The ABC of Soup Making
Soup is commonly loved by everyone and it can come in many flavors, colors, and textures! Some can be lumpy, clear or creamy. Others can be filled with herbs and spices that fill the senses. We can all agree that soup is a comfort food like no other. In order to find your perfect soup, you have to begin using these simple basic steps.
To begin your soup, you must pick a base. The base of most soups are proteins such as beef, chicken, fish, etc. Make sure when you pick your protein that you try and pick something fresh. Fresh protein makes a very big difference in terms of flavor. The quality of your protein determines the quality of your soup. After you choose your protein, make sure to wash it properly and cut away the fat. Although some people like some fat in their protein, remember that when boiling meat or chicken, most of the fat falls into the soup itself which can be very bad for you to eat. So minimize the fat and then place your clean and cut up protein in cold water. Make sure to cover over your protein with the water before setting the pot on the stove. Typically making soup takes a long time. Some soups can even take up to 6 hours! The best temperature to cook your soup is on low so that you can infuse the flavors together. If you love soup but don’t want to take the time to make it, then try using a crock pot! It’ll cut your 2 hour soup into just 20-25 minutes. Some people don’t enjoy protein based soups, in that case pick tofu or vegetables as your base and go on to the next step.
The next step after determining your protein base, you need to determine the texture of your soup! Do you want it as a clear soup or do you want cream? Would you like to thicken your soup using butter and flour as a base? Will your soup be mashed up later in a blender into a lumpy texture (ex. Broccoli and cheese soup)? All this needs to be determined before you determine your other variables such as whether or not you’ll be adding vegetables. Almost all vegetables can be added to a soup: leeks, potatoes, onions, carrots, peas, beans, zucchini, etc. Pick your favorite combinations and get to work cutting them up! Make sure you clean and peel them properly and add them all in that hot pot of soup. Put in mind some vegetables cook faster than others. So be careful to add vegetables that take longer to cook first and your fast cooking vegetables last or else you’ll end up with a very mushy vegetable soup.
Next you need to determine herbs combination. There are plenty of herbs combined together than you can use in order to add flavor and aroma to your soup. Some examples of common herbs used in soup could be: celery or celery seed, shallots, parsley, thyme, lemon, sage, mint, basil, etc. After you’re done figuring out which herbs you would like, you will need to figure out what kind of seasoning complements these herbs such as: bay leaves, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, black or white pepper, tomato juice or sauce, gravy etc. The final step is trying to decide if you want to add other additives such as: rice, wheat, noodles, barley, mushrooms, etc. Some of these options can either be added right away or fried in butter first to give it such a rich taste and flavor. Make sure you cook your soup all the way through with patience so that you can get that wonderful soup combination that you have your heart set upon.