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1. Describe the major categories of soups.
2. Serve soups properly.
3. Prepare clarified consommé.
4. Prepare vegetable soups and other clear soups.
5. Prepare cream soups.
6. Prepare purée soups.
7. Prepare bisques, chowders, specialty soups, and national soups.
Soup, according to the dictionary, is a liquid food derived from meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables. This definition is all right as far as it goes, but there's a lot it doesn't tell us. Is a stock, straight from the stock pot, a soup? Is beef stew liquid enough to be called soup? We're interested more in production techniques than in definitions. However, a few more definitions will be necessary before we can go into the kitchen, so that we can talk to each other in the same language. Definitions aren't rules, so don't be alarmed if you hear other books or chefs use these terms differently. What matters is that you learn the techniques and are able to adapt them to many uses.
Classifications of Soups
Soups can be divided into three basic categories: clear or unthickened soups, thick soups, and special soups that don't fit the first two categories. Most of these soups, no matter what their final ingredients may be, are based on stock. Thus, the quality of the soup depends on the stock-making skills discussed in Chapter 8. Chicken stock is the most frequently used soup stock in this country.
CLEAR SOUPS These soups are all based on a clear, unthickened broth or stock. They may be served plain or garnished with a variety of vegetables and meats.
1. Broth and bouillon are two terms used in many different ways, but in general they both refer to simple, clear soups without solid ingredients. We have already defined broth (Chapter 8) as a flavorful liquid obtained from the simmering of meats and/or vegetables.
Broth is usually a by-product of simmering meat or poultry. The recipes for Simmered Fresh Beef Brisket (p. 257) and for "Boiled" Fowl (p. 315) produce not only the cooked meat or poultry but also flavorful broths, which can be served as soups when properly seasoned and garnished.
To prepare a brown meat broth, follow the procedure in the recipe for Simmered Fresh Beef Brisket, but first brown the meat and mirepoix well before adding water. Flavorful cuts such as beef shank, chuck, or neck are good for making broths.
2. Vegetable soup is a clear, seasoned stock or broth with the addition of one or more vegetables and sometimes meat or poultry products and starches.
3. Consommé is a rich, flavorful stock or broth that has been clarified to make it perfectly clear and transparent. The process of clarification is a technique that we will study in detail.
Far from being just a plain old cup of broth, a well-made consommé is considered one of the greatest of all soups. Its sparkling clarity is a delight to the eye, and its rich, full flavor, strength, and body make it a perfect starter for an elegant dinner.
Unlike clear soups, thick soups are opaque rather than transparent. They are thickened either by adding a thickening agent such as a roux, or by puréeing one or more of their ingredients to provide a heavier consistency.
1. Cream soups are soups that are thickened with roux, beurre manié, liaison, or other added thickening agents and have the addition of milk and/or cream. They are similar to Velouté and Béchamel sauces--in fact, they may be made by diluting and flavoring either of these two leading sauces.
Cream soups are usually named after their major ingredient, such as Cream of Chicken or Cream of Asparagus.
2. Purées are soups that are naturally thickened by puréeing one or more of their ingredients. They are not as smooth and creamy as cream soups.
Purées are normally based on starchy ingredients. They may be made from dried legumes (such as Split Pea Soup) or from fresh vegetables with a starchy ingredient such as potatoes or rice added. Purées may or may not contain milk or cream.
3. Bisques are thickened soups made from shellfish. They are usually prepared like cream soups and are almost always finished with cream.
The term bisque is sometimes used on menus for a variety of vegetable soups. In these cases it is really a marketing term rather than a technical term, so it is impossible to give a definition that would cover all uses.
4. Chowders are hearty American soups made from fish, shellfish, and/or vegetables. Although they are made in many different ways, they usually contain milk and potatoes. 5. Potage is a term sometimes associated with certain thick, hearty soups, but it is actually a general term for soup. A clear soup is called a potage clair in French.
SPECIALTY AND NATIONAL SOUPS
This is a catch-all category that includes soups that don't fit well into the main categories and soups that are native to particular countries or regions.
