Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chase Away Winter Chills with a Warm Bowl of Homemade Soup

When it’s cold outside nothing warms us up faster than a bowl of soup. And if it’s homemade, that makes it even better. Today it is possible to create a soup to suit every mood and menu… from delicate broths and steaming purées, to stews that warm you to the bone and chowders as fresh as a seaside morning. Whether it’s hot or cold, the first course, or the centerpiece of a meal, soup has the power to soothe the soul.

World-renowned culinary college, The Culinary Institute of America, has updated one of their most popular cookbooks to create The New Book of Soups (Lebhar-Friedman; December 2009; Hardcover/$35.00; ISBN: 0-86730-860-0), with all the recipes and techniques from their original Book of Soups, but with more recipes, techniques and new color photographs. The New Book of Soups is filled with over 160 new and improved, delicious soup recipes created by the chefs at The CIA.

Like its predecessor, The New Book of Soups is the home cook’s ultimate guide for preparing appetizing soups and stews for any occasion, any time of the year. This expanded edition features an incredible array of recipes as well as illustrated step-by-step instructions and techniques that explain the basics of soup making. Helpful guidelines are included in every chapter of the book for topics such as creating Broths, Hearty Soups, Stews, Cream Soups, Puréed Soups, Bisques and Chowders, and Cold Soups. There is even a chapter on Accompaniments to add that perfect touch to any soup recipe.

Recipes in the book come from a number of different traditions and cultures, providing the home cook with an array of flavors from around the world, along with time-honored favorites. Recipes include:
• Stracciatella
• Thai Hot and Sour Soup
• Fisherman’s Soup
• Tunisian Vegetable and Bean Soup
• Vietnamese Water Spinach and Beef Soup
• Shrimp and Chicken Jambalaya
• Lamb Khorma
• Potage Au Pistou (Vegetable Soup with Garlic and Basil)
• Apple Soup
• Curried Eggplant and Lentil Soup
• New England Clam Chowder
• Italian-Style Summer Vegetable Stew
• Oxtail Stew in Red Wine
• Fresh Spring Pea Purée with Mint
• Gazpacho
• Chilled Infusion of Fresh Vegetables with Fava Beans.

A warm, delicious bowl of soup gives us the simultaneous experience of aroma, taste, texture, and temperature, all in one spoonful. Soup recipes can be easily adjusted to meet the needs of the moment or any dietary restriction. These soup recipes can be put together easily for a quick weeknight meal, doubled to accommodate a large party, and freeze beautifully to be stored and used for another day.

With its thorough approach to soup-making techniques, breadth of recipes, and beautiful color photography, The New Book of Soups is an indispensable addition to any home cook’s library.


Founded in 1946, THE CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA (CIA) is an independent, not-for-profit college offering bachelor’s and associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts. Courses for foodservice professionals are offered at the college’s main campus in Hyde Park, NY, and at its branch campuses, The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in St. Helena, CA, and The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio in San Antonio, TX. A network of more than 37,000 alumni in the foodservice and hospitality industry has helped the CIA earn its reputation as the world's premier culinary college.

Sample Recipes from the Book:

Crab and Mushroom Chowder
Makes 8 servings

Many supermarkets now carry a decent selection of “exotic” mushroom varieties, such as shiitake, oyster, and cremini mushrooms. You can make this delicious chowder using a single variety or a combination. Avoid white mushrooms though; they don’t have the flavor and texture needed for this hearty soup.

5 cups assorted mushrooms (about 1 lb)
3/4 cup water
6 tbsp butter
3/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced leek (white and light green parts)
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 qt Chicken Broth (Recipe below)
2 1/4 cups diced russet potatoes (peeled)
3/4 cup milk
6 tbsp dry sherry
2 tsp heavy cream
1 tsp salt, or as needed
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or as needed
10 oz lump backfin crabmeat, picked over for shells

1. Cut the stems from the mushrooms and slice the mushroom caps. Set the caps aside. Simmer the stems in the water for 30 minutes to make a mushroom broth. Strain the broth and set aside.

2. Heat 5 tablespoons of the butter in a large soup pot. Add the onion, celery, leek, and garlic. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 4 to 6 minutes.

3. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 3 to 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Strain through a sieve, pressing hard on the solids to recover as much thickened broth as possible. Return the broth to a simmer and discard the solids.

