Margaret’s Coconut Curry Soup

No one likes to think about flu season, but when it’s with us, there’s nothing like spicy food to cut through the fog of grumble-nothing-tastes-good-today.

Here’s a nice hearty, spicy, and warming soup to thin the blood, make you sweat just a bit and make you feel so much better! This is the first of several spicy rich recipes to help us through the cold…and the colds.

Thanks to Margaret Turney for this one!

French Onion Soup

French onion soup is a favourite for many, and simpler to make than most believe. As with all soups, the key is the right ingredients; a good stock, fresh onions and the right kind…not the cheapest by the bag onions, but big, juicy, sweet ones…Spanish onions, Vidalias, something with a full flavour.

Aside from any quantities given here, a good rule of thumb is one onion, 1.5 – 2 cups of stock , and a couple of teaspoons of port or sherry (I prefer port) per serving.

One personal favourite trick is that while the soup is simmering, I like to toss in a few parmesan rinds to add body and flavour. This is a nice trick with most soups, but especially good with French Onion, as it normally does get finished with cheese.

For a vegan stock ,Alison Cole recommends Better Than  Boullion. We are looking for a great recipe for one though.

Bill’s Basic Chicken Broth and Stock Variation

Bill Wimberly in the army
Bill Wimberly in the army

Recipe and article by Bill Wimberly.

People tend to confuse stock with broth as they are at times interchangeable. The basic differences between the two lies in its properties. Chicken stock contains more gelée than chicken broth, uses a higher ratio of bone to flesh, and is reduced for a longer length of time (twice as long as a broth) to extract the gelée. Broth uses a higher ratio of flesh to bone and is reduced for a much shorter period of time. These are the key factors to consider in determining whether you are making chicken stock or chicken broth. Stock is more concentrated (longer reduction) and may be used for soup by the addition of water. Stock with its abundance of gelatin (containing minerals) is best suited for pan sauces, gravies, stews, and product thickened with roux.

Chicken broth is usually made with chicken meat and chicken parts, with a high flesh to bone ratio. Whole chicken (stewing hens are best for broth) or assorted parts can be used. Reduction time for chicken broth at sea level is about 3 hours.

Chicken stock is made mostly of chicken parts that have a very low flesh to bone ratio. Backs, necks and breast bones produce the best stock. To achieve the maximum extraction of gelée from the chicken bones the reduction time is 6 hours. Water, vegetables, herbs, and salt are ingredients that are common to both stock and broth.

Formulas (recipes) for the casual cook or homemaker are formatted differently than commercial or institutional formulas. Many casual cooks do not follow standard recipes, and this leads to inconsistent results. When I formulate a recipe for a commercial production facility or central kitchen, it is somewhat different than a recipe intended for the casual or recreational cook. Both formulations must be precise and easy to follow, and duplicate. Cost is very important in commercial institutions, and should also be a factor in your home kitchen. But do not skimp when cooking for your family, your goal here is to delight your guest, not make a profit.

The reader may notice that some of my chicken and stock recipes vary in ratio to bones, meat, herbs, seasonings and water. I submitted a standard recipe for chicken broth on a previous entry, and the above formulas were created for an organic restaurant company that produced institutional stocks and broth, as well as an organic soup line. Please feel free to adjust the formulas to your personal needs and taste. Remember, to have fun, and by all means, be creative.

For a vegan stock ,Alison Cole recommends Better Than  Boullion. We are looking for a great recipe for one though.