Among the first lessons in any restaurant or culinary school education is the making of a proper stock. Chicken, Beef, Vegetable, Fish... they truly are the building blocks and bases of the most flavorful dishes. Many a professional kitchen newcomer was surprised at the end of their shift when the sous chef asked them to make sure the beef or chicken stock was looking good for the morning shift. In professional kitchens, meat stocks are made in giant pots, slowly brought to a boil on a lonely burner during dinner service, then simmered for hours, even overnight, to bring out the maximum flavor of each ingredient. Fish and vegetable stocks require less time to cook, but a properly brewed concoction makes an enormous difference. Fancy, no. Necessary, yes.... there is no substitution for a properly tended stock, especially when it comes to soup!
This week I am bringing to the market two soups that use a slowly tended chicken stock I have been simmering for hours as their base. A South American - style chicken soup with Hominy and Lime, and a more European style Root Vegetable and Mushroom stewed with Farro and Bacon. The flavor depth of the stock really makes these soups special.
Soup bases can come in all kinds of other flavors, too. I have been reading a lot of soup recipes lately, and have come across many different varieties of vegetable stocks as well. The Thai Coconut Broth I created this week from a vegetable stock (also used in the Butternut Squash Soup) that was strained then coaxed into a lively existence with the addition of lemongrass, ginger and coconut milk. It was so delicious, I could have sipped it by the cup!
I look forward to sharing my soups this Saturday in Hastings! All varieties come in 32 oz containers and are available now for Pre-Order to be picked up on Saturday at the Market.