Soup season is upon us. Here are tips for making homemade soups, and for learning about fundamental building blocks and key ingredients to enrich a soup’s flavor and texture.

Step One: Decide what type of soup you want to make, whether broth-based, chunky, or pureed. Brothy soups, such as egg drop, consommé or matzoh ball soup use a higher amount of liquid compared to the amount of ingredients added. A chunky soup is a heartier soup in which liquids reduce and starches (grains, legumes) thicken. A pureed soup, such as a bisque or creamy tomato soup, blend the ingredients together for a smooth, silky texture.

Step Two: Select the cooking fat and the combination of starter vegetables. French soups usually utilize butter as the fat of choice, while Italian-based soups use olive oil. Vegetable starters can be the classic garlic and onion. Indian soups add cumin and turmeric. Mexican-based tortilla soups stir in tomatoes and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Asian-inspired soups utilize shallots and ginger.

Step Three: Add the stock or broth, which is about a cup per serving. For a more brothy soup, add a little bit more liquid; for a heartier soup, add a little less liquid. 8 cups of broth or stock will create about 6-8 servings.

Step Four: Add the main ingredients (add them raw so they can release flavor into the soup). After that, bring the soup to a boil, then simmer until ingredients are tender, anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on the ingredients used. Main ingredients can be meat or poultry, legumes (beans, lentils), starchy vegetables (potatoes, parsnip, butternut squash), greens (kale, spinach), and other vegetables (zucchini, carrots) or grains (quinoa, pasta, rice). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step Five: Add the topping. This finishing touch can enhance the presentation (example: brightly colored fresh herbs), add texture (examples: crunchy nuts or crisp tortilla strips), or help balance out the flavor (examples: a dollop of yogurt to add tang, a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to add salt).