Fannie Farmer says, “It cannot be denied that the French excel all nations in the excellence of their cuisine, and to their soups and sauces belong the greatest praise. It would be well to follow their example, and it is the duty of every housekeeper to learn the art of soup making. How may a hearty dinner be better begun than with a thin soup? The hot liquid, taken into an empty stomach, is easily assimilated, acts as a stimulant rather than as a nutrient (as is the popular opinion), and prepares the way for the meal which is to follow. The cream soups and purees are so nutritious that, with bread and butter, they furnish a satisfactory meal.” (Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking-School Cook Book Original 1896, Dover Books publisher.)
Before we can learn how to make a soup we need to learn about stocks. Here are nine tips for wonderfully tasting stocks.
- Tough cuts of meat are the best.
- Uncooked bones are more flavorful then cooked.
- Use fresh vegetables, not old veggies that could be bitter.
- If you are simmering for a long time cut your meat and vegetables in large pieces. If you are simmering for a short time cut into small pieces.
- Your pot should be taller then it is wide with extra space at the top once all ingredients are in. The ingredients need to be constantly submerged. Add water when needed.
- Skim the top layer frequently to avoid a cloudy stock.
- After your pot has come to a boil reduce the heat to a low simmer, nothing more.
- Season mildly, the flavors will concentrate and intensify the longer it simmers.
- When you are finished simmering strain the stock, place it in an ice bath to cool quickly, place in the refrigerator overnight. The next day remove the layer of fat on the top of the stock. Freeze in 1 cup portions, label and date.