Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cream of chicken stock powder

I had a few carrots sitting in the fridge, and I figured it would be a good idea to use them up by ticking off another of the cream soup recipes: cream of carrot soup (p86). The base is the same as the cream of cauliflower soup I made a few weeks ago; the only difference is that the vegetable added is pureed carrot and celery, and also the addition of thyme and chicken stock powder.

I was determined to retain as much flavour as I could, so instead of boiling the vegetables, I grated the carrot and thinly sliced the celery, leaving them to sweat over a low heat until they were soft.

I'd disliked the lumps of onion in the otherwise smooth texture of my last cream soup, so this time I blitzed the onion in the food processor before cooking it. The result was more like pulp than finely chopped onion, but I hoped it would make for a smoother result.

I began the soup base, beginning with butter and onions, adding flour and finally the liquid. I don't think I added the water and milk gradually enough, since the flour merely formed in lumps around pieces of onion and remained that way, no matter how hard I whisked.

When the mixture had boiled and thickened, I added the pureed carrot and celery, immediately turning the soup an unusual, but not unappealing, pale orange colour. I still had to add chicken stock, thyme and seasoning, and while I was hastily raiding my spice drawer to find these vital ingredients my soup very quickly returned to boiling temperature.

As a result, I had a thick gloopy substance bubbling and spluttering in a fashion strongly reminiscent of touristy shots of Rotorua. There were orange splatters all over the stove by the time I got the bubbling to stop.                                                                                   

I added my thyme and chicken stock, doubling the stated doses of 1/4 teaspoon each. Even then, the soup was remarkably bland. It didn't taste like carrot, or even celery: it tasted like floury milk. I added a considerable amount of salt and a bit of pepper: a slight improvement. Now it tasted like salty floury milk. In a last-ditch attempt at flavour, I added another 1/2 teaspoon of chicken stock.

Now, at least, I had some flavour. Sure, it was now chicken stock powder flavoured soup, but it was still an improvement on tasting of nothing. I was able to eat a bowl of it, without particular disgust, but without pleasure either.

My attempts at making a smooth soup were a complete failure. Not only had I failed to make a lump-free soup base, but the carrot and celery had not pureed as smoothly as I'd hoped, either. So, added to the flavourlessness was the added bonus of an unpleasant texture.

I suspect that cream soups are intended more as a traditional pre-main course soup than to be served the way I usually eat soup - a large bowl as a main meal. In smaller portions, I would probably find cream soups less unappealing. Certainly my (inoffensive, but borderline bland) cream of cauliflower soup would work better as a starter. My lumpy orange goop, however, could not be recommended no matter how you served it!


  1. Oh no! How many more cream-soups do you have to go?? Maybe you should start halving or quartering those recipes so they only make one dinners worth ;)

    (It doesn't look bad by the way!!)

  2. There are 3 more to go: cream of asparagus; cream of canned asparagus; cream of celery. The celery one sounds the worst, don't you think?

    The recipe is already quite small, but I might halve it next time anyway. I'm sure there are people out there who love cream soups - it's just that I'm not one of them!

  3. I can't wait to hear how the cream of asparagus one(s) go! I have a recipe that is pretty decent (it calls for fresh or canned...)!!

    I thought cream of celery soup was only for making casseroles with...haha don't think I would want to eat it on its own!!


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