Sunday, July 11, 2010

Building Soup

Soup Building

The Three Opportunities: You can dictate the character of your soup by how you decide to start cooking it.

1. Bold and sturdy flavors come from starting the soup by fast-browning the onions and some of the vegetables in good tasting fat over medium-high heat.

2. Mellow flavors are achieved with slow-stewing onions and key ingredients, like herbs, in a little fat in a covered pot over low heat.

3. Clear, true flavors come from simmering everything in liquid with no pre-saut├ęs.

A Basic Formula:

•2 parts onion
•1/2 part garlic
•2 parts members of cabbage family (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.)
•1/2 part carrot
•1/4 part celery with leaves
•1/2 part root vegetables (celery root, rutabaga, turnips, etc.)
•1 part leafy vegetables (salad greens, chard, kale, turnip greens, mizuna, dandelion, escarole, endive, collards, etc.)
•1 part dry white or red wine
•Water as needed

Note: Wine is a powerful flavor booster because alcohol opens up flavors that neither fats nor water release. Also, red wine is high in umami, a chemical component of some foods which heightens flavors. So be generous with the wine. Use white wine in pale soups, red in dark ones, and anticipate 1/2 cup for every eight cups of liquid.

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