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Soup may be the first course of a meal or it can be the whole meal. A steaming hot bowl of soup is wonderful to warm up to on a cold winter day while a bowl of chilled gazpacho or fruit soup can be perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day. Soup is a basic term used to describe a liquid food made from any combination of vegetables fruit meat and/or fish cooked in a liquid. This article will discuss some of the more common variations of soup and offer information and tips on preparing serving and storing homemade soups. Common Types of Soup... Bisque - a thick rich cream soup usually containing seafood. Newer recipes may use poultry or vegetables in place of seafood. At one time bisques were thickened with rice but today they are more frequently thickened with roux.
It is possible soup has been around since the first pots could be placed over a fire. The word "soup" most likely derived from the bread one poured it over called "sop" or "sup". Before that soup was known variously as broth or pottage or even gruel (although now we think of gruel as being strictly a mashed cereal grain boiled in water). Cultures came up with different approaches to soup depending on what was available locally. Borscht made from beets is from Russia. Bouillabaisse is a fish soup from the port city of Marseille France. Minestrone made of fresh vegetables and beans is from Italy. Scotch broth made of mutton or lamb root vegetables and barley is from Scotland. You will find there are soups specific to most locales. There are two main classifications of soup: clear soups and thick soups.
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Wine should be added at a ratio of no more than 1/4 cup of wine to 1 quart of soup. Beer is also a good addition to soups and stews. A good rule of thumb is 1 cup of beer to 3 cups of soup. Freeze the liquids drained from canned mushrooms or vegetables for later use in soups or stews. Since liquids boil at a lower temperature at high altitudes cooking time may need to be extended at altitudes above 2500 feet. Soups and stews should only simmer while cooking never brought to a hard boil. "Is it soup yet?" Naturally the best soups are made with a base of homemade broth and fresh ingredients but this method can be very time-consuming and labor intensive. If you like time spent in the kitchen preparing soup may be reduced by using canned or frozen broths and vegetables while still yielding an excellent product. Remember there are no really good quick soup recipes because any truly good soup needs time during preparation for flavor to fully develop. Always plan on providing enough time to prepare a really good soup or stew.