Nothing soothes the soul like a comforting soup.
As winter and colder temps approach, these soups and stews will provide some pep in your step. Our brains are naturally primed to connect the concepts of physical and social warmth. Did you know this connection is scientifically proven?
Studies suggest that by eating a hot bowl of soup, you will likely have an instant boost of positive feelings. Let's make fantastic soup with simple recipes using wholesome, fresh ingredients crafted to enhance flavor.
How can olive oil and vinegar enhance the flavor of my soup?
Think of olive oil and vinegar as unique, natural flavor enhancers. Single varietal extra virgin olive oil can add sweet, savory, peppery, or fruity attributes to soups and stews. Infused olive oils instantly enhance meals without the need for additional ingredients such as garlic, lemon, or fresh herbs. Our wine and balsamic vinegar range add harmony, providing balanced acidity and natural sweetness to help pop flavors.
EVOO: Enhancing Soup from Start to Finish
From sautéing veggies to drizzling olive oil over soups, fresh extra virgin olive oil plays a vital role in elevating soups and stews. During the cooking phase, olive oil acts as a heat conduit allowing ingredients to uniformly soften and brown. When sauteed ingredients and stock are added to soup, olive oil plays a new role, homogenizing and combining flavors.
Finishing the soup with a drizzle of fresh olive oil further amplifies any soup or stew's flavor and overall texture. A healthy drizzling of green EVOO highlights the unique attributes of the oil itself while enhancing richness, body, and overall texture.
In the mood for a fresh lobster soup? Check out our Champagne & Lobster Bisque recipe using Cobrancosa extra virgin olive oil from Portugal. When sautéed and simmered, this medium-intensity olive oil's buttery and nutty attributes perfectly infuse with the mirepoix veggies and lobster tails. Make sure to finish this bisque with a hefty drizzle of Cobrancosa. The oil has exciting notes of fresh herbs and green pepper attributes, adding even more luxurious notes to enhance this soup.
Olive Oil & Vinegar Pairings for Soups and Stews
Now that we know the importance of olive oil in the soup-making process, let's talk about how to pick the right intensity olive oil for your soup or stew.
Single-varietal extra virgin olive oils made from a unique olive cultivar such as Picual or Arbequina are classified by their intensity: mild, medium, or robust. EVOO Intensity classifications help us guide our selections: mild EVOO often has a softer, delicate, and sweeter flavor profile. On the other end of the spectrum, robust EVOO tends to be more assertive, peppery, and bitter.
We believe mild and medium-intensity olive oils work flawlessly when cooking soups and stews. These tend to create balance with our soups' existing ingredients while enhancing the overall flavor. For those looking for the healthiest selection possible, more bitter and robust olive oils tend to have a higher level of polyphenols and antioxidants.
We love the classic French Onion Soup recipe that uses our best-selling Family Reserve Picual Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This medium-intensity fresh EVOO is perfect for caramelizing onions, while our Pedro Ximenez Sherry Vinegar enhances rich-sweet flavors with its verdant, fresh, and peppery attributes. The umami-like balance between our Picual EVOO, the broth, and Pepe e Aglio seasoning bridges this recipe together for absolute comfort.
Vinegar Provides Balance
Speaking of balance, let's talk about how vinegar works to improve our soups and stews. Acid and seasoning are two main elements contributing to an incredible-tasting soup. A vinegar's acidity contrasts a soup's richer ingredients (think creams, starches, broth, proteins, beans, etc.). It imparts unique flavor attributes, enhancing a soup's overall flavor and depth.
For example, this Zesty Sweet Potato & Chicken Soup uses our Habanero Honey White Balsamic Vinegar to create balance and add bright, rich acidity to the recipe. The richer elements of this soup, sweet potatoes, Hojiblanca Extra Virgin Olive Oil, chicken broth, and pulled rotisserie chicken benefit from a dash of tartness to meld its flavors together. The punchy habanero vinegar infusion adds a tongue-tingly pop of heat and fresh chili pepper flavor. The sweet, creamy Hojiblanca olive oil complements the vinegar's sweet honey notes to boost the potatoes' natural sweetness.
Zero-Proof Deglazing with Even More Flavor
Vinegar is the perfect substitution for wine and spirits when crafting soups and stews. We find that when deglazing or drizzling, you infuse your recipe with even more flavor! So, you just finished sauteeing onions, veggies, etc., and now have a pan with some remaining ingredients on your stove. Enter deglazing.
Deglazing is simply the process of adding a liquid to a hot pan or pot that loosens the browned bits of caramelized food. These concentrated flavors in the plan add extra flavor to whatever you're cooking and can be a secret ingredient in elevating any dish.
In our Turkish-Spiced Carrot & Tahini Soup, we deglazed caramelized carrots, onions, garlic, and ginger using our Pomegranate Dark Balsamic Vinegar. The vinegar's sweet-tart balsamic not only imparts its bright, tart flavors of pomegranates - the deglazed ingredients add umami-like flavors to the soup. Thanks to deglazing, these concentrated flavors shine throughout the soup, allowing them to perfectly balance the broth, coconut milk, and tahini.
Give the Gift of Exceptional Flavor
Do you know of a gourmand, chef, or aspiring home cook that enjoys experimenting with new and exciting flavors to enhance their recipes? If so, we recommend a few of our sampler gift collections. Each set is a complete color palette of delicious olive oils and vinegar, perfectly crafted and infused for maximum flavor. Whether your friends and family are planning on making a few of these soups and stews or want to elevate their salads and cooking, these collections are ideal. Click this link to check out our selections.