The Perfect Soup

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It’s soup season, but do you know how to make hearty and delicious soup? We show you how

The cold season is here, and what better way to offset its effects than by tucking in with some delicious soup? Have your loved ones slurping away with these tips.

Have A Great Foundation

The secret to making good soup is using a good balance of fresh produce. Whether it’s carrots or celery or any other vegetable, they have to be fresh. Buy them in season because this is the time when they are in peak flavour and nutrition (and cheap, too). Fresh vegetables possess vibrant colours, are free of blemishes and feel heavy for their size. Also, know your seasons to make grocery shopping easier. The best places for fresh produce are usually farmer’s markets. They normally sell vegetables (that have travelled short distances) straight from the farm.

If the Stock Is Good, The Soup Will Be Good

Good, delicious stock will make for good, delicious soup. Purists swear by homemade stock and here’s why: you can control what goes in it, especially important if you want it healthy as store-bought stock contains additives such as sodium and preservatives. Plus, it is a great technique of reducing food wastage. Instead of looking at chicken or meat bones as waste, they can be boiled to get stock that will act as a delicious base for your soup.

Know When to Add Ingredients

Different vegetables cook at different times. If you’re making vegetable soup and add all the ingredients at the same time, you’ll end up with mush and not soup; some will cook right, some will be overcooked, some will have cooked so much they’d have turned to mush. In short, you’ll have in your hands a culinary disaster. Don’t add delicate vegetables such as spinach together with the base vegetables. Instead, they should go in towards the end.

Taste as You Cook

Most cultures we grew up in here in Kenya did not encourage tasting as you cook as this, our grandmothers believed, would lead to greed. Here’s the permission to dispense with that. Season at different times and taste as your go, adjusting the seasoning as necessary. And we mentioned balance. If it’s tomato soup, it is obvious that tomato will be the star of the show. Don’t use too much of the other ingredients so that no one is sure what soup they are having.

Garnish with Purpose

Garnish has the role of adding texture and that last burst of flavour, and the choices are immense. Cooking is about having fun and being creative – don’t be scared of experimenting. Play around with cheese, herbs, yoghurt, nuts and citrus juices, just to name a few. Having said that, do make sure the garnish does not clash with the soup. Remember, it is supposed to enhance the look of the soup, the texture, and flavour without stealing the show.

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