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The Best Recipe: Soups & Stews Hardcover – September 15, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Best Recipe
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Cook's Illustrated; 1 edition (September 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0936184531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0936184531
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Everyone loves soups and stews--but how best to prepare these sometimes challenging dishes? The Best Recipe: Soups & Stews, part of the Best Recipe series from the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, has the answer. Applying its signature "trial and error" approach to the business of choosing definitive recipes and techniques, the magazine tested 23 noodle soups, 40 corn chowders, and 54 beef Burgundies. The results? Not only 200 exemplary recipes--ranging from Manhattan Clam Chowder and Cream of Tomato Soup to Lobster Bisques, Chicken Noodle Soup, Irish Stew, and Beef Goulash--but an armament of technical information, tips, and equipment recommendations all cooks will welcome. Among these are authoritative stock-making suggestions, keys to choosing tender stew meat, and recommendations that yield a superior crust for onion soup. Readers also learn why blender jars with interior flutes produce the best purées, which brand of matzo meal to choose, and how best to crush tomatoes and slice flank steak. The book also covers accompaniments such as baguettes, mashed potatoes, rice, and cornbread. With ingredient profiles, "Science" sidebars (How Starches Work, is one), plus step-by-step how-to illustrations, Soups & Stews will help all cooks achieve mastery of these beloved dishes --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

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.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Everything about the Cook's Illustrated book series impresses.
The Bee Bee
The very best part of each recipe development is in the illustration of how to select good ingredients and how do perform certain common techniques.
B. Marold
If you like this book, you may also like Bernard Clayton's 1987 paperback, The Complete Book of Soups and Stews.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By A reader in Michigan on October 17, 2001
The Best Recipe books have an interesting perspective on cooking and cookbooks. Resolutely scientific, recipes are developed in their test kitchens according to methodical experimentation -- you get not only the best recipe, but insight into the variations of the recipe that failed. This makes for interesting reading, and highlights many practical errors and pitfalls that spoil a good clam chowder or weaken a chicken paprikash. For example, they put to test the idea that beef bourguignon is only as good as the wine used in the cooking. (The answer, sadly, is yes -- good wine makes better beef bourguignon.) In many places, this puts them at odds with staunch traditionalists, advocating, for example, the use of canned stock in certain dishes (which is tantamount for many cooks to a heresy). The systematic approach might then threaten the art of cooking, while advocating a new scientific approach, but the results in my experience (not only this book but also from cooking illustrated from which the recipes are drawn) tend to be quite good -- and like any good scientific result, reliable.
It is worth noting that because of this detailed approach to classic dishes as problems that must be solved, there are relatively few recipes in the book relative to its length. I enjoy the reports, though they might put off someone looking for straightforward recipes.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 21, 2002
If you are not familiar with Cook's Illustrated magazine, you are in for a real treat! Every recipe I have made from their magazine, and now from this cookbook is perfect. When I was looking for a good soup and stew cookbook and I saw this one, I knew it would be the one to have. They try and retry recipes dozens of different ways until they hit upon the perfect method, perfect ingredients; and I swear, they come up with the perfect recipe. And at times, it isn't so much the ingredients as the methods that make the dish so good - little tips such as adding flour to the pan after the meat has been sauteed in the Beef Stroganoff recipe instead of flouring the beef. They even tell you how wide to slice the beef - and believe it or not, all these little tips add up to the perfect dish. No matter how many times I've made something, when I tried their recipe, it was better than the way I had been making it. The chicken stews alone are worth the price of the book.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 2, 2002
Impressive selection of soups by Jack Bishop and the Staff of Cook's Illustrated.
Asian recipes include Wonton, Hot & Sour, Thai Curry, Miso, Indian Curry, Vindaloo among others, including Oxtail Soup with Asian Flavors. I was pleased CI included this variation of oxtail soup - a favorite from my childhood.
Other European/Ethnic recipes represented are Osso Buco, Irish Stew, Scotch Broth, Bouillabaisse, Coq Au Vin, Cassoulet, Borscht, Matzo Ball Soup, Moroccan Lamb Tagine. There's many others too numerous to list, but you get the idea. There's alot of classic recipes in this collection, some with some variations.
There's also a nice selection at the end of rice, potatoes, polenta, breads and biscuit recipes - I can't think of any better accompaniment.
Hats off to the designer of The Best Recipe Series. These are some of the most elegantly designed cookbooks/references I've ever come across. I think the 2-column format appeals to the "academically inclined" in us. The finely detailed illustrations by John Burgoyne are inline with the textbook concept.
If you like this book, you may also like Bernard Clayton's 1987 paperback, The Complete Book of Soups and Stews.
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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Sandra D. Peters on October 3, 2001
These recipes were chosen over many others as a result of trial and error testing. The result is a well-organized book with delicious soup and stew recipes. With the cool days of fall and winter ahead, especially in my country, soups and stews become almost a staple meal, particularly for lunches. The chikcen noodle soup contained in this one is actually my favourite, and do not think for one minute all chicken noodle soup is chicken noodle soup because this recipe definitely stands out. Clam chowder and lobster bisque are also big hits in Eastern Canada, especially for those of us who living on this small Island where fishing is a primary resource. Clams, mussels, oysters and lobster are abundant in season.
If you are a fan of soups and stews, invest in this terrific book. The book also contains all kinds of useful tips and techniques but what impressed me the most was definitely the recipes.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By The Bee Bee TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 4, 2002
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I used to think "The Daily Soup" was the last word in preparing and making soups and stews, but it pales in comparison to this thoughtful, well executed volume. Everything about the Cook's Illustrated book series impresses. The production values are first rate, the research is superb, and the writing walks the fine line between prose and tech. I commend Mr. Kimball on his singular vision. It results in books like this one that make cooking a real pleasure for a moderately skilled cook like me. This book is a must have for every kicthen!
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 15, 2001
Another well-tested, well-written set of recipes from Cooks Illustrated! Got the book a couple of weeks ago and have had tremendous success. The Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup is out of this world and very easy; same with the Pasta e Fagioli. The Beef Stew was the first I've had with tasty tender meat, rather than the stringy stuff found elsewhere. Each one tastes great, and looks beautiful too.This weekend, Cioppino's on the menu.
This book would have recieved 5 stars if it had a few more recipes, like a Minnesota Wild Rice or a ground meat Chili recipe with beans (they do have Texas and Cincinnati Chili). Still, it has over 200 recipes and each of them is a winner.
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