Homemade Cream Soups

Homemade Cream Soups
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Opening a can of Cream of Chicken soup, adding milk and heating it was one of the first things I cooked as a kid. When I fixed a grilled cheese sandwich as well, it was a simple, but satisfying meal. For a first cooking experience it's a good one, but now that I am an older cook I realize canned soup is full of sodium, and well, it tastes "canned". In a pinch it's still a good solution, but homemade cream soups just can't be beat.
This basic recipe can be used to make an endless variety of cream soups. Store the soup in a covered container and use it in other recipes that call for canned soup during the week. If you are cutting out salt, then leave it out of the recipe. As far as the cream or milk, feel free to experiment. It may produce a thinner soup, but the taste will be the same.

Basic Cream Soup

Ingredients:

2 cups chicken broth, homemade or canned

(you can substitute vegetable broth)

1 cup finely cut vegetable (see below)

1 small onion, minced or processed fine in chopper

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

salt, pepper to taste

1 cup cream, half and half or whole milk

1-2 tsp. arrowroot,

OR 2 tablespoon each flour and butter (see directions)

Place the broth into a pan, add the cut vegetables and simmer until they are tender.While they are cooking, saute the onion in a small amount of butter until it is lightly browned. Add the onion and chopped fresh parsley to the vegetables as they finish cooking. Drain the vegetable mixture, reserving the liquid. Puree the vegetables in a blender or food processor and return to the broth. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt or pepper if needed. Add the cream or milk over a very low heat, and choose your thickening option.

Thickening Options:

Arrowroot powder: Mix the arrowroot powder with a small amount of milk and add to the soup.

Flour and butter:Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and add the flour, stirring until the mixture becomes smooth. Slowly stir into the soup.

After adding your choice of thickening, heat the soup slowly until it comes to a boil and thickens. Garnish with chopped chives, a dash of paprika, or shredded cheese.

Vegetable Options

The following vegetables can be used for cream soups. Choose one cup for the recipe above.

Asparagus

carrots

cauliflower

broccoli

1/2 cup each of broccoli and cauliflower

fresh peas

1/2 cup potatoes and 1/2 cup leeks (wash well!)

fresh spinach

Corn: Scrape corn off cobs, steam or boil lightly and add to your cream soup WITHOUT pureeing.

Mushrooms: Slice about a 1/2 pound and saute in 3 tablespoons butter until soft. As with corn, add without pureeing.

More Tips

The basic soup of puree and stock may be frozen, defrosted and then the milk and thickening added as the recipe calls for.

The cream soup variations can be served hot in the winter with hearty croutons and crusty bread. In the summer you can take advantage of the vegetables and herbs in season. Throw in a springs of basil, thyme or oregano when pureeing. For garnish use chive blossoms or nasturtium blooms for an elegant touch.

Cream soups can be served with a simple salad and bread for luncheons or as a first course for dinner. You may forget that soup even comes in a can!


Other Family Favorites

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About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.

 
 

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