Turns Out That Jerky Is What Your Soup Has Been Missing

Jerky and bowl of soup
Jerky and bowl of soup - Static Media/ Shutterstock

No soup is made alike, but they all have unifying qualities that everyone wants theirs to incorporate: rich, herbaceous, or flavorful to name a few. A good broth and fresh herbs are a great place to start, but if there's one thing that your soup probably needs, it's an umami element to instantly boost its flavor. This commonly comes from mushrooms, tomato paste, or cheese rinds, but for something a little different, jerky is a delicious option to consider. The meaty taste of jerky infuses soup with a savory quality, almost like using a rich beef or chicken stock that you didn't need to simmer for hours. On top of the natural essence of the meat or poultry, jerky comes in a variety of flavors, allowing you to infuse your soup with something peppery, a hint of sweetness, or even a citrusy zing.

Jerky is easy to work with and can be added to the soup at any point you'd like. After sauteing onions and garlic, add water to the pot and boil the jerky to create a savory soup base. Or, if you don't want the jerky to lose its chewiness, chop it up and add it in alongside the other soup ingredients, like peas, carrots, or green beans later in the process. Jerky also makes a deliciously crisp topping for soup if you sprinkle it on at the end like you would with bacon or croutons.

Read more: 21 Delicious Ways To Use Up Leftover Rice

What Kind Of Jerky Should You Use In Your Soup?

Pumpkin soup with beef jerky
Pumpkin soup with beef jerky - Marina Onokhina/Shutterstock

Beef jerky has a smoky, succulent taste whether you make your own or go with a store-bought version. With its meaty flavor, beef jerky would be the perfect fit for a sweet, pungent soup. Add strips of beef jerky to an easy French onion soup in order to balance the sweet, caramelized onions with a richer, umami flavor. You can also use it as a topping alongside the sourdough crumble in a cheesy roasted garlic soup.

Chicken jerky is still savory, but with a slightly milder taste to it. It can also be a little piquant, making it perfect for herbaceous soups that need umami without deepening it too much. This spicy harissa eggplant stew is smoky and rich with pockets of brightness from lemon juice and parsley. Adding chicken jerky to the stew provides the dish with a hint of tanginess while bulking it up with some more protein.

If you're looking for another poultry option, turkey jerky is chicken's more savory cousin. It has a delicious salty flavor and makes a great soup base when added to veggie soups. Add it to a pot of simmering broth when making a hearty minestrone or a batch of fiery chili.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.