Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Cream of Vegetable Soup

Soup is a form of refrigerator Velcro at our house.  I use it as a means of using up whatever leftovers I happen to have in the fridge.  It’s rarely made from a recipe.

This soup is an exception to that rule. I make it from whatever vegetables I have on hand but there is a basic formula behind it, and I use that formula for virtually every cream soup I make.  The proportions and method remain the same from soup to soup, the flavour determined by the stock, seasonings, and ingredients.  Thus, the same basic recipe that makes this cream of vegetable soup can be used to make clam chowder or even a cheese soup.

The basic proportions for the soup are 1 Tablespoon each of butter and flour for every cup of liquid.  To make this pot of soup I used 4 cups of liquid and 1/4 cup each of butter and flour. 

If you would like to make cream of vegetable soup, you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 2 cups of vegetable stock
  • 2 cups of milk (I didn’t have fresh milk in the house so I used 1 cup of low fat evaporated milk and 1 cup of water)
  • Seasonings
  • Assorted cooked vegetables (I used corn, carrots, green beans and cauliflower)

Begin by melting the butter in a large pot over medium high heat.  When the butter is melted, add the onion and cook it until it’s translucent.

Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the flour.  Cook the flour /onion/butter mixture for 5 minutes.  It won’t take on any colour but will cook the raw flavour out of the flour.

Add the stock a bit at a time, stirring after each addition, until the liquid and roux have been completely blended.

Add in the milk.  Stir until well mixed.

Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the soup comes to a boil and thickens slightly. 

Taste the soup at this point and add seasonings.  I used salt, white pepper, and a little thyme. 

Once the soup is seasoned to your taste, reduce the heat to medium low and stir in the vegetables. (Use your judgment about amounts.  I like a soup with lots of “stuff” in it.) Continue cooking the soup until the vegetables are heated through.

To make this soup a complete meal, just serve some bread on the side, or stir in some cooked brown rice, barley, or whole grain pasta. If you want to go old-school, you can always do as I did in this photo and just crumble in some saltines.  ;) 

If you have leftover cream soup, it can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days and reheated as you need it.  Don’t put it in the freezer.  It doesn't freeze well.

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