Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How To Make a Cream Soup

One morning, toward the end of last semester, the phone rang.
"Hi Mom. How do you make soup?"
"Hi Speedy. Use whatever is in the fridge, pantry, freezer or on sale and let that direct you."
At most a handful, or not much more of any sort of vegetable is needed unless of course it is an all cauliflower or all something else soup. Typically, I use more potato in a chowder or to stretch.

This cream soup has tinned salmon and frozen cod. Quite a bit of cod actually, and GG wanted to add scallops too, but it looked like we'd already enjoyed those in an Alfredo sauce. I dug through the fridge and found leftover cooked potatoes, raw mushrooms purchased for another menu, frozen corn, a broken carrot, cauliflower which had seen better days, broccoli and swiss chard, onions and garlic. Another day may have yielded more or less or different ingredients. However, the one vegetable I cannot make a soup without, is onion. I always start with an onion.

A cream soup is done in two parts - sauteing and cooking the vegetables in a broth and then preparing and adding the cream part. I also tend to cut the vegetables smaller for cream soups. And the carrot always gets shredded. It's just how I like it. Because this particular cream soup has fish, it will not keep like another soup - so eat it up. Other soups can be thoroughly reheated on about day four after making and will last a full week.
Chop fine two onions.
Mince some garlic cloves.
Slice and roughly dice some mushrooms.
Melt some butter or cooked chicken fat and saute onion and garlic until limp and pale golden.

For a cream of mushroom I would caramelize this to a deep colour.
Add water or broth - chicken, vegetable or beef, if for a cream of mushroom soup - enough to cover. Add 1-2 packets of chicken bouillon when using water.
Add a tablespoon of salt.
Add some pepper.

If accustomed to canned soups this may not seem enough salt. Speedy and his brothers have not been accustomed to eating canned soup so this is not usually a problem.
Shred one fat carrot.
Add about a cup and a half chopped cauliflower
Add a stalk of chopped broccoli.
(For soup, I don't peel the broccoli.)
Add four or five leaves of chopped swiss chard.
Let that cook until the vegetables are soft.
A package of frozen cod was chopped into large chunks and dropped in
a few minutes before the vegetables were finished.

Fish doesn't take long to cook so I added it here. If I were adding raw chicken it would have gone in just before the vegetables.Next, dice and add some cooked potato leftover from Sunday dinner.

If there were no cooked potatoes on hand I would have peeled some and added them in with the other raw vegetables above.Now add any cooked meat, preferably white like fish, chicken, seafood.
I added this tin of red salmon broken up into chunks.
Add about four cups of fresh milk.

I usually add a thick white sauce but was in a hurry so added the milk plain and used cornstarch to thicken as if making gravy. The only drawback with this is that cornstarch tends to thin out if overcooked. White sauce is milk thickened with butter and flour with salt and pepper - cheese too, if you want cheese sauce. I make it in the microwave.
Scoop out approximately three teaspoons of cornstarch,
mix with milk and stir well.

If milk isn't wanted in the soup, it can be thickened with a puree made from a portion of the hot cooked vegetables and broth or added mashed potatoes or other puree vegetable. GG has often been fooled to think he was eating real cream soup when in fact it contained no milk whatsoever.
Once the cornstarch and milk is mixed,
add some hot liquid from the soup and stir well.
Add that to the soup and stir that well.

This is exactly how to make gravy.
Take the soup off the heat and stir the mixture in.
There is enough heat in the soup to cook the cornstarch and thicken the soup.
Finally, I tossed in a couple of handfuls of frozen kernel corn.
Stir in some paprika;
add parsley too, mostly for colour.

This is how I make cream soup or chowder. And now that Speedy has a lovely new soup pot from Christmas, he can too.


Aleutie said...

Yam! Inspired me to photograph and post my favourites :)

Scriptor Senex said...

I make lots of soups but have never done a cream soup - today will be an experimenting day!


Oh Yum! I've not had breakfast yet - but so fancy that salmon-y soup!

Vicky x

Mental P Mama said...


Caution Flag said...

Oh, you are a marvel!

I heard "Thru the Bible" come on the other day and thought of you :)

JennyTheArtist said...

WOW! This looks delicious! great photos, too!

Jeanne said...

Love all you share
Love you

Richard D said...

Mmmm - I think I need to try this. I've never done well with cream soups or creamy gravies. It's time to revisit. Thanks.

Leila said...

Lovely. You have inspired me to make a creamy veggie/salmon soup today I's cold outside and I'm tired of making pizza on Fridays!

I love your advice: let what's in the fridge guide you! I've never really understood soup recipes for the most part. Soup out the fridge, right??

Sue said...

My husband will love this! Thanks for the inspiration.

Decadent Housewife said...

Glad this inspired you all.

Aleutie, Yam - yum - now you've inspired me!

Glory von Hathor said...

Please tell me more about chowder!

Decadent Housewife said...

Chowder is simply a thicker cream soup - usually with some kind of seafood.

My chowders start out with sauteing onion and garlic in butter and then I add lots of diced potatoes, a shredded carrot or two, some chopped parsley and then any kind of seafood or combination of seafood - corn too. Cover with water or broth, add a Tbsp of salt. Let that cook. Once that is thoroughly cooked then add the white/cheese sauce.

For chowder I make a thick white sauce for the cream part - whisk together 2 1/2 cups milk + 1/4 cup flour + 3 - 4 Tbsp. butter or for a cheese sauce add in 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar (skip the butter - enough fat in the cheese.)

Microwave this on high in 3 - 5 minute intervals mixing well in between. Keep doing this until it is thick.

White or chili pepper can be added to give it heat.

Will post more about our soup making over here.

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