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STOCK FOR YOUR SOUPS RECIPES... AND ITS USES
For the soup-making processes to be more readily grasped, it helps to be thoroughly familiar with what is meant by soup stock. A stock of anything denotes a reserve supply of that thing stored away for future use. When applied to soups, stock is similar in this meaning since it refers to foodstuff you've stored or prepared in a way enabling you to keep it for use in the making of certain kinds of soups. You can think of your soup-stock as a valuable liquid containing nutritious juices, and soluble parts of meat, bone or vegetables you've extracted by long, slow cooking. Soups in which you can use stock include all the varieties made from beef, veal, mutton and poultry. If you desire clear stock for creation of soups, only fresh meat and bones should be used and all material which would discolor the liquid in any way, carefully avoided. For ordinary, unclarified soups, the trimmings and bones of roast, steak or chops and the carcass of chickens, ducks, etc. can generally be utilized. However, you'll want to use sparingly very strongly flavored meat such as mutton or the fat from mutton.
VARIETIES OF SOUP STOCK
Several kinds of stock can be utilized in the making of your soups, and the kind to employ depends upon the soup you desire. The following classification can be a guide for you in determining the kind of stock required for the foundation of your soups. FIRST STOCK is made from meat and bones and then clarified... you'll use it for well-flavored, clear soups. SECOND STOCK is made from the meat and the bones remaining after you strain-off the first stock. You'll add more water to the remaining material, and then cook vegetables in it, supplying your soups with special flavor. Such stock serves you very well for adding flavor to many nutritious soups you'll make from vegetables or cereal foods. WHITE STOCK is used in preparation of white soups and you can make it by boiling six pounds of a knuckle of veal cut up in small pieces, plus poultry trimmings. HOUSEHOLD STOCK is made by cooking meat and bones, either fresh or cooked, with vegetables or other material that will impart flavor and add nutritive value. Stock of this kind you'll normally use for ordinary soups. BONE STOCK you'll make from the bones of meat only, adding vegetables for flavor. Like your household stock, use it in your creation of many of the ordinary soups. VEGETABLE STOCK you make from either dried or fresh vegetables or both. And naturally, you'll normally use this stock in the making of vegetable soups. FISH STOCK is made from fish, or fish trimmings, to which you add vegetables for flavor. You'll find shell fish make especially good stock of this kind, and normally you will use fish stock in preparing chowders and fish soups. GAME STOCK is made from the bones and trimmings of game to which vegetables are added for flavor. Of course, you'll use it for making game soups.
FLAVORING YOUR SOUP STOCK
It is the flavoring of stock that indicates real skill in soup making. This is an extremely important part of the work. In fact, the large number of ingredients found in soup recipes are, as a rule, the various flavorings which give the distinctive flavor and individuality to a soup. Very often you may omit certain spices or certain flavoring without any appreciable difference, or you'll discover you can substitute something 'on hand' for an ingredient which is 'lacking'. The flavorings you'll use most for your soups include peppercorns, red, black and white pepper, paprika, bay leaf, sage, marjoram, thyme, summer savory, tarragon, celery seed, fennel, mint, cloves, and rosemary. While all of these are not absolutely necessary, the majority of them may well be kept on the pantry shelf. A small amount of lemon peel often improves soup, so you'll also want to keep some of this in store. Another group of vegetables that lend themselves admirably to flavoring of your soups includes leeks, shallots, chives, garlic and onions, all of which belong to the same family. You'll want to be careful, and use them judiciously because of their strong flavor. In the use of any of the flavorings mentioned or the strongly flavored vegetables, care should be taken not to allow any one particular flavor to predominate. Each should be used in such quantity that it would blend well with the others. A very good way in which to fix spices and herbs that are to flavor soups is to tie them in a small piece of cheesecloth, and drop the bag you make of them into the soup pot. When prepared in this way, they'll remain together, so that, while the flavor can be cooked out, you can more readily remove them from the liquid than if you allow them to spread through the contents of the pot. Add salt in the proportion of 1 teaspoonful to each quart of liquid.
ADDITIONAL USES OF YOUR SOUPS' STOCK
Although you'll be using your soups' stock mainly as a foundation for certain varieties of soup, it may also be used in many other ways. You'll find it especially valuable in the use of leftover foods. You can make any bits of leftover meat or fowl into an appetizing dish by adding thickened stock to them, and simply serving the combination over toast or rice. In fact, a large variety of economical dishes can be devised when you have stock for soups on hand to add for flavor. The convenience of your stock supply will be apparent when you consider gravy or sauce for almost any purpose can be made from the contents of your stockpot. This is a very good way to stretch your food budget, and yet keep your family happy with interesting, very flavorful, meals.
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