4. Add the potatoes to the broth and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add the milk, 4 tablespoons sherry, and heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Meanwhile, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced mushroom caps and sauté until tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add the mushroom broth, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any particles of mushroom stuck to the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

6. Stir the mushrooms with their liquid and the crabmeat into the chowder. Check the seasoning once more and make any necessary adjustments. Serve in heated bowls, adding the remaining sherry to the individual bowls, if desired.

Chicken Broth
Makes about 2 quarts

Chicken broth is a crucial ingredient in soup making and the flavor of homemade broth is hard to beat. You can double or even quadruple this recipe and freeze the extra so you always have some on hand. To make a double chicken broth, substitute cold chicken stock or broth for the water in this recipe.

4 lb stewing hen or chicken parts or meaty bones, such as backs and necks
3 qt cold water
1 1/4 cups diced onion
1/3 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
5 to 6 whole black peppercorns
3 to 4 parsley stems
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp salt, or as needed

1. Place the chicken and water in a large pot. The water should cover the chicken by at least two inches; add more if necessary. Bring the water slowly to a boil over medium heat.

2. As the water comes to a boil, skim away any foam that rises to the surface . Adjust the heat once a boil is reached so that a slow, lazy simmer is established. Cover partially and simmer for 2 hours, skimming as often as necessary.

3. Add all of the remaining ingredients. Continue to simmer, skimming the surface as necessary, until the broth is fully flavored, about 1 hour.

4. Remove the chicken pieces from the pot and cool slightly. Dice or shred the meat and use to garnish the broth or save for another use; discard the skin and bones.

5. Strain the broth through a colander or sieve into a large metal container. Discard the solids.

6. If you are using the broth right away, skim off any fat on the surface. If you are not using the broth right away, cool it quickly by transferring it to a metal container (if it’s not in one already) and placing the container in a sink filled with ice cold water. Stir the broth as it cools, and then transfer it to storage containers. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Label and date the containers clearly before putting them into the freezer.

Make It Easier
Some stores sell packages of necks and backs that can be used to prepare broth. This broth can also be made with the carcasses of roasted birds. Save the bones after all of the meat has been pulled or carved away (freeze them if you will not be making the broth within a day or two). You will need the carcasses of about 3 birds for each batch of broth.

Catalan Beef Stew
Makes 4 servings

The cuisine of Spain is rapidly becoming more familiar to cooks and restaurant-goers. This dish marries a flavorful cut of beef from the shoulder with some typical Catalonian ingredients: oranges, olives, red wine, and bacon. Bitter oranges are traditional, but if you don’t have access to a bitter orange, use a Valencia (juice) orange and a touch of lime juice for nearly the same flavor profile.

1 tbsp olive oil
5 slices bacon, thick-cut, diced
2 lb boneless beef chuck or bottom round, cut into 2-inch pieces
Salt as needed
Freshly ground black pepper as needed
2 cups chopped yellow onion
2 cups red wine
2 tbsp orange peel julienne
2 bay leaves
2 tsp minced garlic
2 parsley sprigs, minced
1 cup Spanish black olives, pitted

1. Add the bacon to a casserole dish or pan and sauté until the bacon is crisped and browned, 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a bowl with a slotted spoon, letting the oil drain back into the casserole.

2. Return the casserole to the heat and heat the oil until it shimmers. Season the beef generously with salt and pepper. Add the beef (working in batches to avoid crowding the pan) and sear on all sides until brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer the beef to the bowl with the bacon using a slotted spoon and letting the oil drain back into the casserole. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until deeply caramelized, 25 to 30 minutes.

3. Return the beef and bacon to the casserole, add the red wine, orange peel, bay leaves, garlic, and parsley; bring the liquid to a boil. Immediately adjust the heat for a gentle simmer. Season the stew to taste with salt and pepper throughout cooking time. Simmer the stew, covered, until the beef is nearly tender, about 2 hours. Add the olives and continue to simmer until the beef is fork tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Serve in heated bowls.

“Soup can be the perfect antidote for whatever ails you and they are the perfect fit for our busy lives. The New Book of Soups gives readers just what they need: lots of soups to enjoy, plenty of instruction to make the unfamiliar familiar, and gorgeous photos that will have you searching for a spoon.”
Cat Cora, Executive Chef at Bon Appétit Magazine and Food Network Iron Chef

NOTE: Received a copy of this book and it's even better than the first edition... which was great. This is a can't miss for anyone who loves soup!

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