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SOUPS & STEWS: A PRIMER
ADVANTAGES OF SOUPS AND STEWS
Add variety to the menu.
Easy to make.
Great for make-ahead meals. Most soups and stews improve when reheated; the exception is seafood.
No-fuss meal-all in one pot.
Easy serving and easy cleanup (one bowl).
Satisfying and wholesome—soothes the appetite.
Minimum special equipment needed.
Economical (depending on ingredients).
Little attention required while cooking.
Flexible—ingredients can vary with availability and cook's preference.
A fun way to entertain for a casual, informal party or a nutritious family meal.
Can play a role in weight watching.
Slow cooking builds flavor.
Canned products such as tomatoes, broth, and beans can be used for convenience.
Frozen vegetables can be used.
BEAT: To mix vigorously with a spoon or mixer.
BÉCHAMEL: A white sauce made by stirring milk into a butter-flour roux.
BISQUE: A rich, thick soup usually consisting of seafood (sometimes poultry and vegetables) and cream.
BLANCH: To partially cook very briefly in boiling water.
BOUILLON: A broth made by cooking vegetables, meats, poultry, or fish in water. Available canned (concentrated) and in cubes (dehydrated).
BOUQUET CARNI: A bundle of herbs and spices in a metal tea ball, spice ball, or tied in a cheesecloth sack to flavor soups and sauces. Remove beforeserving.
CAYENNE: A hot, pungent powder made from tropical chiles, also called red pepper.
CELERIAC: The root of a special type of celery, also called celery root.
CHIFFONADE: To cut leafy herbs and vegetables into thin strips.
CHOP: To cut into small, irregular pieces.
CHOWDER: A thick, chunky seafood or vegetable soup, as in clam chowder; usually includes potatoes.
CLARIFY: To clear a cloudy liquid by removing sediment (see page 32).
CONSOMMÉ: Clarified stock, often sold in condensed form.
CRÈME FRAÎCHE: A thickened cream with a nutty flavor and velvety rich texture (see page 27).
CROUTONS: Bread cubes lightly browned in oil or melted butter and sautéed or baked, used to garnish soups and salads. Toasted baguette slices are also referred to as croutons.
CUBE: To cut into 1/2-inch or larger cubes.
DEVEIN: To remove the intestine from the curved back of a shrimp.
DICE: To cut into tiny cubes smaller than 1/2 inch.
FILÉ: A powder used to thicken and flavor gumbos and Creole dishes. Made from sassafras leaves.
FLAKE: To separate cooked fish and other foods into sections with a fork.
FLAMEPROOF: A pan such as a Dutch oven that can withstand stovetop, broiler, and oven temperatures.
FLORET: The tender blooms or crown of broccoli or cauliflower.
GARNISH: An edible accompaniment to finish dishes and add eye appeal and flavor.
GRATE: To cut into thin strips using a hand grater or food processor fitted with a grating blade.
CREMOLATA: A garnish made of minced parsley, lemon peel, and garlic. Sometimes crumbs are added (see page 43).
JULIENNE: To cut into matchstick-sized strips.
LEEK: A vegetable that is related to both garlic and onion, though its flavor and fragrance are milder and more subtle.
MINCE: To cut into very fine pieces, as in minced garlic.
MIREPOIX: A mixture of diced carrots, celery, and herbs sautéed in butter. Bacon or ham is sometimes added. Used to season soups and sauces or as a bed to braise food.
PANCETTA: Italian bacon that is cured with salt and spices, not smoked.
PARE: To remove an outer covering, such as potato or apple skin, with a knife.
PEEL: To strip off an outer covering, such as banana or orange skin, by hand.
PESTO: A sauce or paste made from uncooked basil (or other ingredients), olive oil, nuts, garlic, and Parmesan cheese (see page 41).
PREHEAT: To heat the oven to the temperature specified in a recipe.
PURÉE: To reduce food to a smooth, thick consistency with a food processor, blender, or food mill.
ROUILLE: A garnish for fish soups and stews made of chiles, garlic, and oil (see page 44).
ROUX: A mixture of flour and fat cooked over low heat. Used to thicken soups and sauces.
RUSSET: A potato low in moisture and high in starch that is good for cooking. Also called Idaho potato.
SAUTÉ: To cook food in a small amount of fat on top of the stove for a short period of time, stirring often.
SHALLOT: A large, garlic-shaped member of the onion family with a mild onion flavor. Less pungent than garlic.
SKIN: To remove skin from poultry or fish.
SLICE: To cut into flat pieces.
STIR: To mix ingredients in a circular motion.
VELOUTÉ SAUCE: A stock-based white sauce thickened with a roux.
WHISK: To stir ingredients together with a wire whip to blend.
ZEST: The outermost skin layer of citrus fruits (usually lemons or oranges), which is removed with the aid of a citrus zester, paring knife, or vegetable peeler.
COOKING TIPS FOR MAKING AND SERVING
SOUPS & STEWS
Read the recipe carefully. Shop for all needed ingredients.
Assemble all ingredients and equipment before starting.
Do the preparation work (chopping, grating, opening cans, and so on) ahead of time.
Simmer soups and stews over medium-low or low heat, depending on the stove. Do not boil, just keep them at a gentle ripple. Gas stoves are hotter and faster than electric ones.
