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Method – Cream-less pureed vegetable soups

Cream-less pureed vegetable soups

Cream-less vegetable pureed soups are a delicious way to enjoy vegetables. By pureeing cooked vegetables you obtain a surprisingly "creamy" soup without the cream. The technique for making this soup can be applied to virtually any vegetable as well as some fruits.

Basic recipe

The basic recipe is simple:

  • A foundation of onions, leeks or shallots and optional garlic, celery and carrot
  • Butter or olive oil
  • Stock
  • Vegetables and/or fruits
  • Herbs and seasoning
  • Optional citrus or vinegar splash
  • Optional yogurt, creme fraiche, coconut milk or cream
  • Toppings

Sauté onion foundation in butter or oil. Add stock, vegetables and/or fruits. Cook until the vegetable is tender. Season with herbs or spices of your choice. Puree either with an emersion blender, a regular blender or a food processor. Brighten with a splash of citrus or vinegar. Top with croutons, crumbled bacon, sautéed vegetables, herbs or medallion of cheese. You can finish with a bit of dairy to cream it up if you wish, but it is generally not necessary.

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Pureeing the soup

There are three ways to puree a vegetable soup:

  1. An emersion blender is the easiest and least expensive pureeing tool. Simply put the emersion blender in the pot you cooked it in and turn it on. Move the blender periodically and continue to blend until soup is uniformly blended. Add additional broth if you want a thinner soup. Cuisinart makes a nice emersion blender that is reasonably priced.
  2. Using a food processor also works, but adds an additional step or two, when you consider additional clean up required. Strain most of the vegetable from the broth. Put the strained vegetables in the processor and pulse until everything is uniformly pureed  Add pureed vegetables back to broth in soup pot and stir to combine. You can adjust the consistency by adding more broth. Again, Cuisinart makes a phenomenal food processor in a variety of sizes. If you are planning on making soups with your food processor, buy the biggest one you can afford.
  3. Using a blender to puree the soup gives you the smoothest, creamiest consistency, but like the food processor method, it takes a little more work. Strain the vegetable from the broth. Put the strained vegetables in the blender and blitz. Add a bit of broth, blitz again and then return to the soup pot. Add more broth until you get the desired consistency.

Ingredient ideas

Onion foundation

Leeks, onions or shallots with optional celery, carrots, garlic or tomatoes

Vegetables

Asparagus, beets, broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, corn, fennel, green peas, mushrooms, potatoes, red bell peppers, zucchini.

Fruits

Apples, pears.

Herbs and spices

All spice, bay leaf, cayenne, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, curry powder, dill, ginger, lemon grass, mint, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, star anise, tarragon, thyme, turmeric.

Cheese toppings

Blue cheese, cheddar, gruyere, goat, parmesan.

Other toppings

Avocado, bacon, chives, cilantro, creme fraiche, croutons, green onions, pancetta, diced tomatoes.

Acid

Lemon, lime or orange juice; apple cider, balsamic, rice or Spanish sherry vinegar.

Variations

Roast your vegetables before you add them to the soup to deepen and enhance their flavors. Mix a variety of vegetables and perhaps an apple or pear to create a more complex flavor than a single-vegetable soup. Puree some of the vegetables, leaving some diced vegetables for a varied texture.

Tip

Most delicious soups start with a foundation of sautéed onions, leeks or shallots. You can enhance this foundation by adding chopped carrots, celery, garlic, peppers or tomatoes to create what the French call a mirepoix and the Latin countries call a sofrito. Spend a few moments to do a good job cooking your onion foundation and it will greatly enhance your soup. Most cream-less pureed vegetable soups freeze very well. So make a big batch for tonight and freeze the rest for another meal.

 Recipes for pureed vegetable soups

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