The art of composing good soup is to proportion the different ingredients so that the flavor of one will not predominate over another. The ingredients that will compose the soup should form an agreeable finished product. That is delectable to the sight and delicious to the palate.
To accomplish this, care must be taken that the fresh vegetables and herbs are well cleaned, and that the base of the soup, be it water, chicken, beef or vegetable broth is proportioned to the quantity of meat and other ingredients. Generally a quart of water is used to a pound of meat and a quart to on pound of vegetables.
Making a good flavorful soup is done by gently stewing or simmering. For a more nutritious soup, using a slow cooker is the best. There is no risk of losing vital minerals and vitamins as the slow cooker is cooking at a constant temperature. Also if the soup is being prepared in a pressure cooker, there is no loss of moisture and no need to add any extra broth or water.
Soups will general take from three to six hours to cook. They are also much flavorful when prepared the day before. After cooking the soup and allowing it to sit for 24 hours brings out the flavor the dried herbs being used in the preparation of the soup.
Another benefit to letting it sit is easier removal of any fat from the soup. When the soup is cold, the fat is much easier to remove, as fat solidifies as it cools. If you are using fresh herbs and wish to eat the soup the same day, you can use one of these two options:
Refrigerate the soup until the fat hardens. If you place waxed paper on top first, it will peel away the hardened fat. No time to refrigerate? Try dropping a lettuce leaf in the soup. Let it collect fat, and then remove it.
When the soup appears to be too thin or too weak, arrow-root, corn starch, flour and butter, can be used to thicken it and give body to the soup. You should have no problem with thin soup if you are using barley or rice as this will thicken the soup some as well.
Various herbs, fresh or dried and vegetables are used for the purpose of making broth for the soup.
The most common vegetables used are parsnips, carrots, turnips, and beetroots including garlic, shallots and onions.
Onions, garlic and shallots should be browned or minced some with butter or olive oil to release the flavors more readily into the soup broth. It is noteworthy to say, that the older and drier the onions, garlic or shallots are, the stronger the flavor they will have.
Leeks and celery are also used in soups. These also should be browned or minced to bring out their flavors. Celery-seed can be used, but should be pounded o release its flavor as well. Though fresh celery and celery seed is equally strong in giving good flavor, celery seed does not impart the delicate sweetness of the fresh vegetable and if when used as a substitute for the fresh vegetable its flavor should be corrected by the addition of a bit of sugar.
The addition of dried herbs such as cress-seed, parsley, thyme, lemon thyme, orange thyme, knotted marjoram, sage, mint, winter savory, and basil can be used. Dried herbs should be added at the beginning of the preparation of the soup.
Fresh herbs can be used, but should be added at the finish of the soup cooking. Dried basil is ok to use, but fresh basil is seldom used as its flavor is quickly lost with heat. Fresh, chopped basil can be used by adding it just before serving it. Fresh parsley and cilantro are added at the finish of the soup cooking.
Other ways to season soups is with bay-leaves, tarragon, chervil, burnet, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, black and white pepper, essence of anchovy, lemon-peel, and juice, orange peel and Seville orange-juice. The orange though imparts a finer flavor than the lemon, and the acid is much milder.
Other food ingredients that can be used and combined in various proportions are wine, mushrooms, and tomato sauce.
Keep in mind that soups, which are intended to constitute the principal part of a meal, certainly ought not to be flavored like sauces.
There are many ingredients that can be manipulated into an almost endless variety of excellent soups.
Check out our soup recipes:
The Collage of prepared soups include:
Lentil Soup Asian Noodle Soup Vegetable Soup
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