Soup peo­ple al­ways win

Easy to make, end­lessly ver­sa­tile, and per­fect for shar­ing

Grand Magazine - - FEATURE - Charmian Christie

There are two types of peo­ple in this world: soup peo­ple and non-soup peo­ple. Soup peo­ple will share their favourite recipes, ideas and tips. Non-soup peo­ple will give you their por­tion. Ei­ther way, soup peo­ple win.

In what I refuse to be­lieve is a co­in­ci­dence, there are also two types of soup. Clear soups and puréed soups. And no, I will not give you my por­tion. stud­ded with bite-sized in­gre­di­ents. They can be light and re­fresh­ing, like clas­sic Chicken Noo­dle, or rich and hearty like French Onion. They go from pot to bowl with noth­ing more than a la­dle. thanks to a blender, cream, or both. You can purée the soup to a uni­form smooth­ness or leave some in­gre­di­ents un­blended Cream of Mush­room.

No mat­ter which style you pre­fer, soup is easy to make, end­lessly ver­sa­tile, and per­fect for shar­ing with other soup peo­ple.

SOUP BA­SICS

Most soups taste the bet­ter next day pos­si­ble, make a dou­ble batch and freeze the left­overs. Re­gard­less of how much soup you plan to make, start with a large saucepan. Go big. A wide pan will sim­mer more quickly, while the larger sur­face area al­lows some of the stock to evap­o­rate, con­cen­trat­ing flavours.

Cre­ate a base: Sauté your aro­mat­ics in oil, or oil and but­ter. Th­ese in­clude onions, gar­lic, shal­lots, car­rots and cel­ery. If you’re cook­ing meat for the soup, brown the meat first, re­move it, then cook the aro­mat­ics in the resid­ual fat.

Bring on the broth: Most soups use chicken, beef or veg­etable broth, but don’t limit your­self. In­clude the juice of tinned toma­toes, a bot­tle of beer or even plain old water.

Wine or juice add bright­ness, but use spar­ingly or they will over­whelm the other flavours.

Slowly sim­mer: Once your liq­uid of choice is added, bring the soup to a boil, then re­duce to a sim­mer and cook un­cov­ered. Add un­cooked items like noo­dles, rice, dried beans, or raw or frozen veg­eta­bles at this stage. made with dried beans cook more evenly and lose less liq­uid if the pot is par­tially cov­ered.

Ad­just the sea­son­ing: Most soups can ben­e­fit from a bit of salt or acid, such as vine­gar or le­mon juice. For added flavour, try soy sauce, fish sauce, miso or Worces­ter­shire sauce.

Add the late­com­ers: To avoid over­cook­ing, add pre­cooked meat, ten­der veg­eta­bles such as spinach, and fresh herbs at the very end, cook­ing only long enough to heat through. Dairy should be added at the last minute for chow­ders or af­ter purée­ing for smooth soups.

Fin­ish with gar­nish: This can be as sim­ple as a grind­ing of black pep­per or as suits the flavour of the soup.

Go be­yond crou­tons. Try ba­con, cheese, fresh herbs, gua­camole, sour cream, plain yo­gurt, pesto, toasted nuts or spiced pump­kin seeds.

BLENDER BA­SICS

For con­ve­nience, purée the soup right in the pot with an im­mer­sion blender. This re­duces cleanup and the pos­si­bil­ity of splash­ing. While it won’t pro­duce a silky fin­ish, it will cre­ate a rus­ti­cally puréed soup per­fect for most oc­ca­sions.

For a vel­vety soup, you’ll need a stan­dard counter-top blender, not a food pro­ces­sor. To avoid get­ting scalded, work in batches, fill­ing the blender only half full. Af­ter se­cur­ing the lid, re­move the plug to re­lease the steam, cover with a tea towel and blend, start­ing on the low­est set­ting and slowly in­creas­ing the speed.

For a restau­rant-qual­ity fin­ish, strain the soup through a sieve. If adding cream or milk, gen­tly re­heat the soup, be­ing care­ful not to boil since the dairy could cur­dle.

SOUP FIXES

If the soup is too thin, sim­mer longer to re­duce the stock. Al­ter­na­tively, add some soaked dried beans, un­cooked noo­dles, rice or raw potato pieces to ab­sorb some of the ex­cess liq­uid.

Al­ter­na­tively, if the soup is too thick, thin it with any liq­uid that will suit the soup — cream, milk or evap­o­rated milk for cream soups, and stock or water for clear soups.

TO FREEZE OR NOT TO FREEZE

Most soups freeze beau­ti­fully. How­ever, dairy- and potato-based soups, as well as those thick­ened with corn­starch or eggs should not be frozen. Their tex­tures can change, or the soup can sep­a­rate when re­heated.

For best re­sults, don’t add pasta or fresh herbs be­fore freez­ing. The pasta will be mushy, and the herbs will not re­tain their bright flavour. In­stead, add them when re­heat­ing the frozen soup.

For fast de­frost­ing and re­heat­ing, freeze soup in sin­gle-serv­ing por­tions, about 1½ to 2 cups per per­son.

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