Specialty soups are distinguished by unusual ingredients or methods, such as Turtle Soup, Gumbo, Peanut Soup, and Cold Fruit Soup.
Cold soups are sometimes considered specialty soups, and in fact some of them are. But many other popular cold soups, such as jellied consommé, cold cream of cucumber soup, and Vichyssoise (vee shee swahz) are simply cold versions of basic clear and thick soups.
VEGETARIAN SOUPS AND LOW-FAT SOUPS
A great variety of vegetable-based soups are suitable for vegetarian menus. To plan vegetarian menus, review the categories of vegetarianism discussed on page 88. Vegetable soups for vegans must contain no meat or any other animal product and must be made with water or vegetable stock. To bind thick soups, use a starch slurry or a roux made with oil rather than butter. Lacto-vegetarians, on the other hand, will accept soups containing butter, milk, or cream.
Since the appeal of vegetarian vegetable soups depends entirely on the freshness and the quality of the vegetables and not on the richness of meat stocks, be especially careful to use high-quality ingredients and to avoid overcooking.
Clear soups are especially suitable for people seeking low-fat foods. Consommés and clear vegetable soups are virtually fat-free, especially if the vegetables have not been sweated in fat before being simmered.
Thick soups can be kept low in fat by thickening them with a slurry of starch (such as arrowroot, potato starch, or cornstarch) and cold water rather than with a roux. For cream soups, reduce or omit the cream and instead use evaporated skim milk. Purée soups are usually more adaptable than cream soups to low-fat diets, because the vegetable purée adds body and richness to the soup without requiring added fat. A little yogurt or evaporated skim milk can be used to give creaminess to a purée soup. Even garnishing a serving of soup with a teaspoonful of whipped cream gives a feeling of richness while adding only a gram or two of fat.
Service of Soups
STANDARD PORTION SIZES
Appetizer portion: 6 to 8 oz (200 to 250 mL). Main course portion: 10 to 12 oz (300 to 350 mL).
TEMPERATURE Serve hot soups hot, in hot cups or bowls.
Serve cold soups cold, in chilled bowls, or even nested in a larger bowl of crushed ice.
HOLDING FOR SERVICE
Strangely enough, some chefs who take the greatest care not to overcook meats or vegetables will nevertheless keep a large kettle of soup on the steam table all day. You can imagine what a vegetable soup is like after 4 or 5 hours at these temperatures.
1. Small-batch cooking applies to soups as well as to other foods. Heat small batches frequently to replenish the steam table with fresh soup.
2. Consommés and some other clear soups can be kept hot for longer periods if the vegetable garnish is heated separately and added at service time.
Soup garnishes may be divided into three groups.
1. Garnishes in the soup.
Major ingredients, such as the vegetables in clear vegetable soup, are often considered as garnishes.
Consommés are generally named after their garnish, such as Consommé Brunoise, containing vegetables cut into brunoise shape (1/8-inch dice).
Vegetable cream soups are usually garnished with carefully cut pieces of the vegetable from which they are made.
This group of garnishes includes meats, poultry, seafood, pasta products, and grains such as barley or rice.
These garnishes are treated as part of the preparation or recipe itself, not as something added on.
An elegant way to serve soup with a solid garnish is to arrange the garnish attractively in the bottom of a heated soup plate. This plate is set before the diner, and then the soup is ladled from a tureen by the dining room staff.
Clear soups are generally served without toppings, to let the attractiveness of the clear broths and the carefully cut vegetables speak for themselves. Occasional exceptions are toppings of chopped parsley or chives.
Thick soups, especially those that are all one color, are often decorated with a topping. Toppings should be placed on just before service, so that they won't sink or lose their fresh appearance. Their flavors must be appropriate to the soup.
Do not overdo soup toppings. The food should be attractive in itself.
