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Creams and Pureed Soups: The Pleasure of Simplicity

Last time we left with a question about soups: are they all the same?
Actually no, and we analyzed the differences between soups and “minestre”.

Today we will talk about two other foods: creams and pureed soups. People consider them as the same food because of their creamy and shiny texture. However, they show some very different characteristics.

Features and Differences

Both are part of the so called “minestre legate”, that is, combined with thickening agents such as flour, cream or other products, to obtain a thick and soft texture.

Creams are made with a vegetable, meat or fish broth or cheese and they are bound by cream, milk or rice flour, but also potatoes: these foods thicken and give softness.

However, the difference between creams and pureed soups is the preparation with a single basic ingredient, later smoothie.
Then, the cream is bound by the thickening foods mentioned above.

Pureed soups are composed of a vegetable, meat or fish broth and pureed vegetables, meat or fish, to which is added a thickener food. The addition of cream and egg yolks is the final amalgamation process that gives softness to the mixture and bonds flavours.

On the contrary, pureed soups are composed of two or three kinds of vegetables, and the most frequent combinations are potatoes-leeks, carrots-potatoes and zucchini-potatoes (as you can see potatoes are everywhere because of their extraordinary ability to thicken and to give a creamy texture).

The Binding Process

There are 3 types of binding methods:

  • Binding by roux: Melt the butter to which is added the same amount of flour. After a few minutes of cooking, pour the hot liquid slowly on the compound previously obtained which is called roux. At this point, boil it again and stir constantly with a whisk.

Although the name means “reddish” in French, the colour depends on the cooking time.
A roux can be white, yellow or brown.
Generally, after 3-4 minutes of cooking the colour will be yellow (like the hay), after 10 minutes you will get a more intense tone and after 15-20 minutes the colour will be brown.

Roux

Credit: www.oola.com

It is extremely important that the amount of butter and flour are the same: the butter must be enough to embed the starch of the flour, but not excessive to avoid the rise of the fat to the surface. On the contrary, you might run the risk of forming lumps difficult to eliminate if the flour is too much.

  • Binding with butter and flour: use the same amount of butter (left to soften at room temperature) and flour, in order to obtain a soft ball, which must be added in small pieces to the boiling liquid, continuing to mix.
  • Binding with pure starch: use flour or cornstarch. The starch must be diluted in a bit of water, broth or wine; then pour it in the mixture at boiling temperature. It is extremely important to continue stirring with a whisk to prevent the formation of lumps.

Here are two recipes, try them and experience the wonderful texture of creams and pureed soups!

Recipes:

Pureed soups of red potatoes and leeks

Ingredients: red potatoes, leeks, vegetable broth, milk, fresh cream, fat, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

METHOD:
Clean the red potatoes and cut them into slices.
Cook them for 25 minutes at 95°C in the vegetable broth.
Then add milk and continue to cook it for 15 minutes more at the same temperature.
Add the cream to the mixture and cook it for another 10 minutes at 95°C, but do not forget to stir for another 3 minutes with a whisk without stopping.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the pureed soup garnished with braised smoked leeks.

Cream of Jerusalem artichoke, lobster and “sea water”

Ingredients: Jerusalem artichokes, shallots, extra virgin olive oil, sea water.

“Sea water” ingredients: mussels, garlic, parsley and bay leaves, extra virgin olive oil, xanthan thickener.

Sea water:

METHOD:
Clean the mussels and cook steam. Add olive oil and chopped herbs.
Preserve the water that forms during cooking.
Add salt and pepper to the cooking water and then the thickener.

Cream of Jerusalem artichokes:

METHOD:
Clean and chop the shallots; fry them in olive oil for 5 minutes at 95° C.
Add the diced Jerusalem artichokes and continue cooking it for other 5 minutes.
Add the sea water (keeping a little aside to decorate the dish) and cook for other 40 minutes at 95° C.
At the end add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the artichokes cream, adding the remaining seawater (the two liquids remain separate because of their different textures) and put the grilled lobster on the top.

Conclusions:

Creams and pureed soups are very stylish and often impress the guests, especially when they are customized through the addition of ingredients with contrasting colours.
Their creamy textures distinguish them from any other food, but this result can be obtained only through a careful preparation.

If you think this assiduous attention may deprive you of too much time, you might consider to give the task to one of our machines, automatic in all their functions, which allow you to follow the preparation with less attention.
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