How to Make Cream Soups
Year after year, customers rave about our cream soups, and many of them ask what my secret is. And while I could make this into an esoteric mystery, I’d rather tell you the honest truth – it’s all about proper technique, and simplification.
First, I’d like to add some definition. Many of the cream soups that I make are not actually “cream” soups – as they do not always contain dairy – but are puree soups. Meaning, that I simply puree well-cooked vegetables with broth, and seasonings, to achieve a “creamy” consistency. But for the purpose of this article, we will talk about cream soups and understand that this includes puree soups as well.
There are generally three parts to a cream soup:
- The solid (in most cases, a vegetable or vegetables)
- The liquid (in most cases a chicken, beef or vegetable broth)
- Seasoning (this is most likely dry spices, garilc, onion, salt, oils and liqueurs)
When choosing the main flavor of a cream soup, we normally select a single vegetable (such as butternut squash, for example). And all we have to do to this vegetable is to cook it to a point where it is soft enough to puree with a blender.
We then add the liquid portion of the soup which is often chicken, beef or vegetable stock. We simmer the vegetable in the stock until it’s soft. A good amout of stock is usually about an inch above the solids. And when it has cooked down (evaporated some) we add a little more to reach the same level as the solids before pureeing.
After we puree the soup, and are happy with the consistency, we season it. This third part – seasoning – is probably where experience and practice pays off. As there are millions of different seasoning combinations, the world is your oyster. But if you have never made a cream soup before, I would recommend starting with some salt and pepper, and adding one ingredient at a time to see how you like it. And in this way, you will develop your own cream soup recipes.
Try this simple butternut squash soup to get you practicing.
Very Basic Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
- 6 cups of diced butternut squash
- Enough chicken stock to top the squash by one inch
- 1 tsp of curry powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Put the butternut squash, curry powder and chicken stock in a soup pot and bring to a medium simmer.
- Simmer until the squash can be squished very easily with a fork on the side of the pot. About 30 minutes. If too much chicken stock has evaporated, add more to meet the top of the cooked squash.
- Put the soup in a blender and puree. You may also use a stick blender, hand blender, or immersion blender to blend the soup right in the pot.
- Taste the soup without any seasoning.
- Add some salt and pepper, stir, and taste. Add enough salt and pepper until it tastes good to you.
- Now you are done, and you have made your first pureed butternut squash soup!
Now, from this recipe, you may wish to add more ingredients the next time you make it, to make it more complex. For example, you can fry up a diced onion in the pot until soft, before you add the squash. Or, you can add a tsp of grated ginger, or some yogurt and cilantro at the end, or you can add diced carrots along with the onion. The possibilities for customizing your soup are endless.