English hearty soups

A meal cooked using only one pan and served in the dish in which it was cooked has an obvious advantage when it comes to washing up. meal-in -a-bowl soups are easy and economic to make; and they are hot, tasty and filling - ideal family fare on a cold day.

There are two types of hearty soups. The end result is much the same in both cases, really a cross between a soup and a stew comprising a thin but richly-flavoured liquid filled with meat, vegetables of your choice.

soups.jpg" align="left" alt="hearty soups. " title="hearty soups. "> There are only two types of soup - the cooking time. Broths are based on meaty bones and water, so long simmering is essential to extract maximum flavour from the meat to produce tasty liquid. The liquid element in stock-based soup is, of course, very tasty right from the start, so cooking time is relatively brief - just long enough to cook the ingredients that are served in it.

The liquid is not thickened with flour, cream or eggs in either broths or stock-based soups, but some of the ingredients (such as potato) may disintegrate during cooking and thus thicken the liquid a little. The soups are made substantial by the inclusion of the many solid ingredients which are cooked and served in it. You can use all sorts of vegetables, pulses (dried peas, beans and lentils), pasta, rice, barley, tapioca, meat (including sliced Frankfurters and other sausages), cheese and even poached eggs. These soups are, therefore, an excellent and economic way of using up leftovers or quantities of fresh food too small to make a dish on their own.

The hearty soups are excellent for inexpensive family meals, particularly if they are served with crusty bread and butter. They are so filling that all you need serve afterwards is cheese and salad or fruit. You can also adapt these soups for the first course of a meal: for the same number of people, use the quantity of bones and liquid specified in a recipe but reduce the other ingredients by half to make the soup slightly less substantial.
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