Let’s make some soup.
First you have to start with a great stock. Making stock is only as good as the ingredients you put in the pot. A meat/bone stock is one made with of course meat/bone as the base. Any stock made with meat/bone, first you must acquire enough of this to fill your stock pot to just under the half way mark in the pot. I have covered this in a past blob and will not be going over again.
Let’s assume you have made a chicken stock. When refrigerated it turns to a jelly. Not to worry this is what Jell-O is made from and is the protein from the meat and bone used to make the stock. You have added the necessary amount of seasoning and vegetables to the stock when making it and have skimmed off any impurities the have come to the top never bringing it to a boil but letting it simmer until it is done. And always use a thick bottomed pot for making cream soups so you don’t end up with cream of burnt soup.
1) Place your refrigerated stock on the stove and begin heating it to just under the boil again.
2) Prepare your vegetables you will have as a garnish. Let’s make a cream soup, a cream of celery or cream of potatoe or a cream of what ever. A soup garnish consists of onion, celery, carrot, and garlic, with a sometimes addition of red and green peppers. Fine dice these items and place them in separate containers for a 1 gallon pot you will need two large onions, four stocks of celery, three carrots and two cloves of garlic crushed and pureed. All of these items must be diced as small as you can make them so they cook fast. The red and green pepper I mentioned can be added if you want the flavour of these to be added to the soup.
3) In a sauce pan add three table spoons of salted butter and turn on the burner to a low medium heat. When the butter begins to foam in the pan add the onions and garlic stirring them until they become translucent. Now add your celery and continue cooking this until it has lost it raw look. Now add your carrots and continue to stir not allowing any of the vegetables to begin browning.
4) Check and see if your stock is just below the boiling point, if so add three table spoons of all purpose flour to the vegetable mixture and blend this into the butter and vegetables,
5) Keep the sauce pan on the heat and add a few cups of hot stock to the pan. It will begin to thicken up. Keep adding stock to this until you can’t add any more. You have made the base for any cream soup.
6) Here is where you add your vegetable stock to what you are making. If it is celery then a full flavoured celery stock is needed to be added to the stock. Add enough stock to have the flavour you are looking for. Keep some of the stock back ( at least two cups)to be added to the Slurry later
7) Begin by cleaning a whole head of celery keeping a few of the light coloured leaves and cutting it into pieces that will fit on a table spoon, perhaps three or four pieces. I suggest cutting the stocks in half and then cutting them into pieces about ¼ inch across. Sautee these until they loose their crunch and add cold water to the pan to draw out the flavour of the vegetable. Bring this to just under the boil and allow it to simmer for twenty minutes now just place to the side. You are going to need it soon.
8) Add the vegetable stock to the thickened soup and whisk it in keeping the pot on a low heat. Keep the mixture stirred
9) Here is where you will finish the soup by adding a Slurry to it and then a Liaison on page three of this blog. One level table spoon of corn starch will thicken one cup of stock so a careful measurement here is important. If you have two quarts of soup that needs to be thickened it will be 64 fluid ounces. There are 8 ounces to one cup so you have 8 cups and will need 8 level table spoons of corn starch mixed well with two cups of the vegetable stock you held back removing any lumps that might form before adding. Add this to the soup stirring the pot while bringing it to the boil. As soon as the soup begins to boil turn it down to a simmer again so as not to burn the bottom of the pot and ruin your work to this point.
10) A liaison is made from one egg and cream whisked together in a larger bowl. Place one ladle of your hot soup slowly into the bowl of egg and cream whisking the mixture as you add it so as to heat up the mixture without making scrambled eggs out of it. Add more of your hot soup to it until it takes on some of the heat of the soup and begins to thicken in the bowl. Add this with a whisk to the soup
11) Adjust your seasonings (salt and white pepper to you r taste) and finish with tabs of butter about ¼ inch each laid on the top so a skin will not form on the surface.
Now that you have mastered this soup you can vary the ingredients from celery to asparagus, mushroom or any other vegetable you want and come up with another kind of cream soup or place the all together to have a cream of vegetable. Although a cream of potatoe will need a bit of help with pieces of bacon and onion as a garnish as well. The imagination is your only hold back here. A clear soup is one that does not have a thickening agent added to it. So with that all you have to do is have a good stock with plenty of vegetables and a meat garnish if this is to be a beef vegetable or a chicken vegetable.