By Julia Howard
The cold winter months call for hot, comforting foods, so just in time for National Soup Month, the Saratoga Farmers’ Market is showing some love for soup. There are infinite combinations of stocks, vegetables, and proteins that, when simmered together, create flavorful and lively liquids that make us feel nourished and satisfied.
Making soup from scratch can be a simple process with satisfying results. While there are culinary rules to follow for specific recipes, soups allow creativity in the kitchen and when shopping for ingredients. We recommend strolling through the farmers’ market for fresh, in-season ingredients.
First, let’s talk about aromatics – combinations of vegetables, herbs, and meats that are the foundation of your soup. Some options are onions, carrots, leeks, mushrooms, garlic, sweet potatoes, and squash. Vendors’ tables have even more stored vegetables. Chicken breast, veal, goat, and beef stew meat are excellent options for protein. Let your palette guide you, and build a soup with what you love.
Sautée aromatics in fat like olive oil, coconut oil, or butter. If beef, goat, or veal are on your ingredients list, brown this first over medium-high heat and set aside. You may cook vegetables and herbs together, adding minced garlic once the vegetables soften. If using chicken breast, cook it along with the vegetables. Embrace the mouthwatering smells during this process.
Next, add stock and water and perhaps some diced hydroponic tomatoes. Bone broth is available at the farmers’ market, or use any broth of your choice. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 20-25 minutes. The vegetables should be tender, and the meat, if used, should be thoroughly cooked. At this point, you can adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
How about some health-building greens like kale, chard, or Chinese cabbage? Greens pack flavor and nutrients into homemade soups and should be added in the last 5-10 minutes of cooking to soften but maintain their texture.
Building a soup can be fulfilling using what’s available from local farms at the farmers’ market. Perhaps you have something specific in mind, like your mom’s chicken noodle soup or a borscht recipe on your favorite food blog – visit the farmers’ market for all your soup-making needs.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Wilton Mall Food Court. Find us online at www.saratogafarmersmarket.org, where you can sign up for our weekly newsletter, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @SaratogaFarmersMarket.