Soup 101 and How to Boil an Egg
Things all cooks should know
-Irena Chalmers, foodjobsbook.com
“Clear” soup is simply a flavored liquid, made by simmering one or many ingredients in a broth. Chicken broth, beef consommé and won ton soup are all examples of clear soups.
You can combine two liquids – say red wine to beef broth or white wine and chicken stock – and get an even richer flavor. With this marvelous-tasting base, you can add one, two, or many more ingredients to give the soup a greater variety of tastes and textures.
If you add some cooked pasta (or beans or rice) to the broth mix, the soup will gain another dimension. A touch of lemon juice will heighten the flavor and a garnish of finely chopped chives (or parsley) completes a simple masterpiece.
Chicken broth can be built into a more substantial soup by adding pieces of chicken and a little rice. If you think you might still be hungry, throw in a handful of onions, celery, carrots, peas, asparagus, diced tomatoes, chopped spinach and fresh or dried herbs. When the soup is ready, each ingredient should retain its own form and be clearly identifiable.
“Thick” soup is just a clear soup that has been thickened by the addition of a starch in the form of flour, cornstarch, potatoes, rice or beans. Or soup can be thickened by puréeing it in a blender or food processor. Soups are sometimes also thickened and enriched with egg yolks and cream. And finally, soup will also become thicker if it is boiled to reduce the quantity of liquid.
See how easy it is to make soup without a recipe? Start with a liquid; add whatever ingredients you anticipate will taste good together. Serve hot or cold. Clear or thickened. Just remember onions, carrots and celery take longer to cook than peas and leafy greens.
How to boil an egg
Remember when you thought you couldn’t boil an egg? Then one day you discovered it wasn’t difficult at all. All you had to do was to put the egg into a pan of water and cook it for five minutes.
Now that you can boil an egg, you can make a whole range of dishes! After all, it’s just as easy to poach an egg, as it is to boil it. You just break the shell and add a pinch of salt to the water. If you substitute fresh fish or boneless chicken breast for the egg, the only thing you need add is five more minutes of cooking. Poached chicken or fish are just variations of a boiled egg. You can build on flavors by changing the liquid. Instead of water poach in chicken or vegetable stock. There are many great tasting kinds in the supermarket. Build on the flavor of the stock by adding a little cut up onions, garlic or a pinch of your favorite dried herbs.