Seasoning: Soups and Stews
When making soup, it is easy to fall into the habit of opening a can and heating it up. And while this might do in a pinch, there is nothing quite like homemade stock and fresh ingredients. Making soup or stew from scratch will definitely require more time but the results will be worth it.
Start with the freshest ingredients possible. If you’re preparing a large pot of soup or stew, this means you will use fresh vegetables and herbs if at all possible. If you must use frozen or canned vegetables be aware that they may contain salt so you will want to taste the base before adding salt.
If possible, make savory stew and soup a day or two prior to serving them. This will give the ingredients a chance to “marry” and the seasonings to meld together. Be sure to test the soup or stew prior to serving it to see if additional salt or other seasonings are needed.
What do you do if you’ve accidentally over-salted your soup? If it isn’t too salty, you can place a whole, peeled potato into the soup and allow it to simmer for about 15 minutes. This will help remove the excess salt. When it is time to serve, remove the potato and set it aside for use later.
If you prefer a bold or intense flavor in your stew or soup, wait until nearer to the end of the cooking process to add them. Adding herbs too early in the cooking process will cause the flavor to be much milder.
The following list provides herbs that you may not use often but that can add wonderful flavor when seasoning soups and stews:
* Cardamom is great in Middle Eastern foods.
* Coriander is also used in Middle Eastern dishes and in Chinese foods.
* Rosemary, basil, oregano, paprika and garlic powder are terrific additions to stew
* Wine can be used to add flavor to some stew and soup recipes. Wine would be added at a ratio of 1/4 cup of wine to each quart of soup stock. You will also want to remember to reduce the amount of salt you use in the stock as the wine will intensify the saltiness of the meal.