Soups and Stews

Soups and Stews

The original one-pot meals, easy, beloved, healthful, and inexpensive what could be better? The ingredients are easy to vary, the preparation is minimal, and once things get rolling, you’re free to go do something else for a while.

Since the techniques for making both soups and stews are so similar, I make the distinction simply by the ratio of liquid to solids: Soups are more watery than stews. With both you want fresh ingredients—this isn’t an excuse to cook with rejects—but since you’re concerned only with the results of cooking everything together, they need not be as pristine as if you were serving them raw or featuring them on a plate. (Nor do they need to be perfectly chopped.) No time to make stock? Don’t sweat it: Water is a fine base for many recipes. (Stock, however, is great and valuable stuff, and of course I’ve included a section on it here.) And since there’s rarely pressure to capture food at some optimal point of doneness, these dishes are almost impossible to overcook. How easy is that?

Soup always refrigerates and often freezes perfectly, so if you really love your efforts (and you will), consider cooking double batches and setting some aside in convenient serving sizes. Even straight from the freezer, it reheats quickly in the microwave or on top of the stove. And leftovers often taste better than the first bowl.

With all of this going for homemade soup, there’s no reason to buy packaged or canned soup ever again.

Go to Soup Basics

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