CHAPTER XIV: SOUPS
The popularity of soups today may be due to increased nutrition consciousness, due to a desire for simpler lighter meals, or due to an increased appreciation of how appetizing and satisfying soup can be. Whatever the reason, the emphasize the importance of soup making skills. Soup, according to a dictionary, is a liquid food derived from meat, poultry, fish or vegetable or a combination of them.
Classification of Soup
Soups can be classified into three main categories:
1. Clear or un-thickened Soups
2. Thick Soups
3. Specialty and National Soups
Most of these soups, whatever the category, are based on stock. Thus the quality of soup depends upon the skill of stock making.
These soups are based on a clear, un-thickened broth or stock. They may be served plain or garnished with a variety of meats and vegetables.
1. Broth and Bouillon are two terms used in many different ways, but in general they both refer to simple, clear soup without solid ingredients. Broth is the flavorful liquid obtained from simmering meat and/or vegetables, and is often the base for another soup.
2. Vegetable Soup or cut vegetable soup is a clear, seasoned stock or broth with the addition of one or more vegetables and sometimes meat or poultry products and starch to lightly thicken and give body to the soup.
3. Consomme is a rich flavorful stock that has been clarified to make it perfectly clear and transparent. Far from being a plain cup of soup, a well-made consommé is considered the greatest of all soups. Its sparkling clarity is a delight to the eye, and its rich, full flavor, strength, and body make it a perfect starter for an elegant dinner.
Unlike clear soups, thick soups are opaque rather than transparent. They are thickened by a thickening agent such as a roux, or by pureeing one of the ingredients to provide a heavier consistency.
1. Cream Soups are soups that are thickened with roux, beurre manie or liaison. Cream soups are usually named after the main ingredient such as Cream of Chicken or Cream of Tomato.
2. Purees are soups that are naturally thickened by pureeing one or more of their ingredients. They are not as smooth or creamy as a cream soup. Purees are normally based on starchy ingredients like dried peas or from fresh starchy ingredients like potato. Purees may or may not contain milk or cream.
3. Bisques are thickened soups made from shellfish. They are usually prepared like cream soups and finished off with cream.
4. Veloutes are thick soups made with stock, liaison, roux and a flavoring. Are similar to cream soups but are much richer.
5. Chowders are hearty soups of American origin and are made of fish, shellfish and/or vegetables. Although they are made in different ways, they usually contain milk and potatoes. Processed pork products like ham, bacon or dried sausages are also added. There is also a version based on tomatoes. Cheese also features prominently in chowders.
6. Potage is a term sometimes associated with thick, hearty soups, but is actually a general term for soup. A clear soup is called potage clair in French.
SPECIALITY AND TRADITIONAL SOUPS:
This a general category for soups that do not fit into any of the previous groups. They are soups that are native to a particular region or country. Cold soups are sometimes categorized as specialty soups. The following are traditional soups from different parts of the world. Find out which countries they come from:
SERVICE OF SOUPS
The standard portion size for soup is 6 to 8 oz. (200 to 250 ml)
Serve hot soups piping hot in soup cups or bowls
Serve cold soups chilled in chilled cups or ideally, nesting in a container of crushed ice.
Soup garnishes may be divided into three groups:
1. Garnish in the soup: Major ingredient of the soup such as vegetables, poultry cut into small dices can be considered a garnish. Consommés are normally named after their garnish. Consommé Julienne is garnished with julienne of vegetables.
2. Toppings: Thick soups are normally decorated with a topping. This could be a simple swirl of cream or chopped parsley, dill leaves of mint. Also included in this category are toasted sliced almonds, croutons, grated cheese, and crumbled bacon. Clear soups are rarely served with a topping.
3. Accompaniments: Bread rolls, slices and sticks, cheese straws, melba toast, corn chips and cream cracker biscuits are all popular accompaniments for soup along with butter.
Draw a Chart detailing the Classification of Soups and mention examples of each type.
CHAPTER XVI: SAUCES
Like stocks, sauces have lost some of their importance in the modern kitchen setup. The skill of the Chef Saucier was second to none and sauce making was and important and treasured art. Most of the decline could be attributed to the advent of convenience foods and the eating habits of people.
