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"Soup'erlicious" Ideas

by: Celebrity Recipes Magazine
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A soup may be thick or thin, hot or cold, subtle or spicy, jellied, pureed or creamed. It may be as clear as a glass or full of chunky bits of vegetables and meats. Some soups derive their essential flavor from a rich stock; other depends upon water or milk to capture the pure taste of the ingredients. Certain soups can be cooked in 30 minutes (some do not even take cooking), but others require hours of slow simmering and taste even better when they've been left to mellow in the refrigerator for several days. Here are some additional points to consider in preparing your favorite soup.

WHEN TO SERVE

  • There used to be an obligatory "soup course" in every formal meal. Today we use soup less conventionally: soup and a sandwich often constitute lunch; a really hearty soup can be the whole supper; a good soup can be the centerpiece of a meal with deliberately light dishes surrounding it.
  • When soup does preside as the first course, it is usually a clear, delicate soup to stimulate the appetite, unless the courses to follow are light and demand a rich or heavy soup at the outset.
  • The quantity of soup that a recipe produces may vary a bit each time you make it, depending upon the proportions of liquid in the ingredients and how long and briskly it has been cooked.

USING LEFTOVERS

  • Soup recipes do not have to be precise: a little more or less of the ingredients prescribed, or the addition of something new, can often be an improvement.
  • This flexibility presents the cook with thrifty way to use leftovers: the content of the refrigerator shelves may be even dictate what kind of soup to make.
  • Please note that any leftovers you used must seem agreeable with the distinctive flavors of the soup. An equal amount of experience and good judgment is required to decide both what should and what should not go into the soup or stockpot.


SEASONING SOUP

  • Most soup should be cooked in a covered pot to retain flavors and nutrients, although you may want to cover the pot only partially to reduce the soup a bit and to intensify its taste.
  • It is better to season a soup when it is nearly done because, as it simmers, it cooks down, any salt you may have put in is intensified.
  • Also, if it is a stock-based soup you are making, the salt content of the stock, particularly if it is a canned or dehydrated variety, is apt to vary greatly.
  • It is so much better to taste a soup toward the end of its cooking and let your palate be your guide.
  • Don't be timid about seasoning; it may surprise you to discover how much salt is needed to bring out the good flavor of a soup. Nothing is less appealing than a bland soup.


COLD SOUPS

  • Many soups are equally good hot or cold. You can sometimes make one soup serve as two by offering it hot one day and cold the next.
  • Soup thickens as they cool, and chilled soup may need to be thinned with extra broth or cream.
  • If the stock base is rich and meaty, it may gel when refrigerated, in which case beat well with a wire whisk.
  • Cold soups, like all cold foods, require more seasoning than hot.


BINDING AND THICKENING SOUP

  • Flour is used with certain soups to add body and as a binder to inhibit separation and curdling. One tablespoon of butter to one of flour is the right proportion for every two cups of soup.
  • Stir the flour into the melted butter and cook for about 3 minutes over low heat; then stir in a little of the hot soup, whisk well, cook until thick. Then add the remaining soup; heat and stir until smooth.
  • Some soups are thickened with eggyolks: 1 eggyolk beaten with 1 teaspoon of milk or cream to each cup of soup shortly before serving.
  • To prevent curdling, drizzle a little hot soup slowly into the eggyolks, whisking briskly, then pour into the pot of soup, reheating slowly and stirring until it thickens. Do not boil or the eggs will curdle.


SOUP GARNISHES

  • Small touches are all you need to enhance the appearance and flavor of a soup --- a sprinkling of chopped parsley, chives, dill, or other fresh herbs, for instance, or a bundle of quickly blanched vegetables such as carrots, turnips, broccoli stems, or scattering of a raw ones like scallions and mushrooms; a dusting of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, chopped eggs or nuts; a little rice or pasta for body; a hint of sherry or wine for accent; a dollop of sour cream, a slice of lemon, some chopped, cooked chicken, or a few crisp pork craps added to each bowl at the last minute --- these are all fine finishing touches and are suggested in specific recipes when they seem appropriate.

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September 20, 2017

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