Monday, March 30, 2015

How to make soup, Portuguese style

The Portuguese love their soups. If you go to any restaurant they will usually have a "cream of ___" soup or a pureed vegetable soup as an appetizer. They barely cook with vegetables so if they didn't eat these soups they would have a very heavy meat and carb diet. My mom says this is a fairly modern affair and when she was little soups weren't pureed, but were main course meals with beans or meat usually.

I wasn't a fan of making Portuguese pureed soups, because they're time consuming and I usually cook with vegetables. However, since it does seem like the natural baby food I've started making them for Addie. And my hubbie loves them so I've made some for us too this winter. I've started to appreciate them as a good way to get greens in (instead of green smoothies), especially to ward of colds and flus in the winter. Now I make them from fall to Easter.

So here are the basics of making a soup:
Roughly chop some potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots as a base. Drop them in boiling water with some salt.

There are two keys to making a good soup. The first is the quantity of water. Make sure your water barely covers your vegetables. A watery soup is the worst. If your soup is too thick, you can add more water after pureeing and if it's too watery you can add some boiled sweet potatoes and puree again, but it's still best to get the water quantity right.
The next key is to always put in sweet potatoes and pumpkin, or at least one of them. My mother-in-law says she doesn't make soup without them.

Then add whatever roughly chopped vegetables you'd like in about the same quantity as the base or a 1 to 3 ratio. I usually use green beans, zucchini, leeks, pumpkin and something leafy like kale, watercress or spinach.  Boil until the potatoes and carrots are tender and then puree with a handheld blender. You can add some chives, chopped herbs, dried dill or croutons to make it extra yummy. 

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