Soups are by far the easiest and my most favorite thing to throw together. For entertaining, getting through the busy week or because it’s cold outside. I thought it would be good to start with the basics of cooking, with the foundation of a soup, simply because if you start every soup this way its very easy to build on. You can come up with any type of dish if you nail those basic principles.
In French cuisine there are soups, sauces, stocks. These are usually the bases for other dishes to build on. Which would consist of a tomato sauces to put over pasta, any soup or stew dish, or even a sauce to place over meat. The base is a Mirepoix (pronounced “meer-pwah”) it is a mix of chopped carrots celery and onions. Traditionally it’s about 50% onions, 25 % carrots and 25 % celery. But honestly if you like more of one, for instance more carrots less onion, or an even amount of all feel free to break French rules and do it the way you like best!
Mirepoix is important because with this foundation your cooking magic can begin, the taste of these three alone are simply heavenly and can turn a bland anything into bursting taste! Also once you know how to start dishes you can then break the rule, that’s right friends. Nail the basics, and then break the rules. I would say that is true with a lot of things, being open to exploring the possibilities. Do you know what I am saying?
Let me also mention ingredients, I have stressed this once and I will stress this again. Fresh ingredients so key in cooking. They aren’t expensive, in fact if you shop at the right places such as your local farmers market, Trader Joe’s and yes whole foods you would be surprised at what you could find for little to nothing. The reason I stress fresh or “the best” ingredients is not because they look pretty, but they taste the best, they have the best nutrients, which is key, and well its going to awake your taste buds! So lets just agree on this one? Lets move on…
Starting your Soup:
Ingredients/ Cooking Supplies:
-Dutch Oven or large Stockpot
-Wooden spoons for stirring and tasting
-Strainer, Culinary Knife’s, Peeler, Cutting boards
-Large mixing bowls, prep bowls
-1 lb. Yukon Gold or Red Potatoes
-2 16 oz. Chicken bone broth, or Kosher Chicken Stock - or homemade
- 2-4 carrots
- 2-4 celery stalks
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- A whole chicken, either precooked from the grocery rotisserie, or made at home.
- A bunch of fresh herbs and spices: thyme, oregano, and old bay seasoning salt, salt pepper
- Loaf of fresh country bread (or gluten free for those with sensitivity)
- Quality grade olive oil, or avocado oil (for high heat)
(Note: Prepping ingredients first will cut your cooking time in half. So we will be prepping all the food first setting it aside, and then getting on with the cooking.)
1. You can either roast your chicken at home or you could buy a precooked roast from the store. Leftovers of roast chicken make for great soups as well. This works if you are in a pinch for time!
2. Make your Mirepoix mix of carrots, celery and onions. Do your best here, its alright if it’s a rough chop, but just eye ball your cuts with the sizes being pretty even. Set aside in a bowl. Then finely chop your garlic cloves and herbs set aside. Quarter your potatoes, set in a large bowl of warm water, and let them soak for a good 15 – 20 min. When the chicken is finished roasting, break it down with knife, then pull apart the meat with fork or hands. (Set aside as well, you can keep the bones, and legs together).
3. Once you are finished prepping your ingredients, set your Dutch oven on the stovetop and put the burner on medium to medium high. After about a min, add in the olive oil place a few onion’s in the pan to see if it sizzles, if so the pan is hot enough. Through in the MirePoix mix, let cook for 5-10 min. Letting the vegetables cook until the onions are translucent. Add salt and pepper to taste, I would say about a pinch of each. Add in your garlic, sauté for another 3 min, and add in herbs and more salt and pepper if needed.
4. While that cooks strain your potatoes, and add those into the mix (you could always boil your potatoes before hand as well then add them to the pot.) Let that cook for another 5 min, add in more salt and pepper if needed.
5. Toss in the Chicken Stock and bring your heat up to high, you want this to boil for a good few min until you see a “rolling boil at the top of your soup”, then let that hang out for about 5 min. Then add in your cut up chicken, and bones. Reduce your heat to low and place a lid on the top, stirring your soup every 10 min, or to insure it doesn’t burn at the bottom. Cook for about 40 min to 1 hour. Then skim the top, and pull out the bones before serving.
Then serve with beer, white wine, crusty bread and enjoy!
Works sited :
The Culinary Institute of America. The Professional Chef 9th Edition. USA: WILEY, 2011.Print.
Dutch oven : LE Cresuset