How to Serve Soup to Your Guests

Happy Valentine’s Day! The true essence of Valentines Day–love spread around, many times through food and by doing good for others–for sure brings love and joy to the heart.

Last weekend after a cold soccer game up in Portland, we were the lucky guests of our friends for dinner, indulging in their chicken white bean soup, with soup and salad.

There’s just nothing like soup to bring comfort to a chilly day.

Oh, wonderful soul-warming soup. :) Especially my friend Stephanie’s soup, just getting back from Chile with her little kids, it was hands down the most flavorful, best tasting soup we’ve had in a long time. It was so good, we all went back for seconds … and thirds.

I appreciated Steph’s stories of the wonderful foods they shared in Chile, but also her new kitchen inspirations and goals, one being cooking more simple soups for dinner, which in a sense are one-pot meals.

Fresh ingredients
Fresh ingredients make the best soups–fresh meats, vegetables, beans, herbs and spices. Even by using leftovers and items in the refrigerator and pantry (some on the verge of spoiling), when you are setting out to make a really good soup, try to use fresh ingredients.

Season well
Soup makes a wonderful addition to any meal, and once you make a pot or two, it’s really not that hard. But the final adjustments are essential. Try to season before the soup hits the table.

Provide garnishments
Some soups are finished with special garnishes or sauces, which allows each guest to create their own dish that suits their particular taste. This night we garnished our soup with cilantro. Often I’ll set out a bowl of sour cream.

How to serve
I love how my friend served each bowl before we all sat down, and then placed a small plate on top to keep the heat in. While we gathered around the table (sometimes it takes a little longer with little kids), as the hostess she didn’t have to worry about the food getting cold.

I’d say our dinner of soup, salad, and bread was simple.

Simple, yet satisfying.

Satisfying and we ate like kings.

Do you have any serving tips for soup when hosting guests?

   

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11 Responses to “How to Serve Soup to Your Guests”

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    Mary — February 14, 2012 @ 5:27 am

    Good Morning Sandy,

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    I love this post today because we are such a soup family. And it is something that I love serving to guests because it is easy to prepare and serve…and everyone always seems to enjoy a hot bowl of soup.

    Some ways that I have served soup are both in a tureen that my mom gave me (it was a wedding present to my folks over 57 years ago!) and also in the crock-pot. The tureen has a lid, so the soup stays warm and it also has a ladle which looks so lovely when serving the soup. The crock-pot is great because I set it on “warm” and it keeps the soup nice and hot for seconds. Which definitely comes in handy – as you mentioned – when there are young children in attendance. Many of my friends have young children, so when they visit, dinner time can be a bit hectic but when we adults sit down to eat (usually after all the children have been fed) our soup is still hot! :-)

    Also, like your friend, I like to serve the soup with a salad and bread. As a special treat, I like to make the bread homemade. But nothing difficult or complicated. Just a simple focaccia. And actually what I do, is just make a simple pizza dough but stretch it out in a rectangle on a jelly roll pan, let it rise for a bit, then dimple it with my fingers and then douse with olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt and fresh chopped rosemary. It’s so good. (And I just use the simple recipe in Joy of Cooking.)

    Also, depending on what type of soup I serve, I like to put out little bowls – like you mentioned – of sour cream, grated cheese, lime wedges, guacamole, etc – - -primarily when serving a tortilla type soup. Or if it is something more like a French onion soup, I always like to have extra croutons and and grated Gruyere cheese. Or with an Asian style noodle soup, some chopped peanuts make a wonderful garnish. (My M-I-L always does this.)

    And this doesn’t really have so much to do with serving the soup as it does with making it – but something I really like is to use bone broths/stocks for the base of my soups. I usually make the broth/stocks just from scraps leftover in my kitchen but I find it makes the soup taste so much richer. And you’re right – if some veggies in your fridge are on the verge of spoiling and not the most appealing to serve fresh – - – they will make the BEST broth or stock. (And I like the idea of using up the scraps. I am one of those people who hates to waste…a product of parents who were raised during the depression.)

    Have a wonderful day.

    Love,
    Mary

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    Heather @ new house, new home, new life — February 14, 2012 @ 6:21 am

    Hi Leigh Ann

    At a casual party, I like to serve soup in large mugs – especially if we are serving buffet style. I’ve also served a cream soup like pea or asparagus in shooter glasses for fun.

    Hope you have a Valentine’s Day filled with love.

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    Kelley — February 14, 2012 @ 6:56 am

    No doubt youwere at one of your childrens soccer games, I love hearing about them. I also love the tip to put a plate on the soup to keep it warm! Hope you’re well. Have a great day! xx

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    Lauren@SimplyLKJ — February 14, 2012 @ 7:00 am

    We love soup at our house! Perfect with a nice loaf of fresh bread and a salad. We’ve served it with a half baked potato too. Love the addition of toppings!!

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    Johanna — February 14, 2012 @ 7:09 am

    We love soup in the winter time. Just recently I’ve gotten over my idea that it is not for company and served it to my guests on cold nights. Thanks for the tips!

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    Kendra — February 14, 2012 @ 9:26 am

    This question may have an obvious answer that I am unaware of: how do you set a table for a meal where soup is the main dish? I’ve avoided soups at dinner parties because it seems like a logistical nightmare! You need a bowl, but then where do you put the salad (I have always used my bowls for the side salad). And do you need a separate plate for the bread? How does it all fit on a placemat?

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    Elen Grey — February 14, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

    Happy Big Day of Love, Sandy. We’re are big soup lovers at Hacienda Elen. Soup, salad, bread. Oh, yeah. I have a favorite pottery soup tureen that we bought at an art fair years ago. Well, Mr. G, honey gifted it to me. When it’s on the table, I’m smiling. I love the idea of the plate covering the bowl to keep everything nice and hot.

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    Julie @ The Family CEO — February 14, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

    I love the plate idea. Genius!

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    Kirstin — February 14, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

    I love the idea of the plate over the bowl! I too love to serve soups to guests. I love to serve with salad and bread or rolls. YUMMY!!! I also love having extra garnish options depending on the soup…parmesan cheese is one of my favorites, or cheddar cheese, sour cream (or greek yogurt) for chili

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    Heather :) :) :) — February 14, 2012 @ 5:51 pm

    I like the idea of putting a small plate on top of the soup bowl to keep it warm. I’ve done that with my own soups, too. Happy VAlentine’s Day. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of CAlifornia, Heather :)

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    Aggie — February 14, 2012 @ 9:31 pm

    Love serving soup or chili to guests, especially with some simple extras like good bread, crackers or croutons. What a great idea to put a small plate over the bowl!
    Sending you lots of love today my friend! xo

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