a cream soup, like this hearty mushroom, for a warm
beginning to your holiday meal.
soups are the perfect starter for a holiday dinner.
decadent and velvety smooth, they make an opening statement
that a truly sumptuous meal is to follow.
the bonus is that cream soups are simple to make and can be
relatively inexpensive, depending on the vegetable used.
is the time of year when the cold sets in, when you want
something warm, comforting and filling, with a little more
substance to it," said chef Mark Kent, who teaches
cooking at the University of Akrons hospitality
management program and manages University of Akrons
student-run Crystal Room Restaurant.
said cream soups are easy to prepare: simmer a vegetable in
stock until tender, puree, strain to remove any fibrous
bits, and add cream and seasonings.
recipes use a thickening roux instead of cream, or a
thickener like flour and cream. Other recipes use pureed
rice or potatoes instead of cream to lower the fat, or
substitute half-and-half instead of heavy cream.
basic preparation technique remains pretty much the same,
despite the nuances of any particular recipe. Some recipes
call for aromatics like celery, carrots and onions to be
sauteed first, then simmered along with the vegetable, to
increase the flavor of the soup.
also noted that some vegetables, such as butternut squash,
taste better when roasted first to bring out their sweetness
really adds an intense flavor and takes it to another
level," he said.
hard vegetables like winter squash or carrots are
substantial enough when cooked to make a thick soup without
cream soups, particularly when they are starting the meal,
are intended to be served in small portions of one cup or
less, so that also helps to keep the calories in check.
cautioned that when making a cream soup, it is important to
not add cold cream into hot puree, as it may curdle. Cool
the puree first, or warm the cream, and "add the cream
just before serving, if possible."
cream soups are seasoned with salt and white pepper
never black pepper so that the color of the soup is not
marred by flecks of black, Kent said. But some recipes
ignore this rule.
working with inexpensive produce like carrots or broccoli, a
cream soup is a very affordable dish. However, a soup made
from out-of-season produce or exotic ingredients gourmet
mushrooms, for example can be more expensive to prepare.
are three easy cream soup recipes that would be a good
starter for any meal.
OF MUSHROOM SOUP
chopped mushrooms, about 1 1/4 lbs. (see note)
cup finely chopped celery
cups thinly sliced leek (white part only)
cup all-purpose flour
fresh thyme sprig
cups heavy cream, heated
lemon juice to taste
ground white pepper to taste
tablespoons of the butter in a soup pot over medium heat.
Add the chopped mushrooms, celery and leek. Cook, stirring
frequently, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes.
in the broth gradually. Add the thyme sprig, bring to a
simmer, and cook for 30 minutes.
melt the remaining butter in a skillet. Add the sliced
mushrooms and saute until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and reserve.
and discard the thyme. Puree the soup, then strain through
cheesecloth or a fine sieve. Return the soup to the pot and
place over low heat. Add the heavy cream and season to taste
with the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Heat the soup, but do
in heated bowls, garnished with the reserved cooked
Regular white mushrooms work well in this soup, or use a
combination of white and exotic mushrooms, depending on your
taste and what is available.
"The Culinary Institute of America: The New Book of
OF BROCCOLI SOUP
broccoli florets (about 1 1/4 lbs.)
low-salt chicken broth
plus 4 tsp. whipping cream
tbsp. unsalted butter
broccoli in large pot of boiling salted water until tender
but still bright green, about 5 minutes. Drain broccoli. Set
aside 4 small florets for garnish.
broth and 1 cup cream in heavy large saucepan and bring to
boil. Working in batches, puree broccoli, broth mixture and
butter in blender until smooth, about 45 seconds per batch.
Return puree to same pan. Season soup to taste with salt and
white pepper. (Soup can be made up to 8 hours ahead. Cool
slightly, cover and refrigerate.)
soup to simmer, thinning with water if desired. Ladle soup
into 4 bowls. Drizzle 1 teaspoon cream over each; garnish
with reserved florets.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
cup diced onion
cup diced celery
cup diced carrot
ground black pepper or white pepper
chicken stock or low-salt chicken broth
tsp. ground toasted coriander, optional
cups roasted butternut squash (recipe follows)
cup half-and-half, optional
tbsp. toasted pumpkin seeds, optional, for garnish
the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until
hot. Add the onion, celery, carrot and cinnamon stick, and
saute until soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Season
with salt and pepper.
the chicken stock and the coriander, if using, and bring to
a boil. Simmer for several minutes. Stir in the squash, then
simmer gently to let the flavors meld, about 10 minutes.
Discard the cinnamon stick.
the soup in a blender until smooth. (The soup can be made
ahead to this point, cooled, covered and refrigerated for
several days, or frozen for about 1 month. It will thicken
as it cools and may need thinning with stock or water when
the soup to the pan and reheat gently. Add the
half-and-half, if using. Adjust the seasoning with salt and
the soup into serving bowls. Garnish with the pumpkin seeds,
butternut squash, about 3 lbs.
squash. Cut in half and remove seeds. Cut into cubes.
with olive oil. Place on baking sheet and roast in a
400-degree preheated oven until squash is soft and slightly
warm squash in a food processor until smooth.
about 2 cups puree.