Four little tricks for making delicious soups

2019-01-22

Soup is an old friend! Comforting, colourful and trendy, soup comes in a thousand colours. Easy to make, healthy and delicious, creamed soups are the latest thing.
They’re also a good way of making sure you eat enough vegetables.
 
, So here are four little tricks for making tasty creamed soups that are a real treat, and never boring, to be enjoyed on any occasion.
 
How can you get the right consistency? What’s the best way to cook soup to make sure it’s bursting with flavour? What are the little tricks that make all the difference? And, finally, what goes well with soup?
 
The good news is that you can do it all on a SapienStone countertop: cut vegetables on it, rest hot pans or greasy foods on it, even eat right off it without any worries, for your surface will remain impeccable.
 
1. Getting a smooth consistency
 

If you want a soup with a smooth, velvety consistency, you will of course need a blender (either classic or immersion style), but there are two other things you must take into account, depending on the consistency you’re aiming for: the amount of water and the ingredients you use as thickeners.
 

  1. Amount of liquid

 
Soup must be smooth but not too watery, so you need to measure the amount of liquid correctly. But rather that performing complicated calculations before you cook the soup, I suggest you adjust the amount of liquid when you blend it: set aside half of the cooking liquid, start blending the soup, and then add the extra cooking liquid a bit at a time as required to obtain the desired consistency. Never fails!
 
b. Magic thickening ingredients
 
Apart from the amount of water, a number of ingredients play an essential role in giving soup a smooth consistency.
 
Here are the three main categories of thickeners:
 
Potato: add a small amount of potato when you start cooking the soup. A starchy ingredient, potato gives soup a smoother consistency without affecting its lightness.
 
Cream and cheese: add a little cream (you can use coconut or soy cream in place of dairy) or fresh cheese after cooking (remember to reduce the amount of liquid in the soup, as these ingredients contain water). To thicken soup, add a grated aged cheese such as pecorino or parmesan.
 
Legumes: we tend to neglect legumes, but chickpeas, lentils and beans, especially white beans, help make soup dense and creamy. Simply add cooked legumes to the soup after cooking and then blend.
You may need more water, as legumes tend to absorb liquids. But you can still use the method described above (removing some of the cooking liquid and then gradually adding it back) to adjust the thickness of your soup.

2. Cooking, flavour

a. Sautéing
The first trick for adding extra flavour to soup is not to simply boil vegetables, but sauté them in a little oil with onion, garlic or shallot, depending on the vegetables you use and your taste. Then add water (about the same amount as usual).
 
b. Roasting
It may sound odd, but try making soup with vegetables such as cauliflower or mushrooms that have been oven-roasted to enhance their flavour! Simply blend the roasted vegetables with a little broth and add salt and pepper to taste
 
c. No more than two
Don’t mix too many different vegetables together (I personally prefer to use only one or two) so that the flavour of each vegetable will be apparent…
 
d. Don’t forget fruit!
It may sound strange, but some kinds of fruit, such as citrus fruit, apples or pears, go well with vegetables and can add a sweet or sour note to your soup.
You can also add lemon or orange rind to the broth you use to make soups such as carrot and pumpkin.

3. The little things that make all the difference

a. What a heavenly scent!
 
Add fragrance to your soup while cooking or at the time of serving with sage, bay leaf, parsley, basil, rosemary, coriander or chives … The right herb can add a new dimension to any vegetable.
 
b. Spices
 
Want an exotic or tropical soup? Add ground spices such as ginger, curry, cumin, coriander.
 
c. A little crunch
 
Add a crunchy touch of flavour to smooth, sweet soups.
 
Simply add seeds (sunflower, pumpkin…) or nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, cashews…) right before serving for a soup that looks pretty and has added flavour and consistency, while maintaining all its delicacy.
 
To add a contrasting note of flavour, serve your creamed soup with parmesan chips. To make them, simply put several tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese on an oven dish lined with oven-proof paper, flatten into disc shapes and bake at 180°C for 7-8 minutes. Or make chips of ham, bacon or other cured meats… by cooking thin slices in a frying pan for only a few minutes, just long enough to dry them out a bit’.

4. Five seasonal combinations that really work
 
Pumpkin or squash goes with: orange, curry or sautéed porcini mushrooms with sage
 
Carrot goes with: red lentils and ginger
 
Cauliflower goes with: shrimp, smoked salmon, olives or parmesan cheese
 
Romanesco broccoli: spinach and gorgonzola
 
Potato: apple or pear, leek, goat’s milk cheese aged in ash, sage or rosemary
 
 
Edda Onorato - Un déjeuner de soleil
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