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Chilled Cream Soups

Chilled Cream Soups

Some of season's best vegetables taste even better when they are made into creamy soups.

By FamilyTime

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Yummm. The tender asparagus, fresh peas, and new potatoes in the markets this time of year are tempting.

As enticing as these vegetables are when gently cooked as they come, they are absolutely delicious when made into creamy, flavorful soups that can be served warm or chilled. At this time of year, we like them icy cold.

Creamy (Not Filled with Cream)
Despite their consistency, which is smooth and lusciously creamy, these soups are not made with gallons of heavy cream. While they may contain some cream, buttermilk, whole milk, yogurt, or half-and-half, much of their pleasing consistency derives from the pureed vegetable.

Before the asparagus, peas, potatoes, or any other food can be pureed, they must be cooked in water or broth (homemade broth provides the best flavor) so that they soften.

Once softened, the vegetable and broth - as well as any other ingredients in the pot - are transferred to a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade to be pureed until smooth.

You will notice that many recipes caution you to complete this step "in batches." This is because the blender canister or processor bowl may not be large enough to hold all the soup at once. For a smooth puree, you need room for the ingredients to whiz about, and you absolutely don't want to overload the appliance so that soup seeps out the top.

Pureeing the soup in batches means you will need an extra bowl or pan: one to hold the cooked soup ingredients and one to hold the batches of puree as you process them.

Assembling the Soup
The cream or milk is stirred into the soup once it's been pureed. This is so it does not cook for any length of time, which can affect the flavor of the dairy product. Yogurt, in particular, separates when heated beyond warm.

Pour the cream or other dairy product into the puree. Stir it gently until the soup's color is consistent. Heat this to a simmer only (do not boil) and then taste the soup. Add more salt and pepper, if necessary. Although the soup may have been well seasoned in the cooking pot, when the cream or milk is added, it dilutes the flavor.

Chilling the Soup
Without proper chilling, these soups are not appealing. They are terrific served hot from the stove, but lukewarm or room temperature soups just don't cut it!

Metal containers chill fastest, so you might want to transfer the soup to a stainless steel bowl. However, after a few hours in the refrigerator, all containers get cold - even plastic, although it is the least preferable material for these soups.

Let the soup cool to tepid and then cover the bowl or pan with plastic wrap or a fitted lid and push it to the rear of the refrigerator, where it tends to be coldest. Let it chill for at least four hours.

If you're running late and want to speed along the chilling, put the bowl or pan in a larger bowl filled with ice cubes. This will quickly bring down the temperature of the soup. You can then refrigerate it until you're ready to serve. Most of these soups can be refrigerated for up to three days.

Serving Chilled Soups
Plan ahead and put the soup bowls in the freezer for about 20 minutes to chill them - or the refrigerator for longer.

Stir the soup when you take it from the refrigerator and again taste it. Because soups thicken as they chill, you may want to thin the consistency with a little additional cream or milk. Chilling also dulls flavors; adjust the salt and pepper again. Ladle the cold soup into the cold bowls and serve.

These soups are delicious with garnishes of fresh herbs, swirls of fruity, extra-virgin olive oil, or small dollops or sour cream or crème fraîche.

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