Friday, December 19, 2014

Soup's On!

For a long time, I've been thinking of soups. A long time ago, I began to favor soups over other foods. They're a good way of getting your veggies and herbs (you can mix and match any combination) while being gentle on your stomach. After succumbing to the fact that soup was my new favorite food, it was just a matter of figuring out my favorite combinations and the best method for making it. As is typical when learning about new dishes, I began with recipes (typically of the American sort) which called for sauteing vegetables first in order to soften followed by a simmering in chicken or veggie stock. At the end, one could throw everything into the blender in order to emulsify and thicken the soup (which I usually did) or leave it be. I experimented with a host of veggie combinations and sometimes added protein. However, in the Washington Post Magazine, I came across an Afghan soup which called for making an emulsification (suffice it to say blended mixture) beforehand and adding your protein after.

An emulsion, by definition, is a mixture of two or more liquids that cannot typically be mixed (i.e. oil and water). In my cooking experience, this is typically done by mixing the elements quite fast with either a spoon or a blender. A general guideline for the soup follows:

Afghan Soup
  • chop a root vegetable (parsnip, carrot, etc.)
  • chop half an onion
  • smash two cloves of garlic
  • toast and chop two chilies 
Pulse above ingredients in a blender to make a paste. With the motor running, pour 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a stream to make an emulsification.

Once the emulsification is made, you can heat it in a seasoned pan along with 2 tbsp. of tomato paste. This will serve as the base of the soup.

From here, you can add any veggies, herbs and/or condiments you choose. I made mine with chopped celery and onion along with some peas and soy sauce at the end. Bon Appetit!

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