You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

The guide: mastering the basics of soup


Whatever the kind, all soups follow a similar road to deliciousness: Aromatics and main ingredients go into a pot, a liquid is added and the whole thing is simmered until done. While a good soup recipe is a great thing, their similar paths mean you don’t actually need one.

— Before You Start

Think about the bowl of soup you want to sit down to. Is it a brothy chicken noodle? A chunky minestrone, or a puréed butternut squash?

With that image in mind, build a foundation using cooking fat, an aromatic base and seasonings. First, consider the cuisine that inspires the dish, and choose a fat based on that. For example, use butter for a French soup, olive oil for an Italian one, and coconut or peanut oil for Thai flavors.

Next, do the same to select among the aromatic bases, built on chopped vegetables: Will your soup call for a classic French mirepoix, an Italian soffritto, or Southeast Asian shallots and ginger? If commitment scares you, keep things simple by cooking onions and garlic in a neutral-tasting oil.

Then, pick your seasonings, whether bay leaves and peppercorns, or a spicy curry paste. Just remember: Less is more. Stick to three or fewer seasonings to keep from muddying the soup’s flavors.

— Building Flavors

Cook the aromatic base and seasonings in the fat you have chosen. Once the vegetables are tender, add stock or broth. No single element wields as much influence on a soup’s taste as its liquid. You will want about a cup of liquid per serving — a little more for a brothy soup, a little less for a hearty one.

If you’re after clean, light flavors, or if you don’t have any stock on hand, use water. It’s never a bad choice, but sometimes stock is a better one, especially if your goal is a hearty, savory soup. Avoid canned and boxed stocks, and instead make and freeze stock, or buy good-quality fresh or frozen stock from a butcher. It will make all the difference.

After building layer upon layer of flavor, there is the payoff of adding the ingredients — heaps of meat, grains, beans or vegetables — that first inspired you to make soup. When you can, add them to the pot raw so they can release flavor into the soup, and absorb flavor from it.

— Finishing Up

As the soup simmers, taste and adjust the seasonings, and stir often to prevent sticking and burning. You will know the soup is done when all of the ingredients are tender and the flavors come together, about 25 minutes for tender vegetables and up to three hours for tough meats like pork shoulder. If you’re planning on making a puréed soup, use a hand blender in the final stages of cooking to get it to the desired consistency.

Serve your soup topped with any number of garnishes — a dollop of sour cream or yogurt, some croutons and a drizzle of good olive oil. Or, make a large batch, and freeze the leftovers for up to two months. You will thank yourself for your earlier generosity and foresight.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Austin360 Eats

Alton Brown agrees with us about the best breakfast taco in Austin (or anywhere)
Alton Brown agrees with us about the best breakfast taco in Austin (or anywhere)

This is Maritza Vazquez’ food trailer called Veracruz All-Natural Tacos located in east Austin at 1704 E.
Jmblya with Chance the Rapper, Gucci Mane and Migos releases schedule; Limited tickets available
Jmblya with Chance the Rapper, Gucci Mane and Migos releases schedule; Limited tickets available

Chance The Rapper performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015.
Will 10th annual Farm to Plate push Sustainable Food Center over $1M mark?
Will 10th annual Farm to Plate push Sustainable Food Center over $1M mark?

The Sustainable Food Center, which runs four area farmers markets, as well as food education, cooking classes and gardening programs, hosts an annual fundraiser called Farm to Plate that is coming up on May 10.
Wittliff Collections to open Sandra Cisneros archive April 29-30
Wittliff Collections to open Sandra Cisneros archive April 29-30

Sandra Cisneros, the author of House on Mango Street, and the recent recipient of the National Medal of Arts from President Obama and the PEN Literary award poses at the Alkek Library on the campus of Texas State University.
6 in-town getaways to make Mom’s day
6 in-town getaways to make Mom’s day

If vacant weekends and days surrounding Mother’s Day are hard to come by, why not treat your favorite mom to a rejuvenating getaway in her own backyard? Austin teems with staycation experiences that prove not going anywhere can be the best escape of all. We’ve got six local options where Mom can relax, get pampered, plunge into the pool...
More Stories