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Whole Gourmet Natural Cooking

Alison Anton's Natural Cooking Blog offers healthy recipes, inspirational food articles and culinary advice for the natural chef, and features dessert recipes from her upcoming cookbook, Desserts for Every Body.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Soups of the Season

Whether they’re called potages, broths, chowders, gumbos or consommés, there’s something about a good pot of homemade soup that just plain feels good... Especially during the cool autumn months when people start to come indoors to warm up.

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The best soups start with a good base. Most of the time, I use chicken stock because it noticeably enriches the undertones of the soup without dramatically altering the flavor. For most soups, the stock isn’t the target flavor. The function of the stock is the “behind the scenes” taste to enhance the soup's highlight: the beans, veggies, meats and spices.

Making your own soup stock is the best way to go, since you're in control of the final flavor, spicing and saltiness. But don’t kick yourself if you don't have the time or energy to make your own. I find organic pre-made chicken stocks to be just as good. I do like to make my own vegetable stocks. The pre-made varieties are too starchy for my taste; I like a thinner, brothier stock.

Stock Recipes:
Vegetable Stock
Chicken Stock

Soup Recipes:
Lentil and Sausage Soup with Spinach
A warming autumn or winter soup with hints of cumin and coriander. The addition of tahini makes a rich and creamy cup...

Kabocha Squash Soup with Roasted Red Pepper Puree
Red and orange colors pop out of the bowl to brighten any autumn potluck or family meal. Taste and presentation A+...

Salvaging Your Soup

What do you do when your homemade soup just isn't right? Here's some tips to save that soup:

Not Enough Flavor: It's amazing what the right amount of salt can do. What was once bland and lifeless is now a symphony to the senses. Go slow, adding 1/4 teaspoon at a time until the flavors of the soup start to pop out in your mouth.

Too Salty: Once you have it right, don't add more salt! Salting can be dangerous - what was once a symphony to the senses is now a feast for the garbage disposal. The only way to salvage a too-salty soup is to add stock or cream until the saltiness dissolves.

Too Bitter: Add 1-2 teaspoons sugar, maple syrup or agave nectar. If it's still too bitter, add 1/4 teaspoon at a time until the bitterness balances out. Milk or cream also balances bitter flavors.

Too Boring: Add 1-2 teaspoons vinegar, cider or lemon juice to give it some kick. Yogurt also gives bland soups some life. Whole milk or cream adds richness. You can also try adding more herbs and spices, 1/4 teaspoon at a time. Let it sit 5-10 minutes before going overboard - the flavors take time to develop.


At 7:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both soup recipes sound great! I have a well-known love affair with beans and legumes (especially this time of the year when fresh produce is minimal) and am always looking for new flavors to incorporate. Thanks for the recipes.


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