This week in the Back to Basics Cooking Series we’re talking soup! It’s easier than you think to make soup (including homemade stock), especially if you keep some simple techniques in mind as you create your liquid goodness.
I had to laugh when I read Alice Water’s introduction to her soup chapter in The Art of Simple Food. It described perfectly my experience!
When I first started cooking, I never liked soup–because I didn’t know how to make it! I was naive, I thought the process was nothing more than putting leftovers in a pot, heating them with stock or water, and–voila! Soup. Eventually I realized that it’s necessary to learn some simple techniques for maximizing flavor: how to make a good broth; how to begin a soup with a base of softened vegetables and herbs; and how to add either a single vegetable, for a pure and simple soup, or a combination of many vegetables (as well as pasta, meat, or fish), for a more complicated soup. The variations are endless.
It helps to keep in mind the basic building blocks of making your own soup. Mother Earth News had an excellent article in its December 2011/January 2012 issue. It described the steps as follows:
Step 1: Saute some version of morepoix (mix of celery, carrots, and onions) and brown any meats.
Step 2: Add stock (either store-bought, or you can make your own. We’ll be covering that later in the week) and bulk such as beans, grains, and any vegetables you might have–either fresh or frozen.
Step 3: Add the seasonings, such as herbs, mushrooms, nuts, etc.
If you’d like to go more into depth with soup making basics, check out this article in Mother Earth News. And, stay tuned this week for more soup making tips such as how to make your own broth and how to thicken soups.
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