When we define consommé as a clarified stock or broth, we are forgetting the most important part of the definition. The name consommé means, literally, "completed" or "concentrated." In other words, a consommé is a strong, concentrated stock or broth. In classical cuisine, this was all that was necessary for a stock to be called a consommé. In fact, two kinds were recognized: ordinary (or unclarified) consommé and clarified consommé.
Rule number one for preparing consommé is that the stock or broth must be strong, rich, and full flavored. Clarification is second in importance to strength. A good consommé, with a mellow but full aroma and plenty of body (from the natural gelatin) that you can feel in your mouth, is one of the great pleasures of fine cuisine. But clarification is an expensive and time-consuming procedure, and, quite frankly, it's not worth the trouble if the soup is thin and watery.
HOW CLARIFICATION WORKS
Coagulation of proteins was an important subject in our discussion of stock making, because one of our major concerns was how to keep coagulated proteins from making the stock cloudy. Strangely enough, it is this same process of coagulation that enables us to clarify stocks to perfect transparency.
Remember that some proteins, especially those called albumins, will dissolve in cold water. When the water is heated, they gradually solidify or coagulate and rise to the surface. If we control this process very carefully, these proteins will collect all the tiny particles that cloud a stock and will carry them to the surface. The stock is then left perfectly clear.
If, on the other hand, we are not careful, these proteins will break up as they coagulate and will cloud the liquid even more, just as they can do when we make stock.
The mixture of ingredients we use to clarify a stock is called the clearmeat or the clarification.
1. Lean ground meat is one of the major sources of protein that enables the clearmeat to do its job. It also contributes flavor to the consommé.
It must be lean, because fat is undesirable in a consommé. Beef shank, also called shin beef, is the most desirable meat because it is high in albumin proteins as well as in flavor and in gelatin, and it is very lean.
Beef and/or chicken meat are used to clarify chicken consommé. Meat is not used, obviously, to make fish consommé. Ground lean fish may be used, but it is normal to omit flesh altogether and use only egg whites.
2. Egg whites are included in the clearmeat because, being mostly albumin, they greatly strengthen its clarifying power.
3. Mirepoix and other seasoning and flavoring ingredients are usually included because they add flavor to the finished consommé. They do not actually help in the clarification, except possibly to give solidity to the raft. The raft is the coagulated clearmeat, floating in a solid mass on top of the consommé.
The mirepoix must be cut into fine pieces so that it will float with the raft. A large amount of a particular vegetable may be added if a special flavor is desired, as in, for example, Essence of Celery Consommé.
4. Acid ingredients--tomato products for beef or chicken consommé, lemon juice or white wine for fish consommé--are often added, because the acidity helps coagulate the protein. They are not absolutely necessary--the heat will coagulate the protein anyway--but many chefs like to use them.
PROCEDURE FOR PREPARING CONSOMMÉ
1. Start with a well-flavored, cold, strong stock or broth.
If your stock is weak, reduce it until it is concentrated enough, then cool it before proceeding, or plan on simmering the consommé longer to reduce while clarifying.
2. Select a heavy stock pot or soup pot, preferably one with a spigot at the bottom. The spigot enables you to drain off the finished consommé without disturbing the raft.
3. Combine the clearmeat ingredients in the soup pot and mix them vigorously.
4. Optional step: mix in a small amount of cold water or stock--about 4 to 8 oz per pound (250 to 500 mL per kg) of meat--and let stand 30 to 60 minutes. This allows more opportunity for the proteins that do the clarifying to dissolve out of the meat. Note: Chefs disagree on the importance of this step. Some let the mixture stand overnight in the refrigerator. Others skip this step altogether. Check with your instructor.
5. Gradually add the cold, degreased stock and mix well with the clearmeat. The stock must be cold so that it doesn't cook the proteins on contact. Mixing distributes the dissolved proteins throughout the stock, so that they can collect all the impurities more easily.
