The making of a good soup is ALL about the base, Dear Readers. Create a good, strong base, create a scrumptious soup, it's as simple as that. Think of the base of a soup like the roots of a tree, it must be sturdy and stable and able to withstand whatever you may throw at it, that is why the base is so important. For example, there are two types of "base" used in most soups; mirepoix and the Holy Trinity. What is the difference besides origin? (Mirepoix is French and the Holy Trinity is Cajun.) The difference is a mirepoix is 2 parts onion to 1 parts each carrot and celery and the Holy Trinity subs in bell pepper for carrots. Personally, I detest bell peppers and I do like my mother, Ellen and grandmother, Mary did and their mother and grandmother did, I use a mirepoix base. Why? Because I like it, pure and simple.
Today, I am hankering for soup and all the goodness I can squeeze into one unsuspecting pot. I have the mirepoix basics plus organic chicken stock, ground chicken, whole milk ricotta cheese (is there any other type, Dear Readers?) and I have a little cauliflower and a lot of broccoli in the house. I also have cream and butter and some left over rice. What to do? What to do? Throw it ALL at the base, that's what! Dah!
Okay, here is what I am planning do:
I will begin with the classic mirepoix outlined above and cook that in a little butter with some homemade seasoned salt in my favorite soup pot. (Yes, I have a favorite soup pot, don't you?) Next, I will combine the ground chicken with some ricotta cheese and maybe some Parmesan too plus a little egg, parsley and probably some leftover rice, to help the little meatballs hold their shape and be yummy. After I wash up, I will sprinkle a little flour over the mirepoix, cook that 2 minutes (to cook out any rawness in the flour) and then add the stock and some water (probably 4 cups stock to 2 cups water) and a bit more seasoned salt. Next, I will raise the temperature a bit and bring it to the boil. Once it's boiling, I will adjust the heat and begin adding tiny little meatballs, adjusting the heat as needed to keep the ingredients rumbling about and happy. The meatballs will be adorable! At this point, I will prepare the cauliflower florets but may leave the broccoli out. After about 15 minutes of cooking, in go the florets and after another 10 minutes or so, I will add a bit of cream since our younger daughter, Mia, adores creamy soups, I mean, come on, Dear Readers, who doesn't? It's possible I will also add some frozen, organic peas but have not decided yet since my husband, Russell, hates peas. (Usually this is a motivator to add the peas but I may be nice later since Russ has been so helpful lately. I am still undecided.) Anyway, a bit more gentle stirring to make sure the adorable meatballs do not stick to the bottom of the pot (remember, adorable things require patience and attention) a bit more seasoning after tasting and we have soup! I plan to serve it up with a nice loaf of crispy homemade bread and/or fluffy biscuits and enjoy every bite!
Let me know what type of base you prefer and the type of soup you're making. Also, do you know the difference between stock and broth? Hint: You're probably using either term it incorrectly.
Avid home cook and passionate instructor