A Description of Soup Types

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Although soups are not served frequently as a first course today, they are often a principal part of a light meal. Soups are liquids which can be very thin or quite thick, depending upon what they contain, and are classified according to their thickness or to the principle liquid or other ingredients they contain.


Billy bi
a French soup made with mussels, onions, wine, cream and seasonings. The classic recipe strains the mussels to leave a smooth soup, but the mussels are often left in as an added bonus these days. (Also "billi-bi").

Birds Nest
a Chinese soup actually made from the white or black nests of a small Asian bird. The nests are difficult to harvest, thus very expensive.

Bisques
Heavy cream soups usually containing shellfish. Modern quick cookery gives this name to a soup made with a white sauce base to which is added a puree of fish, vegetables, or fruits. At one time bisques were thickened with rice, but today they are more frequently thickened with roux.

Borscht
a soup from Russia and Poland made with fresh beets, assorted vegetables, and sometimes with meat and/or meat stock, usually garnished with a dollop of sour cream and served either hot or cold.

Bouillabaisse
a French seafood stew made of fish, shellfish, onions, tomatoes, white wine, olive oil, garlic, saffron and herbs.

Bouillon
a broth made from cooking vegetables, poultry, meat or fish in water.

Bourride
a Mediterranean fish soup with garlic, onions, orange peel, and sometimes saffron, thickened with egg yolks and flavored with garlic mayonnaise.

Broth
a liquid resulting from cooking vegetables, meat or fish in water; same as "bouillon."

Brunswick Stew
a hearty squirrel meat and onion stew originating in Brunswick County, Virginia, USA. Modern versions substitute chicken or rabbit for the squirrel and may also add other vegetables such as okra, lima beans, tomatoes and corn.

Burgoo
a thick stew of a combination of meats, including pork, veal, beef, lamb and poultry, with various vegetables including potatoes, onions, cabbage, carrots, sweet green peppers, corn, okra, lima beans and celery; originally made with small game such as rabbit and squirrel and popular in the Kentucky region of the USA.

Callaloo
a Caribbean soup made with callaloo leaves (from taro root), coconut milk, okra, yams and chiles.

Chilled Soups
We usually think of soups as being served hot, but there are many cold ones as well. Vichyssoise is a cream of potato soup which is served cold and garnished with some chopped chives

Chowders
Thick soups or stews usually containing seafood, potatoes, and milk or cream. Chowder comes from the French word "cauldron," meaning cooking kettle. Vegetables or fish stewed in a cauldron thus became known as chowder in English-speaking nations, a corruption of the name of the pot or kettle in which they were cooked. The first chowders on this continent were brought by French fishermen to Canada

Cioppino
a rich Italian fish stew made with tomatoes and a variety of fish and shellfish, usually highly-spiced.

Consomme
clarified meat or fish broth.

Coulis
originally this term referred to the juices from cooked meats. It can also be a thick pureed shellfish soup. Nowadays, many different types of thick purees are called coulis, including vegetable and fruit mixtures.

Court Bouillon
a broth made from cooking various vegetables and herbs, usually an onion studded with a few whole cloves, celery, carrots and bouquet garni (parsley, thyme and bay leaf), perhaps with a little wine, lemon juice or vinegar; used as a poaching base for fish, seafood or vegetables.

Fruit Soups
Made from dried or fresh fruit. Fruit soups originate in the Scandinavian countries, where they are served either as the main course of a luncheon or supper, or for dessert with whipped cream. Scandivavians love a cold fruit soup which contains a qualtity of cooked dried fruits. The Spanish gazpacho is a refreshing chopped tomato soup served chilled.

Fumet
a concentrated stock, particularly one made from fish or mushrooms, used to add flavor to less intensely-flavored stocks or sauces.

Gazpacho
an uncooked soup made of a pureed mixture of fresh tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, onions, celery, cucumber, bread crumbs, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and sometimes lemon juice which is served cold; also served chunky-style. You may also see this spelled "gaspacho."

Irish Stew
a stew made of seasoned lamb or mutton chops, potatoes and onions, covered with water or broth and stewed for several hours.

Menudo
a hearty, spicy Mexican soup made with tripe, calf's feet, chiles, hominy and seasonings reputed to be a great hangover cure.

Minestrone
a thick Italian vegetable soup usually containing pasta along with peas or beans and sometimes other vegetables.

Mulligan Stew
a stew made literally of what's on hand including meat, potatoes and vegetables in any combination.

Mulligatawny
a rich meat or vegetable broth highly seasoned with curry and other spices with bits of poultry or other meats and can include rice, eggs, coconut shreds and/or cream; originally from India.

Pepper Pot
a thick soup of tripe, meat, vegetables, pepper and seasonings also known as Philadelphia pepper pot.

Pottages
a French soup usually pureed and often thickened with cream or egg yolks. Broths heavy with ingredients such as gumbo, chicken, noodles, or vegetables

Posole
a Mexican thick, hearty soup made of pork or chicken meat and broth, hominy, onion, garlic, dried chiles and cilantro and served with chopped lettuce, radishes, onions, cheese and cilantro as optional additions at the table.

Purees
Thickened with cooked vegetables or fish passed through a sieve or pureed with a blender or a food processor.

Scotch Broth
a Scottish soup made with lamb or mutton, barley and various vegetables.

Soup
basically any combination of vegetables, fruit, meat, and/or fish cooked in a liquid.

Stew
a dish containing meat, vegetables and a thick soup-like broth made from a combination of the stewing liquid and the natural juices of the food being stewed.

Stocks or Broths
Bouillons and consommés.

Vichyssoise
a rich, creamy potato and leek soup garnished with chives and served cold.

Won Ton
a Chinese favorite made of won tons (bite-size dumplings filled with a minced mixture of meat, seafood and/or vegetables) cooked in and served in a clear broth flavored with various ingredients such as scallions, celery and soy sauce.
 
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