6. Set the pot over a moderately low fire and let it come to a simmer very slowly.
7. Stir the contents occasionally so that the clearmeat circulates throughout the stock and doesn't burn to the bottom.
8. When the simmering point is approaching, stop stirring. The clearmeat will rise to the surface and form a raft.
9. Move to lower heat so that the liquid maintains a slow simmer. Do not cover. Boiling would break up the raft and cloud the consommé. The same principle operates in stock making.
10. Let simmer 11/2 hours, without disturbing the raft.
11. Strain the consommé through a china cap lined with several layers of cheesecloth. If you are not using a stock pot with a spigot, ladle the consommé out carefully, without breaking up the raft. Let the liquid drain through the cheesecloth by gravity. Do not force it, or fine particles will pass through and cloud the consommé.
Remove all traces of fat from the surface. Strips of clean brown paper passed across the surface are effective in absorbing every last speck of fat, without absorbing much consommé.
13. Adjust the seasonings.
Kosher salt is preferred to regular table salt because it has no impurities or additives that could cloud the stock.
1. Clarifying hot stock.
If you do not have time to cool the stock properly before clarifying, at least cool it as much as you can. Even 10 minutes in a cold-water bath will help. Then, mix ice cubes or crushed ice with the clearmeat. This will help keep it from coagulating when the hot stock hits it. Proceed as in the basic method.
Finally, review your production planning so that you can avoid this emergency in the future.
2. Clarifying without meat.
In a pinch, you can clarify a stock with egg whites alone. Use at least three or four egg whites per gallon (4 liters) of stock, plus some mirepoix if possible. Great care is necessary, because the raft will be very fragile and easily broken up.
Egg whites and mirepoix alone are often used for clarifying fish stocks.
3. Failed clarification.
If the clarification fails because you let it boil, or for some other reason, it can still be rescued, even if there is no time for another complete clarification.
Strain the consommé, cool it as much as you can, then slowly add it to a mixture of ice cubes and egg whites. Carefully return to a simmer as in the basic method, and proceed with the clarification.
This should be done in emergencies only. The ice cubes dilute the consommé, and the egg white clarification is risky.
4. Poor color.
Beef or veal consommé, made from brown stock, should have an amber color. It is not dark brown like canned consommé. Chicken consommé is a very pale amber.
It is possible to correct a pale consommé by adding a few drops of caramel color to the finished soup. But for best results, check the color of the stock before clarification. If it is too pale, cut an onion in half and place it cut side down on a flat-top range until it is black, or char it under a broiler. Add this to the clearmeat. The caramelized sugar of the onion will color the stock.
Yield: 1 gal (4 L) Portions: 16 Portion size: 8 oz (250 mL) 20 6 oz (200 mL)
Lean beef, preferably shin, ground
1. Review the information on preparing consommé, pages 155&SHY;156.
Mirepoix, chopped into small pieces:
2. Combine the beef, mirepoix, egg whites, tomatoes, herbs, and spices in a tall, heavy stock pot. Mix the ingredients vigorously with a wooden paddle or a heavy whip.
Canned tomatoes, crushed
Parsley stems, chopped
Cold beef or veal stock (brown or white)
3. Add about a pint of cold stock and stir well. Let stand about 30 minutes. (Optional step: see p. 155 for explanation.)
4. Gradually stir in the remaining stock. Be sure the stock is well mixed with the other ingredients.
5. Set the pot on moderately low heat and let it come to a simmer very slowly. Stir occasionally.
6. When the simmering point is approaching, stop stirring.
7. Move the pot to lower heat and simmer very slowly for about 11/2 hours. Do not stir or disturb the raft that forms on top.
8. Very carefully strain the consommé through a china cap lined with several layers of cheesecloth.
Use twice the quantity of beef in the basic recipe. Add 8 oz (250 g) leeks to the mirepoix.
Use chicken stock instead of beef or veal stock. Add to the clearmeat 8 oz (250 g) chicken trimmings (such as wing tips and necks) which have been chopped and browned in a hot oven. Omit tomato and add 1 oz (30 mL) lemon juice.
