cover image THE BEST RECIPE: Soups & Stews

THE BEST RECIPE: Soups & Stews

, . . Boston Common, $29.95 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-936184-53-1

The newest addition to the Cook's Illustrated (How to Grill, How to Make a Pizza, etc.) library dives into the world of soups and stews, from the most basic chicken stock to a silky lobster bisque. This weighty volume is divided into four helpful sections: the first covers equipment and ingredients (including recipes for the necessary homemade stocks); the middle two focus on soups and stews; and the final one addresses the matter of accompaniments. Inserts provide descriptions of ingredients, details of their preparation, and the impact they have on dishes. An introduction to each recipe describes the testing processes involved in determining its final proportions and directions, so that chefs are treated to the "why" as well as the "how." Soups range from the classic Chicken Noodle Soup and the warming Mushroom-Barley Soup to the spicy, creamy Indian Dal Soup, a variation on the Lentil Soup. Chilled soups include favorites like Borscht and Vichyssoise, as well as more unusual fruit soups, such as Chilled Melon Soup sweetened with honey. For stews, there's everything from the Hearty Beef Stew to the robust, sweet and piquant Country Captain Chicken, which was one of FDR's personal favorites. The vegetarian is not forgotten, either: there are vegetable stews and suggestions for animal-friendly substitutions in several of the recipes. Accompaniments, like the subtle Basmati Rice, Pilaf Style or the fluffy Mashed Potatoes, perfectly complement this impressive compendium of liquid cuisine. (Nov. 15)