However, much of this change is due to misunderstandings. How many times have we heard people exclaim `I don’t want all these sauces, give me plain and simple food’ and then proceed to pour ketchup and chili sauce over everything from French fries to burgers and even pizzas!! This could also be attributed to poorly made sauces. No one likes thick and pasty sauces over their meat or vegetables or salty but otherwise tasteless sauces gumming up their meat and fish. But just because some chefs serve badly made sauces, there is no reason to reject all sauce cookery. In fact, good sauce making is the pinnacle of good cooking, both in the skill they require and the excitement and variety they create in the food. Very often the most memorable part of a meal is the excellent sauce that accompanied the meat or the fish. A sauce works like a seasoning. It enhances and accents the flavor of the food. It should not dominate, overpower or hide the food.
A sauce is defined as a flavorful liquid, usually thickened, which is used to flavor, season and enhance other foods.
A sauce adds the following qualities to food:
- Appearance, color and shine
- Interest and appetite appeal
Sauces can be classified as under:
- Mother sauces/leading sauces
- Derivative/secondary sauces
- Emulsion sauces
- Proprietary sauces
- Dessert sauces
- Miscellaneous sauces
THE STRUCTURE OF A SAUCE
Three kinds of ingredients make up the structure of a sauce.
- A Liquid, which is the body of the sauce
- A Thickening agent
- Additional seasoning and flavoring agents
A liquid agent provides the base and the body of the sauce:
Milk for the Béchamel
Stock for the Veloute and Espagnole
Butter for the hollandaise
Oil for the Mayonnaise
A sauce must be thick enough to cling lightly to the foods; otherwise it will run off and lie in a puddle at the bottom of the dish. This does not mean that it should be heavy and pasty either. Starches are the most common thickening agents used in sauces but there are others as well.
- Roux : Cooked mixture of butter and flour
- Beurre manie : uncooked mixture of butter and flour
- Whitewash: blend of milk and flour
- Slurry: blend of water and flour
- Corn starch: blend of corn flour and water. Used when a clear glossy texture is required.
- Arrowroot: used like cornstarch but gives an even clearer sauce.
- Waxy maize: Used when sauce is to be frozen. Flour and other starches break down and lose their thickening power when they are frozen. Waxy Maize does not.
- Breadcrumbs: Both fresh and dry will thicken sauces very quickly as they have already been cooked.
- Egg Yolks: used as thickening in emulsion sauces such as mayonnaise and Hollandaise.
- Egg Yolk and Cream Liaison: Thick cream also adds thickness and flavor to the sauce. Egg yolks have the power to thicken because of the coagulation of the protein present in the yolk, when heated. Besides thickening, the liaison also gives richness, flavor & smoothness to the sauce.
OTHER FLAVORING INGREDIENTS
In order to vary the basic sauce, other flavoring and seasoning ingredients are added to the sauce. They provide character to the finished sauce. This also makes it possible for sauces to accompany different dishes, as the different flavors will vary and complement a variety of tastes.
STANDARDS FOR QUALITY SAUCES
1. Consistency & Body:
Most sauces should be smooth with no lumps. They should not be too thick and pasty. They must be thick enough to coat the foods lightly.
The flavor of the sauce should be distinctive and well balanced. There must be a proper degree of seasoning with no starchy taste. The flavor should be selected to enhance or complement the food.
The appearance should be smooth with a good shine and gloss. It should have the requisite color: rich brown for the espagnole, pale ivory for the veloute and white (not gray) for the béchamel.
These are sauces that do not fit into any of the above classifications. These include:
Mint Sauce for Roast lamb
Horse radish sauce for Roast Beef
Bread Sauce for Roast Chicken
Cranberry sauce for Roast Turkey
Apple sauce for Roast Pork
Raisin Sauce for Ham
Orange sauce for Roast duck
These are sauces, which are served exclusively for desserts. These will include
- Custard sauce for steamed and baked puddings
- Jam Sauce for ice creams and sundaes
- Chocolate sauce
- Rum sauce
- Brandy sauce
- Melba sauce
- The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery
- A. Escoffier (page 1-41)
- La Rousse Gastronomique
- Harengs Dictionary of Classical and Modern Cookery
- La Repertoire de la Cuisine
Now that you have learnt something about sauces, their structure and components, and their production, list down the following sauces in a chart form, mentioning the mother sauce and the additional ingredients used.