Cold Jellied Consommé:
Unflavored gelatin must often be added to consommé to make jellied consommé. The amount needed depends on the strength of the stock and on the amount of jelling desired. Classically, a chilled consommé is only half jelled, more like a thick syrup. Some people, however, prefer a gelatin content high enough to solidify the consommé. In the following guidelines, use the lower quantity of gelatin for a semi-jelled soup, the higher quantity for a fully jelled soup. Also, for tomatoed consommé (Madrilène), increase the gelatin slightly, because the acidity of the tomatoes weakens the gelatin. 1. If the stock is thin when cold, add 1&SHY;2 oz (30&SHY;60 g) gelatin per gallon (4 L). 2. If the stock is slightly jelled and syrupy when cold, add 1/2&SHY;1 oz (15&SHY;30 g) gelatin per gallon (4 L). 3. If the stock is jelled when cold, no gelatin is needed. Or add up to 1/2 oz (15 g) per gallon (4 L) if a firmer texture is desired.
Gelatin may be added to the clearmeat (in step 2 of the recipe). This is the best method, because there is no danger of clouding the consommé. It may also be added to the finished consommé after softening it in cold water. See page 544 for instructions on the use of gelatin.
Increase the tomatoes in the basic recipe to 24 oz (750 g). Use beef, veal, or chicken stock. Serve hot or jellied.
Essence of Celery Consommé:
Increase the celery in the basic recipe to 1 lb (500 g).
Consommé au Porto:
Flavor the finished Consommé with 6-8 oz (200-250 mL) port wine per gallon (4 L).
Consommé au Sherry:
Flavor the finished Consommé with 6-8 oz (200-250 mL) sherry wine per gallon (4 L).
For the following consommés, prepare and cook the garnish separately. At service time, add one or two tablespoons of the garnish to each portion. See page 96 for description of cuts.
Consommé Brunoise: Onion or leek, carrot, celery, and turnip (optional), cut brunoise. Sweat lightly in butter and simmer in a little consommé until tender.
Consommé Julienne: Onion or leek, carrot, and celery, cut julienne. Prepare like Brunoise garnish.
Consommé Printanière: Small dice of spring vegetables: carrot, turnip, celery, green beans. Prepare like Brunoise garnish.
Consommé Paysanne: Thin slices of leeks, carrots, celery, turnip, and cabbage. Prepare like Brunoise garnish.
Consommé with Pearl Tapioca:
Cooked pearl tapioca.
Clear vegetable soups are made from a clear stock or broth, not necessarily clarified, with the addition of one or more vegetables and sometimes meat or poultry and/or pasta or grains. Most vegetable soups are made from meat or poultry stock or broth. Meatless or vegetarian soups are made from vegetable broth or water.
GUIDELINES FOR PREPARING VEGETABLE SOUPS
Procedures for making these soups are not complicated. Most of them are made simply by simmering vegetables in stock until done. But care and attention to details are still necessary for producing a quality soup.
1. Start with a clear, flavorful stock or broth.
This is one reason it's important to be able to make stocks that are clear, not cloudy.
2. Select vegetables and other ingredients whose flavors go well together.
Don't just throw in everything you've got. Judgment, combined with experience, must be used to create a pleasing combination. Five or six vegetables are usually enough. More than that just make a jumble.
3. Cut vegetables uniformly.
Neat, careful cutting means uniform cooking and attractive appearance. Sizes of cuts are important, too. Pieces should be large enough to be identifiable, but small enough to eat conveniently with a spoon.
4. Cooking vegetables slowly in a little butter before combining with liquid improves their flavor and gives the soup a mellower, richer taste.
5. Cook starches such as grains and pasta separately and add to the soup later.
Cooking them in the soup makes it cloudy. Potatoes are sometimes cooked directly in the soup, but they should be rinsed of excess starch after cutting, if you want to keep the soup as clear as possible.
6. Observe differences in cooking times.
Add long-cooking vegetables first, short-cooking vegetables near the end. Some vegetables, like tomatoes, need only be added to the hot soup after it is removed from the fire.
