World of Soups – Food low in calories, nutritious and filling.
World of Soups describes soups, their variations and their classifications with examples. The primary categories of soups are Clear soup and Thick soup, with additions of Cold Soups, Vegetable Soups and Vegan Soups. World of Soups provides brief recipes and benefits.
Clear Soups sub-classify into consommé, bouillon and broth; and Thick Soups into Cream, Velouté, Bisque, Potage Purees, and Chowder.
World of Soups
“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.” -August Rodin
Soups are age old recipes. Soup comes from French words “soupe” and “potage”. “Soupe” denotes a slice of bread onto which the contents of a pot i.e. “potage” are poured. However, lately, the terms ”soup” and “potage” are interchangeably used to specify boiled contents like meat, vegetables and other ingredients in fluid.
Soups are usually very nutritious, easy to cook and healthy part of the meal. When you include soup and salad in your meal, you’re likely to eat a larger portion of food that’s also lower in calories. According to experts, eating a bowl of low-calorie soup before your meal may benefit to cut down calories and aid weight loss. Additionally, depending on the ingredients you use, characteristics of soups may include fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that your body needs. A soup and salad diet is the perfect way to lose weight provided it is planned well and prepared in a healthy way. Consult your doctor before starting a diet based on just soup and salad on a regular basis.
Besides comforting in the cold days or in the rainy days or to reduce calories in your diet, soups have many other benefits. Here are some of the advantages of soups.
- Since soups are high in fluids, they’re a great way to stay hydrated and full.
- Soups are easy on the digestive system, most of the time. As they are made from ingredients like herbs, spices, vegetables, and beans that our body is easily able to absorb into its system, they are easy to digest.
- Soups can be a good source of nutrition and fiber, as they can be packed with carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
- They can give a boost to our immune system. Soups can help one keep away from many diseases and are generally served in hospitals for faster recovery.
- A well prepared soup can be rich in taste.
- Soups give a feeling of fullness and mostly provide limited calories.
- Soup is easy to prepare.
Major Types of Soups
“Your health is what you make of it. Everything you do and think either adds to the vitality, energy and spirit you possess or takes away from it.” -Ann Wigmore
There are primarily two different types of soups – clear soup and thick soup. There are a lot of variations and varieties of soups bringing in the flavor and ingredients of the various regions and cuisines. Soups generally do not have one food item and are loaded with multiple food ingredients.
As per the preferences of soup lovers and the progression in the modern day kitchen, there are some latest developments in the soup categories. Furthermore, there are soups or similar dishes from age old cuisines from all over the world that need new categories. The additional luscious classifications of soups include – Cold Soups, Vegetarian Soups and Vegan Soups.
In the following sections, we will list different soup classifications, characteristics of soup, their main ingredients, brief and easy recipe, its garnish, best benefits and a few examples.
As apparent, Clear soups are mostly translucent, water-like soups with no thickening agent in them. Clear soup can be loaded with nutrients and keep digestive system healthy. Clear soups are generally served in hospitals or as a diet because of their health benefits. Some people further classify Clear soups as consommé, bouillon and broth. Some consider bouillon and broth as same due to the similarities in their preparation.
The examples of Clear Soup include a long list of Consommé classic soups and a variety of Bouillon or Broth soups.
Consommé is a classic version of a clear soup. It originated in France and is a concentrated, thin, and clarified soup. The word Consommé is derived from Latin words “con” and “summus”, which means taking to supreme level or brought to completion. In one line, Consommé is carefully filtered concoction of mainly meat, poultry or fish. The soups that are filtered are also called passed soups. Consommé can be served hot or cold.
The recipe of consommé includes fine ingredients and careful steps can make you a hearty family soup. A consommé is made by adding ground meats, tomatoes, egg whites and mirepoix, which is a mixture of carrots, celery, and onion. Tomatoes and egg white help to clarify the soup, whereas mirepoix enriches it. A Consommé is simmered for long period so that most of the ingredients are absorbed into the fluid. Consommé soups can be made further delicious and aromatic by adding different herbs and spice during cooking or before serving.
Consommé soups are usually named after the garnish used in them. Consommé may be garnished with a variety of ingredients like green peas, dry cooked rice, golden onions, julienne vegetables, fine noodles, etc. The names of Consommé are respectively Consommé st. German, Consommé Caroline, Consommé A ‘I’ Agnon, Consommé Julienne, and Consommé vermicelli.
Another nomenclature of Consommé soup may be chicken consommé, beef consommé vegetable consommé, French consommé and classic consommé.
Bouillon & Broth
Broth, or bouillon, is another common clear soup. Broth, or bouillon, both terms used interchangeably by some because they are fundamentally made from simmering bones, meats and vegetables for a long time. The secret of Broth is in simmering of ingredients for a long time, thickening of gelatin and finally creating a highly flavorful stock. Simmering the broth all the time and avoiding it to boil increases the clarity.
As and when required, some cooked ingredients (which may be the suitable leftover items) can be added to the recipe during the cooking process. However, the cooking of all ingredients should end up at the same time. For example egg whites may be added during simmering when it is necessary to sediment impurities and refine the soup.
