Back to…Cooking School: How to Make Brown Stock

Before we get started, though, let me just clarify one thing. I see a lot of recipes and methods for “Bone Broth”. What is the difference between ‘bone broth’ and ‘stock’, you ask? Is there a difference? Yes, indeed.

Sure, both are made by simmering bones and mildly aromatic vegetables in water for a lengthy period of time, but a true bone broth is made with meat as well as bones, and often contains extra flavorings such as garlic or turnip. A stock is more ‘bare bones’ (pun intended!) containing not much more than bones, water, and mirepoix.

Think of it this way: the term ‘broth’ implies it could be a dish, while ‘stock’ is clearly just an ingredient. Hope that helps. We’re going to learn how to make a brown stock today.

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More than Mirepoix: Roasted Carrot and Cilantro Soup

September. These are the last fleeting days of summer and the return of the crispness of autumn, not to mention the kids to school!

For me, September brings to mind scarves and warm coats, piles of newly yellowed leaves, wood smoke hanging in the air like unspoken words and an end to the bounty of summer harvests; now is the time to be canning, freezing and otherwise preserving all of the best summer has to offer.

Not to be outdone by it’s summer seasonal counterpart though, there is much that is in season in September, including apples, pears, potatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, figs and of course, carrots.

Uncomplicated and easy to prepare, carrots are something everyone uses but don’t often think of as much of a star ingredient. They are usually thought of as a side dish or a background flavor, are always at the center of mirepoix (the aromatics forming the base of most soups, stocks and sauces, at least in French cuisine), and are often served raw on top of salads.

What many people don’t realize, however, is that carrots have a sweet flavor profile and when roasted, their natural sugars are enhanced dramatically giving them a caramelized, deep flavor and a wonderful meaty texture when made into purées for soups, such as this one. [Read more…]

Hearty & Healthy: Late-Summer Minestrone

A bout of gray, rainy and downright bone-chilling cold weather recently sent me scurrying into the kitchen faster than a coiffured damsel seeking shelter. With each day looking bleaker than the last, it was obvious that if I was to get truly warmed, it would require spearheading a kitchen project that involved plenty of soul food.

Fortunately, my quest to find the BEST zucchini bread was under way that week, with many batches being tested to ultimately declare a winner and a runner-up. That project kept the kitchen toasty, but it wasn’t quite the satisfying, nourishing meal that I was looking for. Imagine my surprise when I realized I was craving soup. Hot, wholesome SOUP! In August, no less.

Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that I was singing the praises of cold soups? Had the summer really slipped away that quickly? Apparently it had, so I made a massive batch of this late-harvest minestrone using up all the gorgeous late-summer vegetables I had on hand. [Read more…]

Three 3-Minute Chilled Soups

I fell in love on my honeymoon. With a cold soup. Yes, I was already head over heels with a tall engineering student, but a chilled Hungarian sour cherry soup, enjoyed on a shady Budapest courtyard with the aforementioned tall student, also captured my heart.

That memorable lunch left an impression on me – on my palate – and I’ve never turned down a cold soup since.

Cold Soup. I know, it’s almost a contradiction. Isn’t soup supposed to be a comforting dish, warming us down to our very toes? Simmered on a back burner on a chilly autumn day? If you’re not familiar with the summer version of soup, it certainly can sound off-putting, but it is actually a marvelously refreshing way to enjoy summer’s produce.

Here’s what you may not know about cold soups: [Read more…]