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Lipsmacking Backpacking

40 41 There is something about sauces and soups that is really comforting. Its a homely, warming thing. I love them. Plus theyre a doddle to make and have infinite variations. The secret is this at the heart of every good sauce or soup is an onion. Fry one, gently if possible, until it is just starting to go translucent, and from there the world is your oyster. You can make some sauce and pour it over meat or vegetables or cook the vegetables or meat in liquid as a sauce, stew or soup. The principles are very simple make a base of strongly flavoured ingredients and add the meat and then later the liquid Onion, Water, other vegetables or meat For me, the best soups, apart from starting with a fried onion, all have a root of one sort or another in them. They give it body, and make it hearty and filling. Root soup alone alone, however, is bland bland bland. It needs something to give it flavour. This is where the veggies come in. You can go for it big time. Use any vegetable. The only rule is that you fry it off for five minutes or so with the onion. This is to bring out the flavour and avoid that boiled vegetable taste. Once youve done that, add the chopped, peeled root, cover it with water, bring it to the boil, and leave it to simmer. When the root, or the meat if you have used it, has cooked right through, you can either serve it straight or mash it into as smooth a pulp as your fork will allow. Some of my favourite soups are made by mixing vegetables from the onion family, like leeks, garlic, shallots etc with roots like potato, celeriac or sweet potatoes. Simple soups generally tends to be the most successful. Oil, Onion and Garlic if available, Tomatoes, A little water Heat up some oil in your pot and add a couple of crushed and chopped garlic cloves and the onion. Fry these for a few minutes. If you are making a meat sauce, add the meat at this point and cook it until it is browned about four minutes depending on how thick youve cut the pieces and how hot your fire is. Next add the chopped tomatoes and then a little water just enough to almost come to the level of the tomatoes. Let this simmer away for about ten minutes, or until the meat is cooked all the way through. Add more water if you find its bubbling away to nothing. To get Italian, add some herbs, bay leaves or oregano. You can also spice it up with some curry powder or ground spices.
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