Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Soup's on!

The time changed this weekend. Fall back. It's only one hour, but now I drive home from work in the dark. Not only are days shorter, they are colder, too. There is a chill in the air that signifies the coming of winter. This is the time of year when I pull out the soup pot and soups become a dining table staple for the next few months.

So, I wanted to share some soup-making secrets. Well, they aren't exactly secrets, but they are tips to help you make some delicious, seasonal, and filling dinners.

Start with a Mirepoix, pronounced mirh-pwah. It's usually a mixture of carrots, onions, and celery - finely diced, and used as an aromatic seasoning base. But I use whatever I have in the fridge. It might be leeks and carrots one night. Fennel, onion, and carrots another night. Make the mirepoix sweat! Before you add any liquids to the pot, cook the mirepoix at a low heat until it begins to soften but not brown. It softens their texture and blends their flavors. Mirpoix au gras includes fat, maybe chopped bacon or pancetta. Bacon makes everything better, right?!

Flavorful Fluids are also key. Since soups are a majority liquid, make sure you're using something that tastes delicious! Use homemade stock, if you can. If not, many butchers and delis sell stock or bone broth. If you must purchase broth at the store, try to buy it in tetras versus cans; you can avoid the metallic taste that way.

Mix it up! While soups gain depth of flavor through long simmering, hit them with something fresh to shake up the tastebuds. I usually sprinkle in handfuls of fresh herbs - or even the green off my carrot bunch. A splash of fresh citrus juice brightens up the pot. Or a dollop of fresh sour cream can turn a soup from satisfying to sublime.

Some of my favorite soups...

What are your favorite soups for the season?

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