Soups and Stocks

Good stocks are fundamental in the kitchen. Not just as the foundation for soups, but as the starting point for sauces, stews and braised dishes as well.

Split-Pea Soup

Split-Pea Soup

Split-Pea Soup Recipe

When I was a kid, my mother would often make split-pea soup using the bones and scraps leftover from a ham roast. It was a dish I could take or leave back then but I grew to like it more and more and have made it many times as an adult. Here, I have used the bone and some of the meat from a lightly smoked Pork Picnic Shoulder rather than the traditional Ham, and I have offset the smokiness with the sweetness of an added Parsnip.

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Roasted Vegetable Stock

Roasted Vegetable Stock

Roasted Vegetable Stock

I have often added leftover roasted vegetables as well as vegetable trimmings to general purpose stocks, but you can make a terrific vegetarian, or vegan, broth for use in other recipes that is both hearty and delicious. There are many variations on the sorts of vegetables that can be used, but those in the selection used here are particularly enhanced by the rich sweetness that caramelization lends to roasted Vegetables and Garlic.

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Basic Miso Soup

Basic Miso Soup

Basic Miso Soup Recipe

You would be hard-pressed to find a Japanese restaurant that does not have a Miso Soup somewhere on the menu, and any aficionado of Japanese cuisine will have tried it at one time or another.

Strictly speaking, a miso soup could be any soup given an umami boost with the addition of the Japanese fermented soy-bean paste known as ‘Miso’ but generally, the soup base is the rich sea-stock called Dashi, and typically only two or three other ingredients are included. The version pictured above simply includes a little Tofu, along with Scallions and Wakame seaweed.

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Lobster Shell Stock

Lobster Shell Stock

Lobster Shell Stock Recipe

It is always a good idea, whenever you cook lobster, to save the shells for making stock. Some lobster stocks can be quite complex, employing many additions such as garlic, celery, tomato paste and various aromatics, for example, but it is also possible to make a simple stock with nothing but the shells from a couple of Lobsters and some white peppercorns and a bay leaf. The result will be simple enough to be highly versatile, and can then be used as the base for all sorts of soups, stews and sauces.

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