7. Don't overcook.
Some cooks feel that soups must be simmered a long time to extract flavors into the liquid. But you should already have done this when you made the stock! Vegetables in soup should be no more overcooked than vegetable side dishes, especially since the soup will probably spend a longer time in the steam table.
In addition to vegetable soups, there are many other clear or unthickened soups known to various cuisines. They range from simple broths to elaborate concoctions of meats, vegetables, starches, and other ingredients. Although many of them contain vegetables, we don't classify them as vegetable soups because other ingredients are generally more prominent.
1. Using a heavy chef's knife, cut the oxtails into sections at the joints.
2. Place the oxtails in a bake pan and brown in a 450°F (230°C) oven. When they are partially browned, add the mirepoix to the pan and brown it along with the oxtails.
Onion, medium dice
3. Place the oxtails and mirepoix in a stock pot with the stock.
Carrot, medium dice
4. Pour off the fat from the pan in which the meat was browned. Deglaze the pan with a little of the stock and add this to the stock pot.
Celery, medium dice
5. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and skin well. Add the sachet.
Brown stock (see note)
6. Simmer until the meat is tender, about 3 hours. Add a little water if necessary during cooking to keep the meat completely covered.
7. Remove the pieces of oxtail from the broth. trim the meat off the bones and dice it. Place it in a small pan with a little of the broth. Keep warm if the soup is to be finished immediately, or chill for later use.
8. Strain the broth. Degrease carefully.
9. Sweat the carrots, turnips, and leeks in the butter until half cooked.
10. Add the broth. Simmer until vegetables are tender.
11. Add the tomatoes and the reserved oxtail meat. Simmer another minute.
12. Add the sherry, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Carrots, small dice
White turnip, small dice
Leeks, white part only, cut julienne
Tomatoes (canned), drained, coarsely chopped
Note: Water is sometimes used instead of stock. If this is done, brown 4-5 lb (about 2 kg) of beef or veal bones with the oxtails and simmer in the soup with them. Double the quantity of mirepoix.
1. Using a pestle and mortar, crush the whole shrimps and crab shells.
3 lb 4 oz
Crab shells (see note)
2. Heat the sesame oil in a brazier over medium heat. Add the shrimps, crab shells, onion, celery, garlic, and red pepper. Fry until golden, stirring.
Onion, peeled and chopped
3. Add the peppercorns, sea salt, ginger, and lemon grass to the pot and mix well. Pour in the chicken stock, stir, and bring to a boil. Cook at a low simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Cool and refrigerate overnight if you want to develop a stronger flavor.
Celery stalks, medium dice
4. Strain the stock into a clean sauce pot. Heat the stock until warm, not hot.
Garlic head, cut in half
5. In a food processor or blender, blend together the red pepper, chicken meat, lemon grass, dill stems, kaffir lime leaf, star anise, tomato paste, and saffron threads. Add the egg white and mix in well.
Red bell pepper, seeded, medium dice
6. Add this mixture to the warm stock. Whisk continuously over medium heat. When just about to boil, a frothy crust will form. Stop whisking.
Oriental sesame oil
7. Make a small hole in the center of the crust with a spoon, taste the soup beneath, and season through the hole. Cook at low simmer for 20 minutes and then strain through a china cap lined with cheesecloth.
Black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
8. At service time reheat the soup. Whisk the egg whites to break them up, but do not whip to a froth. Pour into the soup in a thin steady stream, stirring slowly with a fork to create a fine thread effect.
9. Serve the soup in warm bowls and garnish with the shrimp, chives, dill sprigs, and Japanese pickled ginger.
Fresh ginger, peeled, fine dice
Lemon grass stalks, roughly chopped
Red bell pepper, small dice
Lean chicken meat, minced
Lemon grass stalk, chopped
Kaffir lime leaf (optional, see note)
Small shrimp, peeled and cooked
Japanese pickled ginger
Note: If crab shells are not available, substitute half their weight of whole small shrimp or shrimp shells. Kaffir lime leaves are available in markets that sell oriental and Indian spices.
