Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cream Soup Base

Bacon, Broccoli, and Red Pepper Soup with Sliced Portabella Mushrooms

Remember Stone Soup? As a kid, I was fond of making what I dubbed "Stone Soup without the Stone" - since, as we all read, the stone wasn't actually a necessary ingredient. It just got the townsfolk involved in making a good soup. So I saved myself the trouble of washing a stone and simply dumped whatever combination of things I could lay my hands on into a pot. The results were usually quite edible, although on occasion, they were uncomfortably green. (Thankfully, my parents were always encouraging of my culinary experiments.)

Approach making this soup with some of abandon of a nine-year-old playing in the kitchen. The soup base is extremely flexible - I sometimes use this as a way to use random bits of things that are hanging out in my fridge. In the photo above, I added baby portabella mushrooms, broccoli, and red peppers. Or you could just add chicken and call it a day. (You can also add additional spices or an extra bouillon cube at the end - I've found that roasted garlic powder or a touch of cinnamon are often good choices.) The most important thing is to make sure that your soup doesn't come to a full boil - this will scorch the bottom of your pot and cause the milk to separate, which produces a grainy texture. Trust me, the result isn't pretty. Never boil a cream soup. Otherwise, feel free to play!

Cream Soup Base


Servings: 8
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:


  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 8 tablespoons flour
  • 2-4 cups milk
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon (you can substitute vegetable bouillon)
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Make roux: Melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Slowly add flour to make a paste, stirring constantly. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the color begins to darken slightly.

Stirring constantly, add 2 cups milk and bouillon cubes. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir occasionally until the mixture has thickened. Add any ingredients for your soup here - chicken, broccoli, mushrooms, potatoes, etc. - adding more milk if needed. Continue to stir occasionally until all of your ingredients are cooked and the soup is bubbling slightly around the edges. (Do not boil.) Remove from heat and add pepper to taste.

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