Food

Bowl them Over: Saturday Soups with Butcher Block

Thursday, August 29, 2019

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As Sunday roast is to the UK, so Saturday soup is to Jamaica. It's one of those meals that you anticipate having each week, and although you may be going out for dinner, you most likely are going to get that Saturday soup in for lunch. Red peas, beef and pumpkin, and chicken soups are great, but sometimes you're pining for something different. How about other versions of this Jamaican Saturday menu staple?

Some of us love a thick and creamy soup where a little goes a long way. In this respect nothing compares to a good lobster bisque, and whether you keep it traditional with the addition of sherry and tarragon, or jazz it up with the addition of white wine and saffron, it's a surefire hit. The intense lobster flavour comes from using the carcasses to make the stock; it's best not to use shortcuts for this soup. The extra effort is worth it.

Chicken soups don't have to be boring. No, not at all! The possibilities and flavour combinations are almost endless, especially when you're inspired by other cultures. Take, for instance, Tex-Mex cuisine where spicy, citrusy, and herbaceous flavours collide with fresh, creamy, and crunchy to create chicken tortilla soup. This will quickly become the kids' new favourite as, not only does it have almost everything in it, but it's also topped with shredded cheese and tortilla chips. Chicken and rice soup, too, can get a makeover with the addition of cream, a splash of white wine, some lemon zest and by using black rice. This is one elegant soup.

Bet you never thought of using sausages in a soup. Well, in Cajun culture, andouille sausage is one of the integral ingredients in making gumbo, but if you aren't adept at making a roux or don 't have hours for the flavours to develop, not to worry. Sausage and seafood go so well together and, taking inspiration from gumbo, try a sausage and seafood soup. A rich tomato broth fortified with white wine offers a tasty base in which mussels, shrimp, squid, and sausages swim and mingle to create something downright delicious. Want something on the table quicker? Try tortellini and sausage soup. It's easy to make, and the flavour of the tortellini filling can guide the direction you take for the stock.

No, we haven't forgetten beef. But this soup, in which beef is used may surprise you. French onion soup. Gasp! Yes, folks, a real French onion soup uses beef stock, caramelised onions, bay leaves, thyme and gruyere to give the soup its trademark umami flavour.

If lamb is excellent in stews, it can play a starring role in soups. Look to Middle Eastern and North African cultures to get inspiration for how to use lamb. But the earthiness of cumin, the brightness of fresh pureed tomatoes and the toothsomeness of chickpeas work together to create a delicious lamb and chickpea soup. Hot tip: If you attempted to make a stew but added too much liquid to the pot, there's nothing wrong with that. It's now a soup. Serve it with a straight face.


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