Soup-making tips

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By Greg Summers

• Soups and stews always taste better if made a day or two in advance and reheated just before serving. You can also reduce the fat content by making soup the day before, chilling it and then scraping off the fat that rises to the top. If you don’t have time to chill the soup, use qcpaper towel to soak up oil from the surface.

• Use fresh ingredients if possible – Fresh ingredients are best, but some canned or frozen vegetables, such as peas, green beans and corn, will work.

• If the soup isn’t the main course, count on 1 quart to serve six people. If it is a main dish, plan on two servings per quart.

• Herbs will have a more intense flavor when added at the end of the cooking process.  

• Don’t boil the bone water – A frequent mistake made by most cooks when they are preparing soup is to place the animal bone into boiling water. In most instances, this tends to seal the bone to some degree and not allow all the flavor and nutrients to be released. The soup bone should be added to the pot when the pot is first placed on the range in cold water. This will allow the maximum release of the flavors, nutrients and gelatinous thickening agents to be released. 

• Wine is a great flavor addition to soups and stews. When using wine or alcohol in soup, use less salt than the recipe calls for. The wine tends to intensify saltiness. Wine should be added at a ratio of no more than 1/4 cup of wine to 1 quart of soup.

• Cold soups should be served in chilled dishes. Check seasonings of cold soups just before serving. Chilled foods tend to dull the taste buds and will need more seasoning than hot soups. 

 • If your hot soup ends up too salty, add a whole, peeled potato to the soup and simmer for about 15 minutes to absorb salt. Remove the potato and serve.