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Where to look for seasonal soups

squash soup

Question:

Where can I get seasonal soup recipes for soups of the day?

– Abby Singh, Canteen 900, Forty Fort, PA

Answer:

I think you’re asking the wrong question. There is no shortage of places to get great recipes for foodservice, including our own Recipedia. Recipes have important functions in restaurants—providing a consistent guest experience, predictability in purchasing and cost control, and allowing for ease of operations that can flex around staffing changes, for example.

To be sure, you can find recipes based around seasonal ingredients through a database search. For example, if you have an abundance of great corn (as we do in much of the country at this time of year), you can search Recipedia or another site and come up with this Avocado-Spiked Corn Soup.

But even better for seasonal specials—like a soup of the day that you don’t need to replicate again—is cooking by method. Using a standard recipe platform for a clear (broth) soup, puree soup, cream soup, chowder, or consommé, you can combine seasonal ingredients and flavors. This is the way many chefs cook and the way I teach my students. If you know how to do a standard (and wintery) mushroom soup, for example, the same technique can be used for whatever is coming out of the garden as we speak—zucchini, carrot, tomato, and so on, without needing to search for a recipe that’s the exact right fit.

A good source for flavor combinations is still Karen and Page and Andrew Dornenburg’s The Flavor Bible.

More on cooking by method here

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