Broths may be replenished in a variety of flavors, including chicken, turkey, beef, vegetable and mushroom. Broth soups can be made delicious and aromatic by adding different herbs and spice. Broths are also used as an ingredient in many other recipes.
Broth may be served with the chucks of ingredients that they are made of. They can be garnished with herbs like parsley, sage, cilantro, thyme etc.
Examples of Broth include Minestrone soup, Oxtail soup, scotch broth, Stracciatella and Zuppa pavese. Minestrone originated in Rome, Italy, but is one of the most favorite Americans soup. Some other demanded soups include chicken broth soup and vegetable broth soup
Thick soups are soups on the other hand are not translucent. Thick soups use many thickening agents like cream, roux, Velouté sauce, starch from potatoes, and starch from rice. Roux is flour and fat cooked together to the desired level of brownness to use as thickening agent. Velouté sauce is white roux and stock of chicken, veal, or fish. Sometimes ingredients itself are used to thicken the soup like vegetables – potatoes, carrots, etc. We get different texture, flavors and aroma of Thick soup depending on the thickening agent and other ingredients used in the soup.
Based on thickening agent and other ingredients, Thick soups are further divided into Cream, Velouté, Bisque, Potage Purees, and Chowder. Some people consider Bisque, Potage Puree, and Chowder as one category called Puree Soups as the ingredients themselves are the thickening agents in these soups. Anyhow, these classifications become blurring because the ingredients are commonly mixed up or multiple ingredients are used in the same soup.
Cream soups are traditionally prepared with three major ingredients – a basic thickening agent as roux, thinning agent as cream or milk, and a suitable broth. White roux and milk are used together to make Béchamel sauce. Béchamel sauce is base of many other sauces and is considered one of the mother sauces in French cuisine. A broth may include any of the flavors like chicken, turkey, beef, vegetable and mushroom.
Thick Cream Soups are flavorful, fulfilling and smooth soups. They may be garnished with croutons, parsley, cream etc.
Typical examples of Cream Soups include cream of tomato soup, cream of mushroom soup, cream of potato and cream of chicken soup. Cream of potato is considered one of the easy soups. Cream of chicken soup is one of the popular soups in many regions.
The term velouté is the French means velvety. A Velouté soup is based on a light Cream-Velouté sauce which is considered one of the five “mother sauces” of French cuisine. Velouté sauce recipe is based on roux which is usually half flour and half fat cooked together to the desired level of brownness to use as thickening agent. At times people consider creamy roux as a substitute for cream. Velouté sauce is white roux and stock. Velouté sauce derivatives are based on engaged stock, for example stock of chicken, veal, or fish.
Other ingredients of Velouté soupa or Velouté soupe or Cream-Velouté soups are vegetables, stock, egg yolk, butter & cream. Cream-Velouté soups are usually garnished with cream. Cream-Velouté soups are rich in taste and give a feeling of fullness.
Some examples of Velouté soup are Fish Velouté, Chicken Velouté, Carrot Velouté, Mushroom Velouté, Leek Velouté, Asparagus and Tarragon Velouté, Seafood Velouté soup, and Celery Velouté.
Potage Puree Soups
Potage Puree is a medieval soup from France. A potage or a Potage Puree is prepared by boiling meat and vegetables into a thick and soft soup. The main ingredients themselves are thickening agent. The ingredients are traditionally boiled for several hours until they look like a smooth uniform mush. Typically a variety of vegetables and some meat are taken together to boil.
Potage soups are generally garnished with Croutons – fried or grilled.
Some examples of Potage or Potage Puree soup are Avgolemono, French onion soup, Potage puree de legumes, Potage st germain, Scotch Broth, and Rumford’s Soup. Another soup in demand may include a spicy tomato corn soup.
Bisque is a smooth, thick soup that includes shellfish and especially crustaceans. These soups share characteristics with both purees & cream soups. Bisque is made by extracting flavors from crab, crayfish, shrimp and lobster. It is told that traditionally Bisque was made from shellfish that, at times, were broken, or not good enough to send to the market.
In authentic bisque, a fine paste of the ground shells was also added to thicken the soup. Bisques are thickened with rice which creates a smoother soup. Rice is added for example with strained out rice starch or rice pureed during the final stages.
Bisque are nutritious and fulfilling soups. They are generally garnished with cream.
Chowders are hearty thick soups with chunks of the primary ingredients and garnishes.
Thick soup resembling a stew made with rendered beef, pork, clam or fish and mirepoix vegetables. They are thickened mostly with roux, or broken crackers. They are often flavored with cheese, milk and cream. Diced potatoes, some seasoning and flavoring ingredients are almost always used in Chowders.
Variations of chowder can be different seafood or vegetable. There are newer tomato-based clam chowders which are gaining popularity. Crackers or saltines may accompany chowders on the side, or to garnish the soup.
Some examples of Chowders are New England clam chowder, a variety of seafood chowder, lamb or veal chowder and corn chowder. Clam Chowder is one of the most favorite soups in New England region and broadly the whole American region.
