Cooking Challenge: Mastering Soup
This week we are focusing on soups.
Soups are one of the most basic and oldest meals. There is evidence of humans eating soups since 20,000 BC. The basic idea of soup is to boil a liquid, usually water or a stock, with various meat, vegetables and spices.
Learning how to cook soup is one of the most useful skills you can have, as soups can be an extremely healthy and economical meals.
All soups have a few basic characteristics that separate themselves:
- Type of liquid (Is the soup made up of water, meat or vegetable stock, or a juice like tomato juice. This sometimes also describes the thickness of the soup)
- Main ingredient (What type of main ingredient is included, usually chunks of meat, vegetable or seafood)
- Spices (What spices are added as the soup is cooking)
- Other garnishes (Some soups are topped with foodstuffs like chopped nuts, parsley or fruit)
The key to a good soup is flavour. Layering flavour to be exact.
- Flavour is not just the herbs and spices you use, it also includes the meat, vegetables, grains, etc.
- The ways you cook the parts of a soup also injects flavour. Do you sauté or sear any meat or vegetables along the way? That brings in completely different flavours.
- There are usually 2-3 layers of flavour, injected at the beginning, middle and end.
Soups in general are a very flexible and versatile food. They can be a main course, side dish or even a dessert. Because of the sheer number of possibilities, we have provided some helpful links to learn more about mastering soup making.