Anatomy of a Soup
Part two of our series on healthy fasting meal plans, is dedicated to the hot topic of soup.
Soup is a very popular first course for breaking the fast. But not all soups are created equal. A soup can be magic in a bowl, but it can also be nightmare on belly street. How do you avoid the nightmare, and find the magic? That's what today's piece is about, so lets get to it..
At the foundation of a soup is its broth (which can be prepared ahead of time and frozen, or prepared on the day of the meal. A broth is made by boiling together suitable solid ingredients (bones, shells, vegetables, aromatics) to extract flavors and build a complex multi-layered single flavor. The solid ingredients can be sifted out once the broth is done.
For the sake of scientific completeness, we have heard of ready made powder or solid cubes of ready made stock. Those are thrown in boiling water to assure that the salt, msg, preservatives, coloring and flavoring agents, stabilizers, and other forms of industrial debris all mix together well. We recommend against pre-made stock.
On Birthing Broth
What broth is particularly good for fasting?
While virtually the bones of any edible animal can be used to make a broth, we recommend chicken for breaking the fast. It's gentle on the stomach, light, nutritious, and very delicious. If there is meat on the bones you're using, make sure to remove the fatty skin, to keep the broth light. If you have time to let the broth cool off before making a soup, you can skim the fat off the surface when the broth cools.
Adding carrots, celery, onion, zucchini, and aromatics to the boil makes the broth more flavorful and nutritious, and is a great way to use vegetables that are suffering through their midlife crisis. Limpy carrots and wimpy celery have solid flavors and that can make your broth pop.
Of course, when you're done boiling the broth you can sift out all the solid ingredients. Or.. You can keep them in.
The broth is only the foundation of this great palace we call soup. Now we need rooms and balconies and decoration and furniture..
There are two main soup species: clear soups, and thick soups. In clear soups, the liquid element is the broth, and it has a watery texture. Thick soups have a thick textures because of the use of thickening agents (such as cream, egg, flour and several others). We prefer pureeing vegetables and whole grains to make a thick soup. It's lighter, healthier, and after a long fast, your body is just crying for it.
Using, butter, cheese, cream to thicken and flavor a soup is hard labor for the body to break down. Have mercy..
While the broth may repeat in many soups, we like to feature a specific ingredient with every soup. For example, lentil soup, turkey and chicken meatballs, butternut squash etc.. Making a very tasty and very healthy soup is very easy. Just remember, don't use industrial pre-made stock.
One Last Tip
If you use roasted bone for making the broth, you will be adding amazing smoky, rendered fat flavors to the mix. That is a righteous act in normal days. For fasting, it may make the broth a little heavier, so use gently.