There are six different types of soup in today’s modern kitchen. These types fall into two different categories: clear soup and thick soup. Clear soups include consommé, bouillon and broth. Thick soups include purees, velouté, creametc.
Different Types of Soup
Clear soups are delicate soups with no thickening agent in them. Consommé, a French clarified meat or fish broth, is a classic version of a clear soup.
Broth, or bouillon, is another common clear soup. Broths come in a variety of flavours, including chicken, turkey, beef, vegetable and mushroom. Contrary to perception, clear soups can be full of bold and distinct flavours. Good clear soups never taste watery.
Clear soup can offer a wide range of nutritional benefits while keeping your digestive tract clear. This is why clear soup is so popular in hospitals or as food when you’re feeling under the weather.
Bouillon & Broth
Many cooks and writers treat bouillon and broth interchangeably. This is understandable because they are essentially the same thing: a soup made from water in which bones, meat, fish or vegetables have been simmered.
Leave broth to simmer for long enough and the gelatin begins to thicken it, creating an intensely flavourful stock.
A consommé is made by adding a mixture of ground meats, together with mirepoix (a combination of carrots, celery, and onion), tomatoes, and egg whites into either bouillon or stock.
The secret to making a high-quality consommé is in the simmering. Simmering and stirring bring impurities to the surface, which are further drawn out due to the presence of acid from the tomatoes.
Eventually, the solids begin to congeal at the surface of the liquid, forming a “raft”, which is caused by the proteins in the egg whites. The resulting concoction is a clear liquid that has either a rich amber or yellow colour. It is then carefully passed through a filter to ensure its purity and is then the fat is skimmed from the surface.
Thick soups are soups that are thickened using flour, cornstarch, cream, vegetables and other ingredients. Depending on how you thicken a soup, you can get different textures and flavours.
For example, a potage of boiled meat and vegetables results in a thick, mushy soup. Conversely, a bisque is thickened with rice, which creates a smoother soup.
A bisque is a creamy, thick soup that includes shellfish. Bisque is a method of extracting flavour from imperfect crabs, lobsters and shrimp that are traditionally not good enough to send to market.
In an authentic bisque, the shells are ground to a fine paste and added to thicken the soup. Bisques are thickened with rice, which can either be strained out, leaving behind the starch or pureed during the final stages.
“Cream of…” soups come in a variety of flavours and are the main type of soup found in our Campbell’s Condensed Soup cans. Cream soups are traditionally a basic roux, thinned with cream or milk and combined with a broth of your preferred ingredient.
Typical flavours include cream of tomato soup, cream of mushroom soup and cream of chicken soup. The addition of cream creates a thick and satisfying soup that is filling and flavoursome.
Potage is a Medieval soup from Northern France. To make potage, you take a variety of vegetables that you grow together in your garden add some meat and then boil it all together with water to form a thick mush.
Similar to potage is pottage. Pottage is an even more ancient thick soup made by boiling vegetables and grains. It was typically boiled for several hours until the entire mixture took on a homogeneous texture and flavour. It was intended to break down complex starches and to ensure the food was safe for consumption.