Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Fix a bad vegetable soup.

Suggestions to improve the flavor:

Celery salt or celery seed (preferably ground).
Fresh celery is normally part of the mirepoix in veg soup, but it's probably not a good idea to add to a cooked soup, so we're adding the next best thing.
It is amazing the difference celery can make.

White wine vinegar (for acidity and a richer flavor, and pairing with the cabbage and onions)

Dry vermouth or white wine.
Some flavor compounds are more soluble in alcohol than water, so this can help bring to the front additional flavors that are already present but undetectable.

A jigger of sherry or cooking sherry (the latter has salt, so add it before salting the soup).
This is a common suggestion when serving canned soups to guests, to make the soup taste fancier.

Rosemary, thyme, and parsley flakes/stems (adds aromatic and herbal flavors)

Worcestershire sauce (use carefully, it's potent stuff) -- this adds umami and spiciness

Paprika and a pinch or two of cayenne -- adds warmth and back heat, and smokiness

Dijon mustard (use sparingly). Adds front heat and a little richness to the soup

A little more salt and pepper

Parmesan or parmesan rind (for the rind, plan on simmering for a long time to extract flavor).
Self-explanatory here.

Balsamic vinegar -adds sweetness, acid, body, and umami. Use caution, it may conflict with the cabbage here.

My unfailing solution for bland soup is to add a tablespoon of Greek style natural yoghourt to each bowl just before serving.
This lifts any soup to another dimension and is healthy. Top that with freshly chopped chives for presentation.

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