Enjoy an easy dinner with Thursday Night Soup. It makes good use of whatever you have in the kitchen so that you waste less and eat well.
I’ve been making soup from leftovers for a very long time. Ever since I read the book, A Feast of Soups twenty years ago. There are very few recipes that I actually use, but it is an all-around fantastic soup education. I received it as a bridal shower gift and it is a keeper, though it’s copyrighted 1982. Some of the ingredients and language in the book are a tad outdated, but the soup instruction is timeless.
You DO read the beginning chapters of your cookbooks, right? I mean cookbook authors, ahem, spend time writing those for a reason. You would be surprised — it’s almost like a mini cooking class in those beginning sections.
Anyway, I learned how to make soup from leftovers thanks to reading A Feast of Soups. It was a game changer. No longer did I need to find ways to pawn off leftovers on my husband and kids; I just mixed them into soup. Thursday Night Soup, adapted from the soup book you should go buy cheap used and learn about soup making, is a great starter soup for using up whatcha got.
By the way, it’s called Thursday Night Soup because traditionally workers were paid on Friday and so by Thursday night, you’d be using up whatever you had.
Here’s a a peek at some leftovers and pantry staples that went into a version of Thursday Night Soup: cooked sausage, rice, sauteed vegetables, gravy, chicken stock, frozen peas, an onion, a can of tomato paste, and fresh basil. I try to choose leftovers with flavor profiles that go together. These all worked fabulously.
How to make this good and cheap:
Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe even more economical:
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. The recipe calls for standard items, such as tomato paste, onion, chicken stock. Stock up on these things when you see a good sale.
- Shop at Costco. When I did my big grocery store showdown, I learned that Costco has the best price for a lot of the things I buy, with ALDI a close second.
How I make this recipe easy:
This recipe really couldn’t be easier than it is, but having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs.
Here are the tools that I use for this recipe:
- plastic cutting boards – I have blue boards for veggies and white boards for meat.
- Ergo Chef chef’s knife – I’ve had my set for several years and they work well.
- 5-quart pot with lid – I have this one. It’s perfect for cooking chili or a big pot of rice.
- soup ladle – A new favorite addition to my gadget drawer.
Thursday Night Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 4 cup water or stock of your choice
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste or 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- black pepper
- bay leaf
- 1 tsp herbes de provence or other dried herb of your choice
- 1 to 2 cup leftovers to add to soup such as cooked and chopped vegetables, meats, rice, noodles, potatoes, etc.
- 1 to 2 cup additional liquids to add to soup such as vegetable juice, gravy, wine, cream, drippings from a roast, etc.
- In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and sauce until clear, 7 to 10 minutes.
- Stir in the water or stock and the tomato paste, whisking until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste as well as the bay leaf and dried herb. Cook 5 minutes, uncovered.
- Stir in the leftovers and additional liquids. Cook for 10 minutes or until heated through. Adjust the seasonings and serve hot.
Originally published December 4, 2008. Updated July 24, 2017.