NATURALLY THICKENED SOUPS: POTAGES
Versatility in potages
Any country-cousin potage can be given city sophistication by adding a liaison of egg yolks and cream just before serving. This imparts the Finest texture possible by binding the ingredients together. Adding it to the humble potage is like transforming rabbit fur into mink. We will discuss the use of the liaison in detail when we talk about cream soups, where its use is much more common.
Of the three classes of soup, cream soups require the most effort and the greatest skill. Texture in the clear soups and potages was achieved naturally and simply. The smooth, creamy texture of cream soups is achieved through the use of thickening agents. A cream soup, then, is defined as a soup made with a thickening agent.
Cream or milk adds to the smoothness and flavor of a cream soup; it also adds a lot of confusion in classifying soups. It is not cream that makes a soup a cream soup; it is the creamy consistency produced by thickening with starch.
Cream soups consist of three main elements: liquid, one or more flavor-determining ingredients, and thickening agent. Flavor builders may also be used, and seasonings are added at the end of the cooking. Most cream soups are thickened with a flour-butter thickening agent, either roux or beurre manie. There are two methods of making a good cream soup. In one method you start making the soup by making roux, introducing flavor-determining ingredients and flavor builders into the roux-making process. Then you add the liquid and complete the cooking. We’ll call this the roux method.
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