Add vegetables that require a short cooking time (mushrooms, green beans, summer squash, spinach, and so on) at the end of the cooking period to prevent overcooking.
Add fresh herbs at the end of the cooking time. They lose their flavor and intensity when cooked for a long period of time. Most recipes call for dried herbs or a combination of fresh and dried. Crush dried herbs between your fingers to release flavor.
Use sea salt or kosher salt for more intense flavor (see page 26).
Rinse frozen vegetables under hot water before measuring.
Chop whole canned tomatoes in the can with stainless steel scissors.
Trim excess skin and fat from chicken with stainless steel kitchen scissors.
Use a food processor to chop vegetables if uniform pieces for visual purposes are not required. Cut vegetables in large, uniform pieces before placing them in the food processor.
Use a food processor or blender to make purées to thicken some soups. Purée 1 cup vegetables with a small amount of broth, then blend with the remaining soup in the pan.
Thicken stews by adding a paste of flour, cornstarch, or arrowroot blended with water to the liquid. Grains, legumes, and tapioca are also used to thicken soups and stews.
Use a chilled stainless steel bowl to make cold soups.
Serve hot soups in warmed bowls and cold soups in chilled bowls. (To warm bowls, place in a warm oven for 30 minutes, or pour hot water into the bowls and let them stand for 10 minutes. To chill bowls, place in the freezer for 1 hour.)
Soups can be served in tureens; large, interesting heatproof bowls; or, for a special occasion, a hollowed-out pumpkin or a hollowed-out round loaf of peasant bread. To prepare a loaf of bread to use as a container for soup, slice off the top quarter. Hollow out the loaf, leaving about 3/4 inch around the edge, being careful not to cut through the bottom. Brush the insides and top with vegetable or olive oil. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Ladle the soup into the bread container and serve immediately. Individual loaves can also be used.
Store soups and stews, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 or 4 days. (Fish soups do not store well.) Leave the fat layer that accumulates on top until ready to serve (it seals the soup), or freeze in tightly covered containers for 1 to 2 months.
Reheat soups or stews that have been made ahead over low heat, stirring constantly and adding more liquid if necessary. If using a microwave oven, watch carefully and do not overcook.
Large stockpot for making stock. The high sides help the stock circulate for even cooking and reduce evaporation.
Large, stainless steel (nonreactive) or enamel-lined soup pot, with a heavy bottom. Do not use aluminum or iron because tomato products react to these materials.
Dutch oven. A large, heavy, flameproof pot with a lid, made of cast iron, enamel-lined cast iron, or stainless steel. It retains heat and can be used for browning, sautéing, stewing, braising, or baking. Perfect for making stews and soups.
Skimmer. A stainless steel tool with a fine mesh used to skim off foam that rises to the top.
Three or four good knives. A stainless steel chef's knife for chopping, a utility or boning knife, a paring knife, and a serrated knife for slicing bread.
Food processor or blender for chopping and puréeing. For a velvety-smooth, puréed soup, the blender does the best job. Blend in batches (not more than one third full, with lid on).
A stick (hand) blender is convenient to use, with less cleanup, but is not as efficient.
Food mill. Used to strain fiber, seeds, and skin, and to mash and purée. Comes with interchangeable disks. To purée in a food mill, use the fine disk. Convenient but not essential.
Measuring cups and spoons, whisk, vegetable peeler, wooden spoon or heavy-duty plastic spoon, spatula, slotted spoon, tongs, and timer.
Stainless steel mesh sieve and colander for draining, or chinois (conical French sieve with an extremely fine mesh) for straining.
Kitchen scale. Convenient when a recipe calls for an ingredient by weight.
Cheesecloth for straining stocks or to make a bouquet garni.
Spice holder or tea caddy for holding spices.
Soup bowls, soup spoons, and a ladle. Deep bowls keep soup hotter, but wide bowls are more suitable for hearty soups and stews. Mugs work for sipping thin soups. Ovenproof ramekins for baked soups.
Soup tureen for elegant serving.
A crockpot or pressure cooker can also be used in making stews and soups. Follow the manufacturer's directions.
|SOUPS & STEWS: A PRIMER||13|
|TECHNIQUES & HELPFUL HINTS||22|
|BASIC STOCKS & BROTHS||30|
|FINISHING TOUCHES: TOPPINGS & GARNISHES||39|
|MEAT SOUPS & STEWS||67|
|POULTRY SOUPS & STEWS||133|
|SEAFOOD SOUPS & STEWS||179|
|VEGETABLE SOUPS & STEWS||211|
|LEGUME SOUPS & STEWS||249|
|TABLE OF EQUIVALENTS||334|
Posted May 4, 2009
This cookbook contains practical recipies for the every day cook looking to expand his or her horizons to a wide variety of soups and stews. The instructions are easy to follow, and the recipes call for ingredients found right in your cupboard or at your local grocery store. The soups and stews will appeal to most anyone, including children, families, and guests. This is a book very easy to pick up on a Sunday morning to locate a recipe to make that afternoon. The recipies are also very adaptable to including other ingredients or substitutions, if you want to be creative.
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Posted December 20, 2009
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Posted March 10, 2009
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