Jacques Pépin is one of my culinary heroes. For me the appeal is in his easygoing personality: he’s relaxed in the home kitchen and always places an emphasis on not worrying about using too many ingredients, or working too hard. He is the true hero we all need when we can barely lift our hands anymore to chop shit up and make soup.
It can be a bummer if your soup is too watery and you don’t want to keep boiling it until the ingredients are obliterated into mushy lumps. Thankfully, The Kitchn has unearthed a sneaky trick from good ol’ Jacques that will thicken up your soup and make it satisfying in a... je ne sais pas sort of way. This is the only French I know. Okay, bonjour. (I’m droppin’ some knowledge on you today, fools. Just kidding, you’re not fools.)
At the 9:55 mark in this episode of Jacques Pépin: More Fast Food My Way, one of my favorite cooking shows ever, Pépin whips out instant mashed potato flakes and uses them to thicken up what would otherwise be a loose soup. The Kitchn mentions that there’s other things you can do, like add a cornstarch slurry or make a roux, but those involve one extra step here or there. Instant mashed potato flakes thicken up the soup and give it a creamy texture, and we all know that thick and creamy soup is just heartier overall. Another thing to note is that mashed potato flakes are also vegan and some brands are, in fact, gluten free, so this makes the trick all the more versatile. Considering the single digit forecast for this weekend in Chicago, I’m really considering stocking up on the flakes and making some soup for dinner.