I love reading cookbooks and food magazines so much – they are like novels to me. Some of the most enjoyable aspects of this hobby is reading the narrative behind how each recipe or article is inspired. I have a lot of ‘ah-hah’ moments as I read through a vintage cookbook or modern cookbooks. The new techniques that have been developed or the old tried and true methods that have long been forgotten are exciting tidbits to incorporate into my day-to-day cooking or baking. This is precisely what happened the other day when I was researching gluten-free thickening techniques. I came across this recipe, which has a very unique technique. I have rewritten the recipe to simplify it (reducing the number of pots and pans used) and I also added bacon and aromatic vegetables. I think that you will find this recipe for Bacon, Mushroom and Toasted Brown Rice Soup with Aromatic Vegetables to be a hearty, flavourful and very satisfying soup.
Experience from my culinary training and working in a high volume restaurant environment has taught me to read a recipe from beginning to end before I start. This is a process that I emphasized to my apprentices as it serves several purposes. You should be asking yourself a number of questions:
- Does the recipe make sense as you read it through to the end?
- Do the steps in the method flow easily from the ingredient list? I often find that the ingredients are out of order from the steps in the instructions.
- Do I have all of the ingredients before I start?
- What is the yield of the recipe? How many servings/portions?
- What is the amount of time required to make it (in my work, it often meant starting certain components of a dessert two or three days ahead).
- Can I make any part of this recipe ahead?
- Do all the steps in the method/instructions make sense?
This particular recipe is a prime example of why you need to ask these important questions. You will note as you read the recipe that this soup uses brown rice in two ways – firstly, as a wholesome soup ingredient and secondly, as a toasted pulverized rice powder (See Method – Step 1 below and Chef Talk). The toasted rice powder is added as a natural thickening agent to the rich broth as it simmers.…