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Can I salvage my soup?

  • c

Last night I made potato-leek soup--I cooked the leeks in bacon fat, added chicken broth and the potatoes to cook 'til tender, added some salt and more pepper and pureed it when it was done and it tasted like---nothing at all. I still have a lot left over in the fridge. What can do when I heat it up to make it taste like SOMETHING (perferably something good). Where did I go astray? I would have thought that bacon and leeks would be pretty flavorful and I really can't figure out what went wrong.

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  1. Not sure exactly what the problem is. You say it tastes like "nothing at all." Do you mean its too watery or thin? Perhaps you used too much stock in relation to potato. Given what you've done, I can't see why it wouldn't turn into soup. Maybe just keep cooking it (slowly) for a bit and add some salt. Soups tend to take a little while for the flavors to "marry." I would a) have a homebrew/don't panic, b) add some salt unless you think it will become too salty, and c) cook it on low for a bit longer, until it really thickens. Another thing you could do is to melt about 2 tablespoons butter, add a tablespoon flour, cook for a few minutes then add that too the soup. It helps to keep the soup from separating when its not being stirred.

    1. Maybe the potatoes themselves don't have much flavor. A bit of cream, a generous amount of fresh herbs, coarse salt and pepper could help. Or do what I did the other night and roast some orange beets, carrots and parsnips and add the roasted veggies to the brew, simmering just a bit to marry all the flavors. I tend to not make potato/leek only soup because it often doesn't have enough flavor for me w/o adding lots of fat.

      1. Potato leek soup can tend to be mildly flavored. A day in the fridge, cream or milk, fresh herbs, and possibly more salt & pepper should wake it up.


        1. Try stirring in a dollop of sour cream into the bowl. Or you could add cream. A sprinkle of fresh snipped chives or chopped green onion tops will also help.

          If it's still really bland, make sure you've salted it enough. Hate to state the obvious, but lots of people don't realize how salty we expect soup to be. When they make it themselves, and actually see what the volume of salt is, they stop short of seasoning it the way they'd get it if they ordered out.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Christine

            good point. i remember once on sara moulton's call-in cooking show, someone called in saying she didn't like to use salt and asking what to substitute. sara just looked dead at the camera and said "you just gotta use salt." of course, she acknowledged that some people have health problems that prohibit it, but barring that, there's no substitute.

            i was never a fan of sara, but i respected her for saying that.

          2. Probably all it needs is salt.

            1. A large knob of butter and salt should do the trick.

              1. a little heavy cream and some butter...just broth makes it blah


                  FORGET ABOUT ADDING MORE SALT until you have sauteed some chopped onion, chopped celery, chopped carrots, and minced garlic in extra virgin olive oil. Then add these aromatics (known as soffritto in Italian cooking and sofrito in Latino cooking) to the bland stuff you've got in the fridge. Heat the whole concoction 'til all the ingredients are well incorporated.

                  Allow this soup to rest overnight in the fridge to allow all these ingredients of the marriage consummate the wedding. Reheat it next day and taste it. Add more salt only if your taste buds say 'give me more salt.'

                  The ChiliDude has spoken...

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: ChiliDude

                    Let's not leave out mirepoix - also a mix of carrots, onions, celery and usually leeks, sauteed and added to various dishes, including soup.

                    I agree with CD. Add some aromatics before adding salt. What's weird to me is that you mentioned no bacon flavor. Usually that's pretty evident when used. I'm using it to make a fish chowder. Good stuff on a cold and rainy day here in Oaktown.

                    1. re: oakjoan
                      Catherine C in NYC

                      Yes, I thought it was bizarre that there was no bacon flavor, because usually bacon fat lets you know it is there.

                      Thanks to all for the tips--I think my problem was too much broth/too little potato. Adding some more salt, cream and chopped herbs sounds like it will help a lot. Many thanks--I hate to throw the whole big pot away, but I wasn't looking forward to eating it either.

                      1. re: Catherine C in NYC

                        You could also reduce it, add whatever you decide, and then taste and add salt as needed....unless you add enough stuff to account for the excess liquid.

                  2. add some crumbled gorgonzola or stilton

                    1. What recipe did you follow? If your a regular soup maker than perhaps you don't need one however, if your not a regular soup maker, maybe one would help until you've perfected your soups.

                      Bacon, leeks & chicken stock all have lots of flavor, normally I wouldn't season with much else than S&P. You could have also added a little garlic and some fresh herbs. You could have jazzed it up with a little parmesan cheese, their are many variations.

                      And yes, you could have creamed it at the end just before final seasoning. Ingredient ratios are important for a good end result!

                      Don't give up..


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: CTChef
                        Catherine C in NYC

                        I wasn't really using a recipe--I adapted one I had made before because I had bacon fat on hand that I wanted to use. In retrospect, I added too much (low sodium) broth for the amount of potatoes I had and not enough salt. So last night I added a big spoonful of sour cream and a handful of chopped parsley and more salt and it was a lot more palatable. I don't even have a blood pressure problem--I've just had "salt is bad" drummed into me so much. But I will try to get past that when I'm making soup in the future.

                      2. James Beard's recipe for vichyssoise - which is nothing but cold potato-leek soup! - calls for pretty much equal amounts of onion and leek, which gives a more robust flavor. I'd agree with the poster who suggested adding aromatics, but if potato-leek is what you wanted going in you should maybe just cook some onion and add it.

                        Another factor is your looking for flavor from bacon fat. The flavoring elements in smoked meats are water-soluble more than fat-soluble, which comes in handy when you want bacon flavor without the saturated fat: cook the bacon, pour off the grease, add some canola oil if you still need fat in there but KEEP THE BACON ITSELF, because that's where all the flavor is. If you don't want pieces of bacon in your finished soup, you can pull them out between cooking and serving.

                        And as for cream, I'd just beat in some sour cream after the soup was cooked. Don't let it boil.