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Old 06-17-2006, 02:06 AM   #21
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Here's a soup known among my friends as the "Divine Soup". Dead easy to make, absolutely gorgeous in the mouth. Courgette and gorgonzola. Sounds bizarre, tastes magical.

Sweat a couple of sliced medium-sized onions in some olive oil for ten minutes. Then add three or four chopped courgettes and leave to sweat (covered) for ten minutes. Stir every now and then. Stir in some thyme leaves if you like thyme. I probably use half a teaspoon or so of fresh leaves. Then add some water or vegetable stock to just cover the vegetables and leave to simmer for half an hour. Turn off the heat and crumble in 100 g (four oz) or so of gorgonzola and leave to melt. (You can't really "crumble" gorgonzola but you know what I mean.) Then whizz through the blender till smooth. Reheat very gently if necessary and serve with a little extra gorgonzola on the top as a garnish.

The gorgonzola comes through mostly in the creamy texture of the soup and in a mild acidity. No way could it be described as "stingy".

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Old 06-17-2006, 09:52 AM   #22
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fresh lemmon juice will perk up a dull vegetarian soup, as will a dry wine...it's the acid.
make sure you are seasoning enough
herbs make a world of difference

make a batch you've had some success with and separate into 1/2 bowls. try adding a dash of this to one and a dash of that to another to see what works best for you.

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Old 06-17-2006, 12:27 PM   #23
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here is mine T&T

hamburger soup:

1 lb hamb.(omit if vegetarian)
1 bag frozen soup veggies(any veggie will do)
2 cans tomatoes
1 cup cabbage (raw)
8 cups water
8 bulion cubes (beef) or soup stock about 3 Tbs.
wostershire sauce acouple of dashes...
salt and pepper to taste
cook all this for about 1-2 hours
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Old 06-17-2006, 12:46 PM   #24
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With the soup episode of "Good Eats".
Noncooks think it's silly to invest two hours' work in two minutes' enjoyment; but if cooking is evanescent, so is the ballet. -Julia Child
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Old 06-17-2006, 05:36 PM   #25
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I have found that by roasting my vegetables first makes for 1 good soup.
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Old 06-17-2006, 05:55 PM   #26
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Also, don't forget the most basic fix: salt. IMO many soups in general need a good amount of salt to have any flavor simply because there's a lot of liquid involved, and like Emerill says, "I don't know where you buy your water but mine doesn't come seasoned (except maybe in NYC)." I'm not talking about just adding salt at the end but adding salt throughout the cooking process in order to layer your flavors.

For example in the second recipe, you should add salt at three phases before the simmering process: 1. When you sweat the mire poix; 2. When you add the bell peppers; and 3. When you add the potatoes. I would add the potatoes first, add salt, stir, and then add the water. The soup will end up having more flavor than if you omitted salt during the entire cooking process and then added it just at the end to make up for it.
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Old 06-17-2006, 06:30 PM   #27
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That's very good advice, Ironchief.
For me, a soup becomes almost a living thing. There are never two just alike...each one has it's own personality.
And they certainly do seem to grow! My big soup kettle holds almost three gallons, and it almost always seems to fill up by the time I'm finished.

One grocery store here (now closed thanx to Walmart) use to sell "Western ribs". Basically, they were chunks of pork on a bone, probably from the shoulder. I used them in one of the best minestrones I ever made. You just go with what you have, kinda like stone soup.
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Old 06-18-2006, 05:00 PM   #28
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Phantom, it is harder to make a truly tasty vegetarian soup. Two hints, no matter the recipe you're using:

One is that when you make your "stock" (stock actually implies bones being in it), ROAST your vegetables in the oven, until all are brown. It will give you a nice rich color and flavor. Use lots of carrots when you do this for sweetness and body.

The second is even better ... GRILL your vegetables. Get your charcoal grill out and grill it all -- onions of all sorts (a variety -- red, vidalia, green, leek, etc), some garlic in foil on the coals, carrots, zuchini, winter squash, eggplant, all of it. Then boil them and strain out the "stock". Then you can make legume soups with abandon and people will actually think you used ham. No kidding. When we were on the road in an RV, the macho, steak-and potato men of the campgrounds would always stop and ask what I was grilling that smelled so wonderful. It was always the veggies I usually grill before I put the meat on!

In both cases, brush or toss the vegs liberally with olive oil (aids in browning, keeps them from sticking to grills and pans) and season with your favorite seasonings.

These two stocks in your freezer wil really add pizzaz to any and all recipes if you start with them, then follow the recipe.

The grilled or roasted veggies themselves can be chopped and added to a processed veggie stock for more flavor than just boiling vegs in the broth.
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Old 06-18-2006, 06:02 PM   #29
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One more piece of advice...once your stock is strained, but before the final seasoning, cook it down until reduced by one half. You'd be surprised what a flavor difference you'll get!
I also talked about this with a non-meat-eating friend of mine yesterday, and he often uses a bit of butter in his vegetable stocks to add flavor.
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Old 06-20-2006, 12:07 PM   #30
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Here are another couple of really tasty soups I make with water. I like the flavour of the vegetables that form the basis of the soup to sing through, so I never bother making a stock. That and the lack of time! I hardly ever use salt when cooking either (a tiny amount in bread and pastry and sometimes with rice, but otherwise I don't feel the need for it). So apologies to the experts for my lack of orthodox behaviour in the kitchen.

Curried carrot and apple (second favourite soup after the courgette and gorgonzola posted earlier and a recipe that appears in lots of books)

Finely chop a large onion. Put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and heat. When it's reasonably hot, add a quarter of a teaspoon of garam masala or more if you like quite a strong flavour. Swirl into the hot oil and then immediately add the onion. Lower the heat, cover and sweat gently for five mins or so. Stir every now and then.
While the onion is sweating, roughly chop half a dozen or so big carrots and whizz till finely chopped in a food processor. Add to the onion, stir and cover. Leave to continue sweating while you roughly chop a couple of apples and then whizz till finely chopped in the food processor. Add to the carrots, cover tightly and leave to sweat over a low heat. Sweat for half an hour or so, stirring regularly. You shouldn't need to add water - the apple and carrot should generate enough liquid to stop the mixture sticking to the pan. When the mixture is soft, turn off the heat and leave to cool slightly. Then whizz in a blender with some water to make a soup consistency. Reheat gently and serve with a swirl of yoghurt, another good source of acidity as Robo410 mentions. This soup is delicious and oddly has a distinctly coconut hint to it.

Another easy-as-pie soup is cream of pumpkin

Sweat a finely chopped large onion in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. While that's doing, peel and remove seeds from a piece of pumpkin and chop the flesh into chunks about the size of bits of beef for a stew. You want a pound or so of flesh. Add to the onion and stir. Leave to fry slightly while you peel and chop a couple of carrots and a potato. Grate some fresh nutmeg and add some freshly ground black pepper to taste into the onion and pumpkin in the pan and stir. Leave to fry for a few seconds and then add the carrots and potato. Just cover with water and simmer until the vegetables are soft. Whizz in a blender to a creamy consistency and serve, again with a swirl of yoghurt and perhaps a fine dusting of freshly grated nutmeg or a small amount of coarsely ground black pepper over the yoghurt .

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