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The Hospitality Guru (cooking) Back to Basics: Soups

Updated on October 12, 2015


A soup is a flavoured liquid, which can be derived from a variety of ingredients.  It is eaten with a spoon.  The liquid base for making soup is usually a stock.  There are many varieties of soups.  They can be think or thick, hot or cold, clear or stew like.

A soup is usually the first course on the menu.  If this is the case, the soup will function as an appetiser.  However, if an appetiser (cold entrée) and entrée are also served, the soup is served after the appetiser and before the entrée.  Some soups are served as main courses, especially some rich national soups like Hungarian goulash soup and minestrone soup.


Soups may be classified in a number of ways. Classification is useful because it guides the chef to select the correct type of ingredients to use and the appropriate method of preparation.

Most soups will fit into these classifications. However there are some exceptions, for example chowders.

CLEAR: Clear and usually delicate in flavour with a rich characteristic goodness. May contain a variety of garnishes in ratios appropriate to the dish. Not thickened.

BROTH: Hearty thickened soup with a high proportion of garnish (up to 50%). In some broths, the cooking process causes some thickening due to swelling or partly breaking down of the garnish.

PUREE: Thickened by pureeing the principal ingredient. Usually textured as puree is not strained. Puree soups are often thick and hearty.

CREAM: Rich, smooth and creamy. Usually delicate in flavour.

BISQUE: Smooth, full-bodied with a rich flavour.

COLD: Served cold. Ideal for summer menus. The base may be the same as those for other classifications or the soups may be made with fruit juice or yoghurt.


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