"Only the pure in heart can make a good soup." Or so said the great composer Ludwig van Beethoven. If you've burnt your soup, fear not for your heart's purity. All may not be lost. If a burning soup is caught quickly enough, it is possible to save the unburned portion and cover up a mildly burnt taste with a little quick action and creativity whether or not your heart is pure.
Remove the pot from the heat source and set it in icy water to stop the cooking and prevent further burning
Ladle the soup into another pot, being careful to leave behind the burnt substance on the bottom of the pot. Avoid stirring the soup or scraping the bottom, as that will disturb any burnt soup on the sides and bottom of the pot and ruin the soup you are trying to save.
Taste the soup to see if separating the unburned portion from the burnt portion was enough to save it. If the soup tastes slightly smoky or burnt, try the below tips for camouflaging the flavour. If the soup tastes extremely burnt, there may be nothing you can do for it.
Add a little extra broth or water (or milk/cream for cream soups) to dilute the burnt flavour. Start with a little liquid at first and add it gradually so you don't water down the soup.
Add more flavour using the seasonings and spices in the soup. If the seasonings in the soup aren't strong enough to mask the burnt flavour, consider using stronger spice like garlic or ingredients that go nicely with smoky flavours like paprika or bacon.
Peel a potato and place it in the soup for a few minutes while cooking to absorb the burnt taste. Remove the potato before serving.
Rethink the type of soup you were making. You may have started making a simple potato soup, but a little creativity can make it a smoked potato and bacon soup by tossing in some cooked bacon, topping with some smoked Gouda cheese and changing the name.
If you're not sure how to play with the ingredients in your soup to mask the burnt flavour, consult a similar recipe to see what other items it adds. If you have a creative idea to save the soup, try it. Don't be afraid. The soup is already burnt so you have nothing to lose. Prevent burning soup by using the recommended heat settings, cooking in a heavy bottomed pot, and keeping close watch on the soup or setting a timer to remind you to check it frequently.
Don't add too many new ingredients at once to your soup. Add a little at a time and see how it tastes before adding more. If the soup tastes really burnt, don't waste more ingredients trying to save it. Just start over. If one of the steps mentioned above clashes with the recipe you are using, avoid or skip it and try substituting other ingredients.