Soups

Soups

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

Originally, soup was basic sustenance – a pot of warming nourishment that brought the family together. Soup was a meal in itself: with a generous chunk of bread and a warm hearth to enjoy it by, it revived many a flagging body and spirit. These hearty soups are still with us: chowder, Scotch broth, minestrone, bouillabaisse, pea and ham bone, and many more, the recipes unchanged by time.

More sophisticated concepts of dining have altered the role of soup. Restaurant chefs have created lighter and more delicate soups for their customers; fond mothers have created soups to nourish a sick and ailing child or more robust ones for the family; home cooks have sought soups to star at a dinner party. Whether you want to make a soup that is a meal in itself, a first course for a family meal, a luxury one for a dinner party, or a chilled soup to tempt jaded appetites on a hot summer’s day, you will be able to find a recipe, for there is a soup for almost any occasion.

Although soup does not necessarily need to be made from stock, and very few households these days have a stock pot simmering on the stove all day, it is good to have stock either in the refrigerator or the freezer ready to turn into soup with freshly cooked vegetables. See Stock for stocks used in soup-making.

Stock cubes can be used but they tend to be salty and give a ‘sameness’ to soups. Liquid packaged stocks now available are useful.

Tinned consommé is quite expensive, whereas home-made stock is usually made from ingredients which are very cheap or would otherwise be discarded, and a home-made stock, when made correctly, is nutritious in itself. Tinned consommé does have its place, though. When time is short, it is a comforting thought to go to the cupboard and make a lovely soup with this as a base. A touch of sherry, a few herbs, a handful of diced or julienne (matchstick) vegetables, and you have a delicious soup.

Soups can be divided into several categories – consommés and clear soups; cream soups, usually made with softened vegetables as the base; fish soups; nutritious pulse soups made from dried beans, peas or lentils; quickly made soups that take only minutes to prepare; hearty soups, which are often served as a complete meal; and chilled soups, refreshing to serve on a hot summer’s day.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

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