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Who's Who In Winter Soups

A bill in the Montana Legislature would allow Montanans to sell food out of their own kitchens, either directly to customers, or for community social events, like weddings or potlucks.
Flickr user, JeffreyW (CC BY 2.0)
Sweet Potato and Chorizo Soup

"When you hear the word "soup," you probably think of a nice hot tomato soup," says Food Guy, Jon Jackson. Or chicken soup, cream of mushroom, or beef barley; The Food Guys have no trouble name-dropping their favorite winter soups.

Other Food Guy Greg Patent likes leek and potato soup as a simple starting point for many variations, including leek and celery soup.

The onions in French onion soup must be browned over medium heat for a very long time till they shrivel down to nothing. "You need a great beef stock for onion soup," says Greg. The soup consists almost entirely of caramelized onions, beef stock, and toppings like cheese and sliced bread.

When making bean soups, be sure you know the cooking duration for each pea, bean or pulse you add, in order to time their addition to the pot. Otherwise, if you're including all sorts at once, you might overcook the lentils and undercook the white beans. In spite of old advice about soaking beans overnight, all you need to do is bring the beans to boil in a pot, let them sit for an hour, and drain them.

Among the grains you can add to soups, pearled farro is especially good and cooks in 20-30 minutes.  Barley's umami qualities lend it to combining with beef and mushrooms.

Salmon or halibut will poach in fish stock or bottled clam juice in a few minutes. For fish soups, you won't need to add any salt.

Recently, Greg cut up broccoli and cauliflower, put the vegetables into a pot, covered them with water, cooked them for 20-30 minutes, dumped them into the blender, blended till they were smooth, and added salt and pepper. The result: a simple and delicious puréed soup prepared quickly, with minimal effort. 

(Broadcast: "The Food Guys," 1/10/16 and 1/14/16. Listen weekly on the radio at 11:50 a.m. Sundays and again at 4:54 p.m. Thursdays, or via podcast.)