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souper duper everything you 
need to know to make spectacular soups
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continued from page 1

4 cream, milk, half-and-half The higher the fat content, the richer your soup will taste, so if you’re going to splurge, go with the cream of course, because you will be able to taste the difference. Whichever you end up using, add it to the soup at the end of the cooking time, and don’t let it come to a boil.
5 cheese Stir in cheese just before serving.

four basic soups
Part of the fun of soup-making is that it's so conducive to spontaneity -- I never follow recipes when I'm making soup, but prefer to experiment using whatever I happen to have on hand. Still, there are a few basic methods of soup-making that are good to learn when you're first starting out -- and once you have these techniques under your belt, it's easy to play around with variations.

cure-all: basic chicken soup
Follow the directions for making chicken stock. Add whatever chopped vegetables you can scrounge up, and cook until tender. Salt and pepper to taste. (You can use canned broth if you’re short on time, but it won’t taste nearly as good.)

good things to add to chicken soup | carrots, peas, green beans, tomatoes, corn, noodles, rice, barley, mushrooms

meal-in-a-soup: basic bean soup
1½ cups dried beans (Great Northern, navy, cannellini, pinto, black), preferably soaked overnight and drained 
5-6 cups stock 
1 medium onion
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt, pepper, thyme to taste

serves 4-6

1 Heat the olive oil in a stockpot and sauté the onions until softened.
2 Add the beans and water, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and cover; simmer until the beans are nice and tender (this will probably take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour and a half, closer to the longer end of the cooking time if you’ve decided not to pre-soak the beans). Season to taste with salt, pepper, and thyme.
3 Puree all or part of the soup in a blender or food processor depending upon whether you want it smooth or chunky. (Work in small batches.) Return to the stove and cook for another couple of minutes to meld the flavors. Ladle into bowls and enjoy -- bon appetit!

good things to add to bean soup | carrots (add with onions); pasta (add cooked leftover pasta before serving, or  cook dried pasta in the soup after puréeing); tomatoes (add with beans and water); ham (chopped up and stirred in before serving, or for a really tasty bean soup, cook the beans with ham hocks); sausage; leafy greens; sage (with white beans); chili powder (with black beans, pinto beans); cayenne pepper (with black beans, pinto beans)

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