Friday, July 13, 2007

Soup & Stew

I had frozen soup I made about a month back in my freezer and have ventured into the not always successful practice of reheating previously fresh food. The soup I mimicked from a small café here in Moncton. With sausage meat balls, lots of chick peas, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, canned chopped tomatoes, and some fresh ginger, this soup is really nice. The added ginger also give it a suprising flavour you wouldn't expect.

I like making soups because you could basically try any flavour combination as a test run to see if they blend well together. The required cooking time and usual suspects - broth, carrots, celery, onions, and garlic - welcome almost anything you throw at them. Any protein is welcome along with any starch and vegetables. Soups, I think, are one of the most versatile food. Plus, when you do fall upon a delicious combination, you can always take from the soup stage and try to make those flavours stand alone.

Another deliciously variable cooking process is the stew. For this particular stew I tried to deviate from the usual by using Asian ingredients. The recipe list goes as follows: bacon, stew beef, kimchi cabbage (yes I still have some and am trying to use it as much as possible for nothing more than to get rid of it), sliced onion, carrots, potatoes, canned sweet peas, beef broth, rice wine vinegar, red chilli paste, sesame oil and a bay leaf. The end result - cooked all day in a crock pot - tasted pretty much like your everyday stew. Good. But average.

Mistake 1: I should have put some of the kimchi "juice" in with the stew. Mistake 2: Cooking the stew for a shorter period of time would possibly have kept the Asian flavours intact. Happy discovery 1: Vinegar in stew is really good. I've tried beef bourguignon before which is made with red wine but vinegar really gives the stew an added dimension.

So, in conclusion, I can't push soups and stew enough. Eat them always with a nice little sandwich and life is good...not to suggest that life without these cannot be good but the chances dramatically decrease with the absence of homecooked food.

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