Soup: Cream

Soups are one of those dishes that you don't really need a recipe to make well. You can start with a good stock, or just use water. Aromatics, spices, seasonings; legumes, nuts, seeds; vegetables, meats. Creamy or clear. Hot in cool months, cold in hot months. The possibilities are almost endless.

Ruhlman's Ratio

The following recipes for Cream Soups are the first recipes I made from Michael Ruhlman's Ratio . They have changed the way I think about and approach making soup because they changed the way I see the ingredients I have on hand.

Make each of the recipes a few times before you start to improvise. It is a process that needs to be performed a few times, not because it is difficult, but because it is foundational. As Ruhlman writes, "Once you know the method, you can really begin to cook."

I used asparagus and mushrooms for my first go. I love asparagus, and am plotting a Cream of Asparagus & Avocado Soup. I am able to easily obtain Primordia Farm mushrooms, of many varieties, and look forward to making my first traditional Chicken Pot Pie using a Cream of Mushroom base. I just need to learn how to make proper Puff Pastry, to make that happen. 

Primordia Shiitake & Organic Asparagus from Wanamaker's

Cream Soup Using Any Green Vegetable

Consider the following: Classics such as asparagus or broccoli, or snap peas, spinach, celery, or english peas.

1.5 oz (3 tbls) Butter

1 oz (3 tbls) Flour

1/3 c Chopped Onions

Salt to Taste 

3 c Chicken Stock

1 pound chopped vegetables, upper stems included; 4 ounces (florets of broccoli or tips of asparagus) reserved to use as garnish (see below).

Fresh lemon juice to taste

3 oz Cream

4 tbls Crème Fraîche (optional)

Melt butter over medium heat, cooking off some of the water (a half minute or so, but not brown). Add flour and cook until the flour just begins to brown, with a nice toasted aroma.

Add onions and a pinch of salt, and cook for a minute or two to sweat the onions.

Add stock and bring to simmer, stirring and continually scraping the bottom. You do not want the flour to stick and scorch. Pull the pot to the edge of the burner for simmer, skimming any foam or skin that may collect on the cooler side of the pot.

Add 3/4 pound of chopped veg, cooking until tender, and stirring occasionally to keep the four from scorching.

Puree the soup in a blender on high for 2 to 3 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if needed. Add 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice, reblend, taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Strain soup into clean pan or serving dish, add the cream, and garnish with reserved vegetables and crème fraîche, or chill immediately


In a large pot of boiling, well salted water: Cook veg slightly al dente (blanche). Strain and place in ice water to halt cooking (shock). Drain on paper towels until ready to use.

Cream Soup Using Any Nongreen Vegetable

Consider the following: beet, cauliflower, celery root, parsnip, potato, mushroom, sweet bell pepper

1 oz (3 tbls) Flour

1.5 oz (3 tbls) Butter

1/3 c Chopped Onions

3 c Milk

Salt to taste

1 pound chopped vegetables; 4 oz cooked until tender, cooled, and reserved for garnish (see below).

3 oz Cream

Fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar

Lightly cook Flour and Butter over medium heat. Add onions, and cook for another minute or two.

Add milk and simmer until thickened, skimming any film that may gather on the surface.

Salt to taste.

Add the uncooked vegetables to the béchamel and cook until tender.

Puree the soup in a blender, taste for seasoning. Add more salt if needed. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean pan or serving dish. Add cream and season with lemon juice as needed.

Reheat the garnish. Divide among bowls, then pour in the soup.


Vegetable garnish can be cooked and cooled ahead of time, or while soup is cooking. Most veg can be roasted of boiled. Mushrooms and sweet bell peppers can be roasted or sautéed.

So, there you go. I hope you give these recipes a try. They are very useful. I also recommend purchasing a copy of Ratio. I will be writing more from what I learn from that book.

The thing I love most about soups is that there is almost always an opportunity to make a good one. You can make a very satisfying and soulful meal from just a little bit of rice, good water, some split peas, and an onion or two. If you add some aromatics you can have Split Peas w Veg and Ginger-Lemon Rice.