What are comfort foods? We will take soups, gravies and more.
In the long standing tradition of long-standing traditions, soups, gravies, broths and other indulgent liquids has been a constant reminder of the cold weather outside and a warm fire and family inside.
Soups, gravies and more
There are many varieties and variations on these simple, yet elegant, bases, some of which you may or may not know. Let’s dive right in to the world of warm, wet, comfort foods. Comfort foods have been around for ages, and will continue to thrive due to their simplicity and the memories they invoke. There is nothing like sitting down at your grandmother’s table for a nice warm bowl of chicken noodle soup. Share the good memories and good food with your family, and try your hand at creating these different types of comfort foods.
Broth and stock
Stocks are the base for everything comfort. There are many different types of stock. Chicken, beef and vegetable are the most common, but there are also turkey stock, ham stock, fish stock and even a stock made from sticks.
The difference between a stock and a broth is, while stocks are just boiled down and concentrated liquid flavoring of whatever was put in, broth is simply a well-seasoned stock. Usually the only difference between the two is the addition of salt, but other herbs and spices can also be used to flavor the broth. A good way to tell the difference is stock is usually a clear or slightly colored liquid, while a broth usually has noticeable spices incorporated within.
While broth and stock have very subtle differences, soups are generally better defined and easier to distinguish between. Every culture has some form of soup in their arsenal of food. From egg drop soup to posole, soups are an easy and affordable way to feed a large group of people.
Almost any combination of ingredients can go into a soup. There are the traditional soups which we are familiar with, such as the broccoli and cheese variety, while others we may not have ever attempted with our pallets. In Italy, there is a white bean and prosciutto soup while kimchi is prominent in Korea. With all the varieties of soup out there, take the time and let your family try out some comfort food from other cultures.
Just like the differences in soups, gravies have a wide variety of flavors and textures. Most gravy are made from pan drippings, commonly called pan gravies, with an addition of broth or wine in order to deglaze the yummy, stuck on pieces of whatever was cooked. Other gravies are created from scratch, such as those that top biscuits.
The great thing about gravy is that many different flavor can be combined to make the perfect compliment to almost any meal. Most gravy starts out with a roux (pronounced roo) which is a combination of flower and butter, giving the gravy the thick texture and rich flavor. The roux is the base, from which, other flavors are added. For instance, the classic biscuits and gravy recipe usually calls for some breakfast sausage to be browned and added to the roux, which is then thinned out by using a stock or broth.