DERIVATIVE MOTHER ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS
CHAPTER XVI: SAUCES (CONTD) MAYONNAISE
Mayonnaise is a semi –solid emulsion of edible oils, egg yolks, vinegar (or lemon juice) and seasonings. Generally, commercially prepared mayonnaise contains not less than 50% vegetable oils and the sum of the oil and the egg yolk should not be less than 78%. Some products add starch pastes to aid in the emulsification and that do not otherwise comply with the standards of Mayonnaise are termed as salad dressings.
Preparation of Mayonnaise that will stand up well and not separate involves certain factors and techniques.
An emulsion is more readily achieved when all ingredients are at room temperature. Cold oil is difficult to break up into small fat globules that will ensure easy emulsification. Therefore it is recommended that the oil and the egg yolk be at room temperature.
Egg yolks are an efficient emulsifying agent because of their ability to hold additional fats. Fresh eggs are superior to older or stale eggs, for use in mayonnaise. Stale egg yolks have a weaker cell structure and thus are not able to hold the oil incorporated. Although older books and traditional recipes call for the use of salad oil or olive oil in the preparation of mayonnaise, modern chefs prefer the use of refined oil. This has a more neutral flavor and does not overpower the taste of the dish into which it is added. Any popular brand of oil may be used so long as it does not overpower the flavor of the sauce.
Egg yolk and oil are beaten together in the initial preparation step, prior to the addition of oil. Rapid and thorough beating of the eggs and oils in the beginning is one of the most important factors in producing the initial emulsion. The method of adding the oil is a deciding factor in the stability of the emulsion. Oil must be added slowly in the beginning and in small quantities. Once the emulsion begins to form, the oil may be added more rapidly and in greater volume. Make sure that the egg yolk is absorbing the oil as it is incorporated into the emulsion. The vinegar or lemon juice may be added either in the beginning itself or during various stages alternately with the oil. Vinegar will thin the emulsion and make it more liquid. It also reduces the intensity of the yellow color of the egg yolk.
Separation of the emulsion may occur if:
1. Oil is added too fast
2. Oil is added in too large a volume at one time
3. Improper and inefficient mixing techniques are used
4. Ingredients are at the wrong temperature
Separation may be corrected by:
1. Starting with a fresh egg yolk and using the separated mixture as the oil
2. Starting with a small quantity of prepared mayonnaise and using the separated mixture as the oil
3. Add one or two tablespoons of warm water to the separated mixture and mix vigorously
It is obvious that re emulsifying requires additional cost and labor besides time. Strict observance of quantities and prescribed methods will lessen the possibility of the sauce separating.
Fresh Mayonnaise may be stored in the refrigerator for upto two weeks and 3 to 5 °C. Remember; mayonnaise is a cold, UNCOOKED sauce that contains egg yolk, which is a perfect medium for the growth and multiplication of bacteria. A thin film of oil maybe found on the surface. This is useful as it will form a protective layer and preserve the mayonnaise even longer. It can be easily mixed back into the sauce just before use. Upon storage, this layer will once again
Egg Yolk 1 no
Salt a pinch
Oil 150 ml
Mustard paste 1 tablespoon
White pepper powder a pinch
Lemon juice 15 ml
Method: Select an acid repelling bowl. Add egg yolks, seasoning and vinegar.
Beat well until well mixed
Add the oil, slowly at first and then a little faster.
When the mixture becomes heavy and sticks to the whisk, check the seasoning. Now add in the rest of the oil.
No other flavorings should be added to the basic mayonnaise, which would overpower the various sauces, which derive out of this basic mother sauce. If fruit juices such as orange and pineapple are to be used, omit the vinegar and lemon juice from the recipe.
Always check the container that is to be used to prepare a mayonnaise. It should not react with the acid in the sauce. Aluminum and copper should be avoided. Glass, stainless steel, enamel are all ideal for making mayonnaise. Also make sure that the vessel is absolutely clean and does not have any unwanted flavors already in it.