Soups and Stews can approach a kind of culinary perfection: Some offer a full meal in one steaming hot bowl; others capture the distilled essence of the best of nature's bounty. They also keep your insides toasty as the thermometer drops. What's more, thick, creamy soups and hearty, chunky stews don't have to mean a pot full of fat and calories.
Quick Tips: The Scoop on Soup
While freshly made is always wonderful, canned broth can usually be substituted with success. To maximize the flavor of canned broth, warm the broth with a few slices of carrot and celery, a few peppercorns, and a small bunch of parsley. Let simmer for 20 minutes and strain.
Hold the Salt
When spicing up the pot, start off with a very light hand with the salt. The soup's flavors will intensify and magnify over time, and you may not need much salt by the time the soup is finished.
Start With a Sauté
To create an aromatic foundation to your soup (as in the Italian Sausage and White Bean Stew), briefly cook a mixture of vegetables over high heat in a small amount of oil. By sautéing the vegetables first, long-lasting flavors and a subtle sweetness will be produced. Chopped celery, onion, garlic, and bell peppers are a common quartet of vegetables that release great flavor.
Slow It Down
Although the recipes here are easy, soup needs time to develop its flavors. Simmer soups slowly to develop their rich taste.