Soup is the ultimate comfort food; especially on a cold or hectic day, there is nothing more soothing and relaxing than hot soup.
Soup recipes were always considered something for poor people. Just a few ingredients could make a satisfying, tasty and nutritious meal. It is also food and beverage in one.
Today, the poor-men-food label doesn’t apply to soups anymore.
As broth, bouillon, bisque or consommé, it is served in the best restaurants around the globe. There are many eateries exclusively serving soups, and due to an endless supply of soup recipes, they will never run out of ideas.
Every cuisine, culture or region has their traditional soup recipes.
Often the dishes will combine local and seasonal produces. Coastal areas always incorporate fish or shellfish. Forest landscapes will include herbs.
An Italian soup recipe includes pasta and tomatoes, a Chinese one may come with noodles and duck, and in India, it might be rice, vegetables, and spices.
The foundation for all of these soup recipes is the right choice of stock.
If the stock is not good enough, no quality ingredient will manage to save the dish. In contrast, a superb stock can mask the average vegetable or meat and still make a good meal.
If you have enough time, always prepare your own stock.It is easy, albeit a bit time-consuming.Stocks are made by simmering bones, meat, vegetables, seafood, herbs, and spices in water. It can be done within sixty minutes or might take several hours.
When vegetables or herbs are required, it is ok to use the parts you otherwise discard. For example, the peel and ends of a carrot (or parsnip), the skin of onions, the green bits of leek, stalks of parsley or coriander, or both ends of celery are perfect for using them to flavor your stock instead of throwing them away.
The same applies to meat. You can use the carcass of a roast chicken to make a delicious stock.
Always make more than you need and freeze leftovers.
Different soup recipes call for different stocks.
It can be vegetarian, chicken, beef, veal or fish/shellfish.
Roasting bones, meat or vegetables before adding the water will intensify the aroma and give you a darker stock color.
When making stock or soup with meat or legumes, some protein will come to the surface as foamy scum. Always skim it off because otherwise it will cloud the liquid and might spoil the taste.
For a spontaneous soup or if you are short on time, you can use commercially available stock products as well. For best results buy the highest quality, you can afford.
What finally goes into the soup depends on your taste and the content of your fridge or pantry. With most of those one-pot-wonders, you just add the ingredients according to their cooking time. A chopped carrot will take longer to cook than green peas, so it needs to go in first.
Each soup recipe will give you clear instructions.
There is nothing stopping you from enjoying some of the best soups whenever you want them.