Adjusting soup on the fly

What do I mean by adjusting soup on the fly? Good question.

I made a pot of vegetarian chili in the Instant Pot the other day and had it for dinner. It was not my best attempt at soup or chili. I think I put too much broth in. It was not as thick as I expect chili to be. Maybe it was because I didn’t add any meat but I’m pretty sure I’ve made vegetarian chili before and it was fine.

I ate a bowl of the chili and stuck the remainders in the refrigerator.

Then the next day I made a pot roast for a family dinner. I made it in the Instant Pot as well. Basically the pot roast consisted of chuck roast (beef), potatoes and carrots. After we ate, I divvied up the leftovers for different family members. I was left with a small chunk of meat, cooked carrots, a couple of pieces of potatoes in a lot of beef broth.

(In case you can’t tell, I really like my Instant Pot. Here’s my recipe for Lentil Soup that I posted a year ago.)

At my next lunch, I scanned the refrigerator. There was the chili that I didn’t really like and the left over pot roast but not enough for a meal. I decided to experiment. I poured the chili into a large pot and then dumped the pot roast leftovers in the with chili. This was now more of a bean and beef soup and it needed a bit more potato. I chopped up a couple of potatoes, cooked them in the Instant Pot for about three minutes and then added them to the pot of soup.

Now my vegetarian chili was no longer vegetarian because it had beef and beef stock in it. My pot roast got eked out because I added it to the chili.

Once I heated the soup and stirred it thoroughly, I tried it. Not bad. The chili was certainly tastier for having the beef broth in there and the beef chunks and extra potatoes really bulked up the soup. There were still all of the spices that I had used in the original chili.

I had put diced carrot into the chili but the pot roast had large piece of carrots. I think the larger carrots really added to the soup. That’s a lesson for another time.

My only point with this is that I knew I wasn’t really going to eat the chili because it just didn’t wow me. I didn’t have enough of the leftover pot roast for a full meal. By experimenting and adding them together, I ended up with a much more delicious soup. I don’t really think that it was just adding the beef to the chili. I think a meatless chili can be fine but what I made was lackluster. By adding the complexity of the beef broth with the larger carrots and the meat chunks, the soup was improved.

Improvising in the kitchen can sometimes result in much better meals. We don’t need to discuss the times that this doesn’t work because this time it was a success!

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