THICK SOUPS,Cream Soups ,The classic cream soups,Curdling,Standards of quality for cream soups,Basic procedures for making cream soups


Cream Soups

Learning to cook professionaly, as you have already heard, is not learning recipes but learing basic techniques that you can apply to specific needs.

The basic techniques of sauce making were discussed in Chapter 8. If we tell you that cream soups are simply dilutes Veloute or Bechamel sauce, flavored with the ingredient for which they are named.  You should almost be able to make a cream of celery soup without any further instructions.

It is not quite that simple. There are some complications, but they are mostly a matter detail. You already know the basic techniques.



The classic cream soups


In the great kitchens of several decades ago, cream soup were exactly as we have just described : diluted, flavored sauce. In fact, what we now call cream soups were divided into two groups, Veloutes and Cream.

  1. Veloutes soups consisted of :

Veloute sauce

Pureed flavoring ingredient

White stock to dilute

Liaison, to finish

  1. Cream soups consisted of :

Bechamel sauce

Pureed flavoring ingredient

Milk (or white stock), to dilute

Cream, to finish


These methods were natural to large kitchens that always had quantities of Veloute and Bechamel sauces on hand. Making a soup was simply a matter of finishing of a sauce.

Modern cooks view these methods as being complicated, and have devised other methods that seem simpler. But most of the sauce steps are involved , you still have to thicken a liquid with roux ( or other starch ) and cook and puree the ingredient, and add the milk or cream.

The classical method is still important to learn. It will give you more versatility, it makes an exellent soup and besides, it is really is not any harder or longer, in the final analysis. In addtion, you will learn two other methods much in use today.

But first, we will consider a frequently encountered problem with cream soups.



Since  cream soups contain milk or cream or both, curdling is a common problem. The heat of cooking and the acidity of many of the other soup ingredients are the causes of this curdling.

Fortunately, there is one fact we can use to avoid curdling: roux and other starch thickeners stabilize milk and cream. Caution is still necessary, because soups are relatively thin and do not contain enough starch to be completely curdle proof.


Observe the following guideline to help prevent curdling:

  1. Do not combine milk and simmering stock without the presence of roux or other starch. Do one of the following:
    1. Thicken the stock before adding it to the soup.
    2. Thicken the milk before adding it to the soup.
  2. Do not add cold milk or cream to simmering soup. Do one of the following:
    1. Heat the milk in separate saucepan.
    2. Temper the milk by gradually adding some of the hot soup to it. Then add it to the rest of the soup.
  3. Do not boil soups after milk or cream has been added.


Standards of quality for cream soups

  1. Thickness. About the consistency of heavy cream. Not to thick.
  2. Texture. Smooth; no graininess or lumps (except garnish, of course).
  3. Taste. Distince flavour of the main ingredient (asparagus in cream of asparagus, etc). No starchy tast from uncooked roux.


Basic procedures for making cream soups

The following  methods apply to most cream soups. Individual ingredient may require some variation.


Method 1

  1. Prepare veloute sauce or bechamel sauce (p.119-120), using roux.
  2. Prepare main flavouring ingredient. Cut vegetables into thin slices. Sweat them in butter about 5 minutes to develop flavour. Do not brown. Green leafy vegetables must be blanched before stewing in butter. Cut puoltry and seafood into small pieces for simmering.
  3. Add flavouring ingredient from step 2 to veloute or bechamel and simmer untill tender. Exception: finished tommatoo pure is added for cream of tomato; further cooking is not neccesary.
  4. Skim any feat or scum carefully from the surface pf the soup.
  5. Puree the soup. Pass it through a food mill and strain in a fine china cap or just strain in a fine china cap, pressing down hard on the solid in ingredients to force out liquid and some of the pulp. Soup sould be very smooth.

Poultry and seafood ingredients maybe pureed or reserved for  garnish.

  1. Add hot white stock or milk to thin soup to proper consistency.
  2. Adjust seasonings.
  3. Add service time, finish the liaison (p.115) or heavy cream.


Method 2

  1. Sweat vegetables ingredients (except tomatoes) in butter ; do not let them color.
  2. Add flour. Stir well to make a roux. Cook the roux for a few minutes, but do not let it start to brown.
  3. Add white stock, beating with a whip as you slowly pour it in.
  4. Add any vegetables, other solid ingredients, or flavorings that were not sauteed in step 1.
  5. Simmer until all ingredients are tender.
  6. Skim any fat that has risen to the surface.
  7. Puree and or strain ( as in method 1 )
  8. Add hot white stock or milk to thin soup to proper consistency.
  9. Adjust seasonings.
  10. At service time , finish with heavy cream or liaison.


Method 3

  1. Bring white stock to a boil.
  2. Add vegetables and other flavoring ingredients if desired, some or all of the vegetables may first be cooked slowly in butter for a few minutes to develop flavors.
  3. Simmer until all ingredients are tender.
  4. Thicken with roux, beurre manie, or other starch.
  5. Simmer until no starch taste remains.
  6. Skim fat from surface.
  7. Puree and or strain ( as in methode 1 ) .
  8. Add hot or temperet milk and or cream. Light cream sauce may be used, if desired, to avoid thinning the soup or curdling the milk.
  9. Adjust seasonings.

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