Learning to cook professionally, as you have already heard, is not learning recipes but learning 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 diluted Velouté or Béchamel sauces, 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's not quite that simple. There are some complications, but they are mostly a matter of detail. You already know the basic techniques.
THE CLASSIC CREAM SOUPS
In the great kitchens of several decades ago, cream soups were exactly as we have just described: diluted, flavored sauces. In fact, what we now call cream soups were divided into two groupes, veloutes and creams.
VARIATIONS, METHOD 1
For the following cream soups, make the substitutions in the basic recipe as indicated. Frozen and canned vegetables may be used where appropriate, in place of fresh. Also, trimmings may be used if they are clean and of good quality, such as the bottom ends of asparagus or broccoli stalks.
Cream of Asparagus:
Use 3 lb (1.5 kg) asparagus stalks in place of celery. Optional garnish: cooked asparagus tips.
Cream of Broccoli:
Use 3 lb (1.5 kg) broccoli in place of celery. Optional garnish: small cooked broccoli florets.
Cream of Carrot: Use 3 lb (1.5 kg) carrots in place of celery. Garnish: chopped parsley.
Cream of Cauliflower:
Use 3 lb (1.5 kg) cauliflower in place of celery. Optional garnish: tiny, cooked cauliflower florets.
Cream of Corn:
Use 3 lb (1.5 kg) whole kernel corn (fresh, frozen, or canned) in place of celery. Do not sweat the corn with the onions. Instead, sweat the onions alone, add the velouté, then add the corn. Garnish: corn kernels.
Cream of Cucumber: Use 3 lb (1.5 kg) peeled, seeded cucumber in place of celery. Optional garnish: small diced, cooked cucumber.
Cream of Mushroom: Use 1 1/2 lb (750 g) mushrooms in place of celery. Optional garnish: julienne, brunoise, or sliced cooked mushrooms.
Cream of Pea: Use 3 lb (1.5 kg) frozen peas in place of celery. Do not sweat the peas with the onions, but add them after the veloute has been added.
Cream of Spinach: Use 3 lb (1.5 kg) fresh spinach or 2 lb (900 g) frozen spinach in place of celery. Do not sweat the spinach with the onions. Blanch it, drain it well, and add it to the veloute in step 3.
Cream of Watercress: Use 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) watercress in place of celery.
Cream of Chicken:
Reduce celery to 6 oz (175 g) and add 6 oz (175 g) carrot (note that, together with the onion, this makes 1 1/2 lb (750 g) mirepoix). Use a Veloute Sauce made with a strong, flavorful chicken stock. After the soup is strained, add 6 oz (175 g) cooked chicken meat, cut into julienne or fine dice.
Cold Cream Soups:
Most cream soups are delicious cold as well as hot. For example, Cold Cream of Cucumber Soup is a special favorite in summer.
1. Chill soup after step 9 in recipe.
2. Add cold cream after soup is well chilled.
3. Dilute with extra milk, cream, or stock if soup becomes too thick.
4. Season carefully. Cold foods require more seasoning.
If you study this recipe, you will see that the first part (through step 6) is essentially a tomato sauce. The recipe can be broken down as follows:
1 part Tomato sauce
1 part Stock
1 part Cream Sauce
Using this formula, you can also make Cream of Tomato Soup from Tomato Sauce I or from canned tomato sauce. You can also make it from canned tomato puree, if you simmer it with extra herbs, seasoning, and mirepoix. Check all seasoning and flavors carefully when using canned, prepared products.
Puree soups are made by simmering dried or fresh vegetables, especially high-starch vegetables, in stock or water, then pureeing the soup. Thus, they are relatively easy to prepare. Pureed soups are not as smooth and refined as cream soups but are heartier and coarser in texture and character.
Techniques vary greatly, depending on the ingredients and the desired result.
BASIC PROCEDURE FOR MAKING PUREE SOUPS
1. Sweat mirepoix or other fresh vegetables in fat.
2. Add liquid.
3. Add dried or starchy vegetables.
4.Simmer until vegetables are tender. Fresh vegetables should be completely cooked but not overcooked or falling apart.
