By Nicole Centeno
Sooner than you think, you'll probably start experimenting with your own soup recipes and this soup trine can be your key.
Here are the three elements I consider with every soup I make:
Your digestive process starts in your mouth and chewing is what gets things going. Moving your jaw and breaking down bits and pieces of food releases digestive enzymes in your mouth and sends signals to your stomach that something is coming. This part of the souping routine is important because it helps your body acknowledge that it is eating and if you take your time chewing, you will feel full sooner because your stomach will be in sync with how much food you're taking in. If you gulp down your food quickly, not only will you miss out on the digestive enzymes in your mouth, but you also might swallow more air, which will contribute to gas. It will also take you a little longer to really perceive how full you are because food is rushing into your stomach before your stomach knows it's coming.
I keep lots of vegetable chunks in my broths and I puree until smooth but rarely to a truly liquefied form. It would be tough, for example, to suck down all these soups with a straw. And that's the point: Bits of un-pureed carrot and a little mushroom piece in your broth will remind you to chew. Chewing will help you slow down. It's all part of the soup helping you establish better habits.
The body of a soup might be green or earthy or rich and they all benefit from brightness. Brightness often comes from an acid like vinegar or lemon juice that has just a prick of tart or sharp to offset the denser flavors of a soup. You can also add brightness with a fresh leafy herb like basil, mint, cilantro or parsley. It is what separates a blah soup from a la-la-la-lovely soup. And if you ever end up with a blah soup, try saving it with a squeeze of lime or lemon or a sprinkle of mint or cilantro.
This is a Little Harder to Explain...
The muse is the ingredient that inspires the rest of the recipe. It's usually the ingredient that is highest in volume after broth or water and it's the one that you notice most in texture and taste. A lot of times the muse comes from a starchier ingredient, like a squash or a potato. Other times, it's a little more behind the scenes like a tomato, which delivers a deep, sweet-tart taste to the dish.
The muse is like the host of a party. It's her smile that you notice first when you arrive and she makes sure every newcomer is acknowledged, introduced and comfortable. As soon as she leaves the room, something is missing. The muse is the main attraction that sparkles when combined with the sweetness of the onions and garlic, reflects bright citrus back onto your palate and sets the tone for the overall mouthfeel of your soup. The soup would fall apart without the muse. Like the host of a party, she is there to help her guests open up and shine, but it's her personality that sets the tone.
Adapted from Soup Cleanse Cookbook.
This article was reposted with permission from our media associate Rodale Wellness.