Here in the northeast, it is warm soup time, and with the abundance of autumn vegetables, sweet squash and tree fruits, the possibilities for exciting recipes ignite the imagination. The essential ingredients for making great soup may vary from culture to culture, but they each work magic in very simple ways. Slow cooking yields the best results, while soup pots, as well as quality ingredients, can make the difference between a great or a mediocre soup.
1. Soup Pots
- Use a heavy saucepan, or soup pot (enamel on iron), that allows for long, slow cooking.
- A crock pot is great when you are busy, plus you can arrive home to the delicious aromas.
- A pressure cooker allows for quick cooking of beans, lentils and root vegetables, while preserving flavor.
2. Soup Stock Base
- Vegetable stock can be made by simmering chopped vegetables and herbs in water, then straining.
- Store-bought vegetable broth can taste overly strong and contain high amounts of salt, so use less and add more water.
- Vegetable bouillon cubes vary in quality, and the oil used can go rancid over time. Choose wisely.
- A shiitake-kombu dashi is the simple broth used as a base for miso and other Japanese soup recipes.
3. Vegetables and More
- Long-cooking sweet vegetables: winter squash, carrot, parsnip, turnip, sweet (and white) potatoes.
- A mixture of sweet vegetables and bitter greens: kale, collards, chard, dandelion, turnip.
- Pungent vegetables to round out and deepen the flavor: onion, garlic, ginger, leek, shallot.
- Beans, lentils, tempeh and tofu for added protein.
- Tart and sweet apples or pears combine well with winter squash soups.
- Aromatic herbs to enhance and accentuate the flavors: basil, parsley, sage, tarragon, cumin, oregano, thyme, rosemary.
Read more ways to improve your vegetable soups here.
-- By Delia Quigley, Care2.com