OTHER LUSCIOUS SOUPS
Cold Soups, as the name suggests, are served cold or chilled. They are relatively recent additions to family of soups but they are gaining popularity. Many hot soups can be changed into a cold soup by simply chilling them well, however there should not be heavy additions of contents like butter or oil in them. At times the hot soups need certain alterations to be used as Cold Soups, like addition of some ingredients after cooling down the soup.
Additionally there are cold soups from around the world which are authentic and popular and are served cold or chilled, mainly eaten in summer. Naengguk which means “cold guk” refers to all kinds of cold soups in Korean cuisine.
Examples of Cold Soups are most of the Purees when made with little or no butter and thinned with cream after chilling. Gazpacho is a cold Spanish soup made mainly with raw tomatoes, onions, garlic and cucumber. Vichyssoise, Avocado soup and Cold borscht (Šaltibaršciai) are some more examples of Cold Soups.
Vegetable Soup is made main ingredients like vegetables, lentils, cream, and flavoring ingredients. They are cooked or simmered for some time in water or fluid. There may be grains additions in form of noodles or pasta. The primary objective of the most of the vegetable soup lovers is to avoid meat, seafood and broth.
The vegetable soup can be of three categories based on ingredients:
- Vegetables soup
- Lentil soup
- Vegetable and lentil mixed soup
The Vegetables soups can be Clear Soup, Puree Soup, or Thick Soup with chunks of ingredients in them. You can add corn starch or starchy vegetables as thickening agent. Some examples of vegetable starch are potatoes & carrots.
A soup may change flavor according the shape in which vegetables are cut in dice, brunoise, julienne, or wedged. Similarly, the lentils or legumes can change flavor of the soup if they are whole or broken (i.e. washed). The vegetables may be sauté or grilled, preferably with a few drops of vegetable oil, to get further variations in taste and aroma of the soup. A range of herbs and spices can also add aroma and taste to the soup.
Vegetable soups are often offered to a sick person for speedy recovery. They are highly healthy, nutritious, and rich in fiber. They are warm, smooth and high source of fluid.
Examples of Vegetarian Soups include Vegetarian Clear Soup, Vegetarian Tomato Soup, Vegetarian Black Gram clear soup, Vegetarian Black Gram thick Soup, Vegetarian Pumpkin soup and Vegetarian Butternut soup.
Vegan Soup is made with the main ingredients like vegetables, lentils, dry fruits, and flavoring ingredients like herbs, spices and oils. They are cooked or simmered for some time in water or fluid. There may be addition of grains in the form of soaked grains of wheat, corn, etc. The primary objective of the most of the vegan soup lovers is to avoid animal products.
The Vegan soup can be of four categories
- Vegetable soup
- Lentil soup
- Dry fruits soup
- Mixed soup
The Vegan soups can be Clear Soup, Puree Soup or Thick Soup with chunks of ingredients in them. You can add flour, rice starch, corn starch or starchy vegetables as thickening agent. Some examples of vegetable starch are potatoes & carrots. You can use roux and Velouté as thickening agent provided there is no stock or meat product in them.
A soup may change its flavor according to the shape in which vegetables are diced, brunoise, julienne, or wedged. Similarly, the lentils or pulses can change the flavor of the soup if they are whole or broken (i.e. washed). The vegetables may be sauté or grilled, preferably using a few drops of vegetable oil. The olive oil, mustard oil, and sesame oil give further variations to the taste and aroma of the soup. A range of herbs and spices can further add aroma and taste to the soup. Instead of water, almond milk, cashew milk, walnut milk or coconut milk can be used in preparation.
Vegan soups can be highly healthy, nutritious, and rich in fiber. They are warm, smooth and a high source of fluid. Vegan soups can be creamy, hearty and low fat.
Some examples of Vegan Soups are Vegan Tomato Soup, Vegan Black Gram clear soup, Vegan Vegetable Soup, Vegan Minestrone Soup, and Vegan Lentil Vegetable Soup.
Soups are famous all over the world with different names and different ingredients. Countries across six continents have a variety of local favorites as well as some global favorites. The whole purpose of the soup is to provide fulfilling, easy to digest, and nutritious diet.
A soup or potage or stew or broth or hasa’ or soupe or suppe or shorba or anraith or sopa or la minestra etc. are the many names of soup in different languages. It has variations in meat, seafood, vegetables, thickening agents, thinning agents, flavoring herbs, authentic spices and last but not the least garnishing. Some examples of herbs and spices used in soups are garlic, tarragon, parsley, and bay leaf.
Some soups are named on the basis of their ingredient but some are named by the garnish. Some soups combine well with specific sides and make it a pleasurable and authentic experience.
In contrast to heavy meat and seafood soup, there is a huge variety of vegetarian soups and vegan soups. The Vegetarian Soups and Vegan soups can be Clear Soup, Puree Soup or Thick Soup with chunks of ingredients in them. With a variety of ingredients, Vegan soups can be highly healthy, nutritious, and rich in fiber. They are warm, smooth and high source of fluid. Vegan soups can be creamy, hearty and low fat.
“Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson