the warm and hearty, soup goodness that is already available here on Home-Ec101.com. I’d also love for you to take a moment and comment with a link to your favorite soup, stew, or chili recipe. Just be sure to only leave one link per comment or it’ll get kicked into the spam filter. Sorry, but without that, the crazy spambots -those are automated programs that try to take advantage of sites like this one- would have a field day.


Here we go:

Albondigas SoupBeef Stew
Beef Vegetable SoupChicken and Wild Rice Soup Chicken Gumbo
 Cioppino Corn Chowder, Gluten free Leek and Cabbage Soup
 New England Clam Chowder Shrimp Gumbo Shrimp Etouffee
 Silky Smooth Green Pea Soup Sue Polinsky's No Tomato Chili Taco Soup
 Tomato Soup White Chicken Chili

Truth be told, though? The one soup I make more often than any other really doesn’t have a recipe I can link to.

It’s a technique that I have referred to in the past as Mustgo or Garbage Soup. It sounds terrible, but it’s also the one soup I get asked to make more often than any other. The sad thing is, that the Mustgo Soup is always a one off. You see, you make Mustgo or Garbage soup from whatever happens to be in the refrigerator that must be used up or tossed.

So it’s always a mishmash of vegetables on the verge, leftover meats, usually chicken or beef stock, and herbs and seasonings that complement the seasonings used to prepare the meat. While I find it easy to cook intuitively, it does take a little bit of practice. You have to learn through trial and error and I don’t recommend going too nuts with the flavor combinations in the beginning. While writing this out, I had an idea. I think I ought to explore different flavor families, as an example, what herbs and spices are usually found in Tex Mex cuisine, so you know which ones to reach for when your Mustgo soup is taking advantage of a little leftover taco meat -does that actually ever happen?

Or if your Mustgo soup has leftover pot roast, what herbs and seasonings should you reach for. . .

Would you be interested in a series like this?

Are you adventurous enough to experiment with the Mustgo Soup concept? Have you before? How did it turn out?


  1. says

    I really need to learn the mustgo technique. I have a part of a smoked pot roast with bbq sauce on it, broccoli, some rinds from some brie, onions, and… I can’t remember what else. I NEED mustgo. 😀

    • says

      In your case, I’d sweat the onions, chop the broccoli -dare you not to get chopping broccoli in your head- fairly fine, and shred the pot roast. If you have any carrots I’d throw them in with the onions and I’d definitely use beef stock. A can of tomatoes would be awesome -if the sauce was tomato based- and I’d go with whatever the predominant flavors in the roast are. I’d add the brie after adding the stock and adjust the flavors from there. . .

  2. says

    My favorite fall/winter soup is Whole Foods’ Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup (http://wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/slow-cooker-split-pea-soup). I was not a huge fan of split pea soup until I made this recipe. I think it’s the fresh parsley that puts it over the edge.


    I have definitely made stir fry or pasta sauce from leftover vegetables and other fridge treasures. I call it the “kitchen sink” method. I’ve also done the same thing with pizza.

  3. Carol says

    My boss loves making me mustgo soup for lunch. I am glad to be fed, but sometimes I would prefer a bowl of cereal! LOL I have my good old standby soups I make, and I am really itching to make a bit pot of beef barely. YUMYY!

  4. D says

    Years ago when I did daycare two little girls, who where part Asian, wouldn’t eat sandwiches so their Mom sent packaged noodles. They ate the noodles but it didn’t seem like a balanced meal to me. I would add cubed leftovers from our dinner the night before. This became a lunch staple and my kids became fans as well. We even did this at Brownie camp one October.

  5. Kara Nutt says

    I’d love a series like mustgo soup. I do my own but as I tend toward tex mex cooking anyway, I usually stay in that herb family. I’d love a chance to learn about other herbs and how to pair them up.

    My go to soup is usually a navy bean and ham. I have a nice country picnic ham that I cooked up and chopped up and froze. It’s a VERY salty ham so no so good for slicing and eating, but it’s been great for adding flavor to other things like soup or potatoes. Before I went gluten free my recipe started with a can of guiness beer, dry navy beans, chopped up onion, tablespoon of diced garlic (those jars are just so handy), some of the afore mentioned ham all thrown into the crock pot with enough beef broth added to allow the beans to expand. I never soaked my beans. Now that I’m gluten free I’ve removed the guiness (so sad) and will either just do the broth or if I have it on hand, add in a bottle of gluten free beer. Not quite the same taste but close enough. Let cook on high all day, making sure to add liquid as needed and serve over fresh corn bread (made in the cast iron skillet of course).

  6. says

    One thing to mention is that soup, regardless of whether it is of the “mustgo/kitchen-sink” variety or made fresh, is always cheaper to make than any other meal.

    The problem with the “mustgo/kitchen-sink” variety is that there can be no set recipe. It’s always unique because the ingredients available for it are constantly changing. I have probably four basic types: tomatoe-y stew with Italian or Mexican seasoning, chicken/chicken stock with traditional poultry seasonings, cream and/or cheese base, and oriental with soy sauce as a major flavor component.

    My favorite soup is also the fastest – 15 minutes or less – and as far as I know, I originated the recipe (out of desperation). It’s also VERY versatile with lots of potential combinations depending on the add-ins and spicing strategy you select.

    Browned Butter Tomato Soup

    Because this soup is very fast to make and you do not want to overcook it, have all of your ingredients prepped and within reach.

    Put a quarter to half stick of butter in a pot suitable for making stock and brown it. More butter = richer, nuttier flavor. Don’t use too much heat – medium high at the most – and do stir it frequently, to constantly as it nears the finish. This goes fast, and burned butter can’t be salvaged, so don’t wander off!

    Just before the butter is fully browned, add a few tablespoons of baking mix. I use Pamela’s gluten free pancake mix. It will foam up. This actually helps, and seems to do a helpful chemical reaction with the tomato, too. I don’t get quite the same results if I use just flour. Keep stirring until it makes a nice, thick, toasty roux.

    Then add tomato juice. I just use a good quality plain tomato juice, nothing fancy. A less-acid variety will be more mellow flavored when finished. If you’ve got a very acidic tomato juice (looking at you, Dollar General), add just enough molasses or brown sugar to take the edge off without making the soup sweet. Turn down the heat a notch (medium to medium low) and stir occasionally until it simmers. During this reheating time, add some celery seed and any other seasonings you might like. Typically you won’t need to add salt, but go by your taste. I put a list of suggested add-in ingredients below. Mind the textures you add: you don’t want to add a lot of lumps to this soup, as the creamy texture should be the star.

    After the tomato juice has simmered and the add-ins incorporated, add some heavy whipping cream to taste. You can omit it entirely if you like, but I like the combination of browned butter flavor and cream. Turn off the heat and let the flavors blend for a few minutes. You don’t really want to cook the cream, just heat it through and blend it well, and most pots will retain enough heat to do this. Stir a few times just in case there’s a hot spot somewhere – you don’t want it to scorch.

    Ladle into bowls. You can put this soup over the top of a toasted piece of bread (slightly stale is OK, sourdough is awesome…toast while you’re cooking the soup – try browned cheese toast for a variation). Serve plain, or top with a dollop of sour cream, thin rings of green onion/chives, a dusting of ground spices, or shredded cheese.

    Add-in ingredients you might like to experiment with: very finely chopped onions, finely cut fresh basil, white pepper, flavored oil, hot pepper sauce, chipotle pepper, cumin, curry powder, Parmesan cheese (cheap is OK in this), Colby/Jack shreds, sherry or port wine…or use your imagination.

  7. says

    This would be a good series. I confess that I, too, generally throw soup together in the same fashion and my husband will ask, “did you follow a recipe?” far too often. Early in our married life I would cook a pound of ground turkey in water with some onion, then use part of the meat in spaghetti (jarred sauce, I know it is low standard but it’s real). The next day I’d combine the leftover spaghetti (we always broke it in short lengths to begin with) and the rest of the meat/broth combo that I’d kept in the frig overnight and taken the fat off of. I’d add a bag of frozen vegetables for soup and that’d be supper with some biscuits. Nothing fancy, but it fed a family of 6 for two meals.

  8. osh says

    A series on herbs and spices would be awesome. Along with some notes on using fresh herbs, especially now that the end of the season is here and I’ve gotta do something with the abundance of what’s about ready to die off. My easy one is to turn basil into pesto and freeze it. But what to do about the others?

    Oh, and favorite soup that you listed, definitely the clam chowdah.

  9. michelle says

    The series on flavor/spice combos is a grea idea!

    I need help with convincing the man of the house to eat soup/stew. Going on 15 years… he’s still convinced that soup is not food. He says it’s not filling. He needs “solid food”. Malarkey, of course, but there you have it.


    My all time favorite “mustgo” soup is the one that comes after Thanksgiving! Omg… delicious!!! http://www.food.com/recipe/turkey-and-dressing-soup-use-up-those-leftovers-soup-190733

  10. Candis says

    I always call it “Dump Soup” because I just dump in whatever I have. I find that a bit of leftover spaghetti sauce kicks up the flavor a notch.

  11. says

    Must go soup is a real favorite in my house. One of my standbys is roasting a whole roasting chicken early in the week or during the weekend with lots of good veggies, then when we’ve enjoyed chicken 2 ways, boil the carcass for stock and other chicken. Strain and chill stock to skim fat; pick chicken from bones, discarding bones and then heating the stock, adding chicken, veggies on hand and spices. Same for meatloaf. I made a killer invention more like Italian Wedding Soup from leftover meatloaf made with the supermarket’s “meatloaf” mix.

    For me, cooking by instinct is the easiest way. I focus more on learning techniques and flavor profiles as you said. Then, I have all the tools in my kit, spices in my pantry, and can go / do what ever I have ingredients to do.

  12. Jennifer says

    Awesome. I make Mustgo Soup all the time, but never thought to give it such a fun name. If anyone in the family asks me what it is, I always respond with, “Name of Primary Ingredient-Name of a Second Ingredient” soup, like “Beef & Potato” or “Chicken & Carrot.”

    Taste-wise, my favorite soup is Loaded Baked-Potato Soup. Ease-of-cooking favorite would probably be mixed beans and ham, since you pretty much just throw everything in a pot and let it simmer for a few hours or so.

    I think a series on flavor ideas is an excellent idea.

  13. Nikita says

    I would be very interested in a series on matching seasonings. You could even have a whole seasonings section. “These are great in x recipe”. Like chicken fried rice for instance… I’ve always been curious about Riceironi’s seasoning but not particularly fond of their rice itself.

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