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Dee’s Tips for Creative Cream-style Soups

 

Winter time is soup time. 

I prefer cream-style soup but I make it without the cream!

Making delicious, organic, home-made soup is simple and healthful for you and your family.  Opening a can or box or soup mix is certainly an alternative, but firstly, they are LOADED with sodium (read the label per serving) and, frankly, you just don’t know what is in that can!

 

 

 

  Here are some cream-style soup-making tips for you:

 

  • Use whatever vegetables are in season and on sale! I make creamed soups out of potatoes, potatoes and leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, squash (any kind), beets, carrots — pretty much anything veggie!
  • If you can afford it, invest in an immersion blender that is heat resistant. It will change your life!! Lots of sales after Christmas!
  • You will always need some kind of base ingredient such as onion, leek, garlic. The more they are cooked or caramelized, the more nutty the flavor. If you want to keep the flavor lighter, just sweat them before adding the liquid.
  • Use one or two small diced potatoes to naturally thicken a pot of soup.
  • When you are serving a creamed soup, such as cauliflower, and you want a cheddar or bleu cheese flavor, don’t put the cheese in the cooking pot. Instead, serve a couple of different cheeses at the table and have your guests or family choose the one they want to top their soup with. You will find less is more this way!
  • Either make home made broth from left-over chicken parts or if eating vegetarian, left-over veggie pieces and stems.  Make it in larger batches and freeze it for later use.
  • If using boxed or canned soups, look for the organic and less sodium variety. Trader Joe’s has a vegetable broth that is a nice blend.
  • You can blend flavors by using half broth and half almond milk.
  • You can use all almond milk to cook your veggies instead of broth.
  • If you want to “finish” the soup with a little “cream”, try using soy cream.  It’s yummy!
  • If using boxed or canned chicken or veggie broth, use 1/2 broth to 1/2 water ratio.
  • For thicker soups, always use just enough liquid to cover the veggies. You can always add more liquid later, but can’t take it out!
  • One Serrano or Jalapeno chili is really nice to add a bit of fresh spice to a soup. You might want to take it out of the pot before you begin to puree it, though. 
  • I add one Serrano to a pot of cauliflower or potato soup. To make it taste like something great from Mexico, I also add a sprig of fresh lemon oregano.  This can then be topped with a little Mexican blend shredded cheese.
  • For an Asian flair, try putting in some peeled ginger. Ginger can be pretty spicy, so again, start small. Good in squash soups, beet and carrot soups.
  • You can also create a more Asian flavor by adding a small amount of coconut milk to soups such as butternut squash. You can get “light” coconut milk, which has 4 Grams of fat per 1/3 cup, so go lightly. There is no cholesterol in coconut milk.
  • Make a big pot and freeze the rest in individual portions or family portions. Vacuum sealing bags do the job nicely and don’t take up as much space in your freezer. Always label and date them so you know what you are eating in 3 months!
  • When adding spice, a little goes a long way. Again, rule of thumb is, you can always add more, but can’t take it out once it’s in there. Start off slowly and ramp up as needed.
  • If I’m using herbs, I ALWAYS use fresh because the flavor is more subtle. You get an essence and not a blast!  For example, I like to put a large sprig of fresh thyme into my potato leek soup. It’s OK just to wash it and toss it in there, stem and all. By the time the veggies are cooked, all the leaves have fallen off the stem into the soup. Then you can  just scoop the stem out. Saves a lot of time (or is that thyme??) Oh goodness, Dee!
  • I usually add a grind of fresh nutmeg or a dash of grated nutmeg to soups such as potato, cauliflower, potato-leek and sometimes others. Experiment and see if you like the flavor. I think it “grounds” the soup. 
  • Sauté your base ingredients, such as leek, onion, garlic, fennel, or whatever you are using, in olive oil to save on cholesterol.  It won’t save you on fat (all the same), but is healthier. You won’t need much oil, maybe 1 Tablespoon or so per pot.  If you really want the flavor of butter (and sometimes you just do!), add only a couple of teaspoons of butter for flavor into the olive oil.
  • If using a stand alone blender, be sure to cool the soup a little before you put it in the glass or plastic!
  • If using an immersion blender (heaven on earth), keep the blender near the bottom of the soup and just slightly tilted. Move it around the bottom that way because if you lift it up, whooosssshhhh! You won’t like your soup all over your walls!

 

So, see? You can make creamy soup without the cream and make so many variations that you won’t realize how good you are being to yourself! Practice and experiment.

 

Use the Cream-less Creamy Butternut Squash Soup as a basic recipe and GO!

See the “Recipes” tab

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One Response to “Dee’s Tips for Creative Cream-style Soups”

  1. chefdee says:

    So glad to hear that! Thanks for the comment. Chef Dee

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