Summer's over and it's the season of soups, stews and comfort food. It could be worse - who doesn't love soup?!
I’ve been under the weather lately and while recovering on the sofa I’ve been enjoying cup after cup of my favourite broth (recipe below). I’m positive the comfort it brings is as worthwhile as my prescription meds.
If you’ve got homemade soup on your list this fall, remember the following tips for the best results.
- Make extra. Most soups freeze well for a couple of months. Freeze in small batches so you can whip up a quick and healthy weeknight meal. I usually double the recipe.
- Understand your vegetables. The aromatics like onion, celery and carrot (some combination of which form the basis of almost every soup) need to cook in oil and/or butter on their own first to release their flavour. Soups and stews require flavour layering. Start with the aromatics. And consider how long each different vegetable takes to cook when deciding when to add what. A pea cooks much faster then a chunk of celery.
- Season as you go. Add a bit of salt to the sautéing aromatics. Then dried herbs and spices. Taste after you add stock and add more salt as you need to. Season at every stage.
- Warm cream or milk before adding to soup mixture. Otherwise it’ll curdle.
- Simmer, don’t boil. If you’re too aggressive with the heat your vegetables will overcook and get mushy.
- Roasted garlic is a fantastic flavour booster for just about any vegetable soup. Same goes for poultry seasoning.
- When a soup calls for thyme I throw in the whole sprigs and retrieve after cooking. The leaves fall off on their own during cooking.
- Just about every cookbook and chef in the world will tell you your soup will taste so much better if you make your own stock. I’m sure they’re right, but I’m a lazy soup maker. And there’s a gourmet place in my city that specializes in stock and I find it hard to believe mine could possibly be better. If you don’t have a local gourmet shop (many butchers make it), be careful with the mass produced stuff as it can be super salty. If you’re a keener and want a recipe to make your own, click here (send me some?)
My absolute favourite soup recipe is the white bean and escarole soup from Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual. Lettuce in soup is simply brilliant.
Happy Friday everyone!