5. Puree soup in a food mill or with an immersion blender.
Variation: Some soups made from dried legunes, such as bean soup, are not pureed but are served as is or slightly mashed up.
6. Puree soups are generally not bound with an added starch but rely on the starches present in the vegetables. Some fresh vegetable purees, however, settle out. These may be thickened with a little starch if desired.
7. Add cream if required.
8. Adjust seasoning.
Rice may be used in place of potatoes as the binding agent in the above recipe or in any of the variations below except Purée of Potato, Purée of Potato and Leek, and Purée of Watercress. Use 8 oz (250 g) raw rice in place of 1 lb (500 g) potatoes. The soup must be simmered until the rice is very soft.
Puree of Cauliflower Soup (Puree Duabarry):
Use 4 lb (2 kg) cauliflower in place of carrots.
Puree of Celery or Celery Root Soup:
Use 4 lb (2 kg) celery or celery root in place of carrots.
Puree of Jerusalem Artichoke Soup:
Use 4 lb (2 kg) Jerusalem artichokes in place of carrots.
Puree of Potato Soup: (Pontage Parmentier):
Omit carrots from basic recipe, add 10 oz (300 g) leeks to the onion, and increase the potatoes to 5 lb (2.5 kg).
Puree of Potato and Leek Soup:
Use 2 lb (1 kg) leeks in place of the carrots. Increase the potatoes to 2 1/2 lb (1.25 kg).
Puree of Turnip Soup:
Use 4 lb (2 kg) white turnips in place of carrots.
Puree of Watercress Soup:
Prepare like Puree of Potato Soup, but add 5 bunches watercress, chopped, when the potatoes are almost tender.
Combine equal parts Puree of Potato and leek Soup, and Cream of Tomato Soup.
1. Wash the watercress and separate the leaves from the stems. Set some of the nicer leaves aside for the garnish. Coarsely chop up the stems and set aside. Quickly blanch the leaves in boiling salted water and refresh. Once completely cooled, drain. Squeeze out any excess water and finely chop.
Leeks, white part only
2. Thinly slice the leeks and sweat in butter with the watercress stems. Gently cook until tender and all the liquid has evaporated.
3 1/2 oz
3. Add the chicken stock or water and the potatoes, cut into large pieces. Bring to a boil.
Chicken stock or water
4. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add the cream, then add the blanched watercress. Blend in a blender until smooth, then strain. Season to taste.
2 lb 8 oz
Potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
5. Serve in a shallow soup bowl and garnish with somem
2. Fry the bread in the butter until golden brown. (If desired, prepare additional croutons for garnish at the same time; see step 8.)
3. Heat the butter in a heavy sauce pot over moderately low heat.
Onions, small dice
4. Add the onions, leeks, and carrots. Sweat them until they are about half cooked. Do not let them brown.
Leeks, small dice
5. Add the squash, the stock, and the browned bread from step 2. Simmer until the vegetables are tender.
Carrots, small dice
6. Puree the soup with a food mill or an immersion blender.
Butternut squash EP, medium dice
7. Bring the soup back to a simmer. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
8. Prepare croutons by browning slices of French bread in butter as in steps 1 and 2. For best appearance, use slender loaf so that croutons aren't too big.
1 1/2 tsp
9. Peel and core apples. Cut into small dice.
10. Heat the butter in a saute pan and add the apples and sugar. Cook over moderate heat until the apples are brown and caramelized.
11. At service, heat the heavy cream (if used) and add to soup.
12. For each portion, ladle the soup into a broad soup plate. Decorate the top of the soup with a swirl of cream, if desired. Heap a generous tablespoon of apple onto a crouton and carefully place in the soup.
Croutons (see procedure)
1 1/2 lb
Tart, firm cooking apples
Heavy cream (optional)
Additional heavy cream or crème fraîche for garnish, if desired
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