Soup...As Easy as 1-2-3
Recipe for Category Soups & Stews
Contributed by Jennifer Peachey
As the weather cools and the days shorten the choice of meals often changes as well. Our comfort foods turn from fresh cucumber salads or tomato sandwiches to stews and soups. It is the time of year when we use the many root vegetables of the season, stored grains and dried beans. These physically warming entrees can provide nutritious, easy to prepare meals.
Soups come in many forms: clear broths, pureed or creamed soups, bisques, chowders, vegetable, legume or meat based. Stews are generally chunky and often, though not always, contain meat and vegetables. The spices or herbs in soups and stews are vital to their flavour. Accompaniments, like fresh herbs, cheese, sour cream, yogurt and croutons also add to the soup/stew. A fresh salad and warm bread can complete these simple meals.
Although there are ample soup and stew recipes in books, magazines and on the Internet, creating your own is as easy as 1-2-3.
Choose a base such as homemade stock, miso, or water.
Add your choice of herbs and spices to the broth.
Add your choice of vegetables, meat and/or grains (leftovers are ideal!)
Fresh vegetables should be added in order of required cooking times. Hard carrot slices, for instance, will take longer to cook than small broccoli florets. Sautéing onions, garlic or ginger before adding stock will enhance the flavour of these vegetables. Leftover, precooked vegetables should be added just before serving. Tofu, beans, lentils, barley, rice, pasta and other grains are best made ahead of time, or separately, and added at the end of cooking. This ensures that they will not be over-cooked or soak up too much of the broth.
The easiest way to make a cream soup, without adding cream, is to add cauliflower to the stock. Once the vegetables are cooked in the stock, puree the soup (usually in batches in a blender). The cauliflower will give the soup a “creamy” texture. Potatoes create a creamy texture as well.
Whether you’re using up all the little containers of leftovers in the refrigerator, or starting from scratch, remember there are only three steps to creating a new and tasty soup or stew. You are limited by your imagination only. Have fun, be daring and enjoy the tastes of your creations!