Creamy squash soup
By Chef Meg Galvin, Healthy Cooking Expert at SparkPeople.com
from "The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight"
Creamy soups are so versatile: Cream of broccoli. Cream of chicken. Cream of celery. Cream of mushroom.
Those soups are so rich and comforting to us, but there's no need to reach for the canned version--unless you like that familiar SLURP sound they make when they plop into the pot. Making your own is easy.
In classical cooking, there are rules for everything, even creamy soups. Here's how to keep your soup velvety smooth--no lumps or risk of curdling.
- If the cream (or milk) is warm, it will blend into the soup better.
- I often use fat-free evaporated milk, which is shelf-stable and at room temperature. There's no need to heat it before adding to soup, and it adds a velvety texture.
- Cream should always be added at the end of the cooking process. I prefer adding it after I puree the vegetables.
- Once the cream (or evaporated milk) is in the soup, do not allow the mixture to boil-it will curdle.
- When you reheat the soup, heat it slowly and do not allow it to boil or you'll have a lumpy, curdled soup.
Creamy, rich soups feel great on the tongue but not in the belly. To reduce the amount of fat-in the form of cream, butter, and meat drippings-but still retain flavor, try one of these tips:
- Pack in flavor with herbs, spices, and citrus instead of salt or meat drippings.
- Use legumes as a filler to boost fiber in your soups.
- Sweat or roast vegetables in minimal fat to extract the most flavor.
- Thicken soups with legumes, whole-wheat bread, and vegetable purees instead of commercial thickeners (cornstarch) or a roux (flour and fat mixed together).
- Finish soups with low-fat Greek yogurt, salsa, or pesto instead of heavy cream. Even a dollop of hummus can add low-fat richness.
Reprinted from "The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight" (c) 2011 by SparkPeople, Inc. Permission granted by Hay House, Inc., New York, NY 10033. Available wherever books are sold.
SparkPeople Healthy Cooking Expert Meg Galvin is a World Master Chef, culinary instructor, and the author of "The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight." A farmer's daughter and marathon runner, she lives in northern Kentucky with her husband and three teenage sons.
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