Best Soup Recipes for the Picky Palate
So many good soups—tinned, frozen, dehydrated—are on the market that it would seem idle
to have a section on that subject in a book designed to assist in the rapid preparation of
memorable menus. This is all the more true, if anything can be said to be all the "more true,"
because most good soups require a very long time to prepare. There are, however, a number
of things one can do to already prepared soups to make them much better, and there are
several ways of combining two or more commercial soups which will make the final product
a thing of beauty and, if not a joy forever, at least a joy every time you taste it. And finally
there are included here one or two soups of my own which will keep your guests guessing as
to the contents, which can be constructed quickly, and which, above all, taste good.
There are a number of food combinations and drink combinations which, like man and wife,
should never, or at least hardly ever, be put asunder. Bacon and eggs, fish and biscuits,
artichokes and melted butter, raw oysters and lemon juice, gin and dry vermouth are some of
them. The same is true of soup and sherry. Few indeed are the soups which are not improved
by the addition of a little sherry. The sherry should be dry and it should be good; there should
be enough, not too much, but enough of it. A teaspoonful to a cup will do little; a
tablespoonful will metamorphose the soup. A glass of sherry to drink with the soup will add
even more to its enjoyment.
Originally it was planned to offer in this book either a round dozen—whatever that is—or
two dozen recipes in each section. Somehow my arithmetic failed in this instance, and we
have here a baker's dozen of 25 recipes. Aside from depriving the reader of a bonus recipe, a
churlish act, I felt that to remove one would be as dangerous as to alter my socks when I had
inadvertently put them on wrong side out. We have, therefore, the magic number of thirteen
soups. If that particular number bothers you, you eliminate one.
There is an old Belgian adage which seems to apply, or can be made to apply, here. It is said
of a young man when he is courting a girl that he always pays careful attention to the soup he
is served in her house, because he knows that if the soup is good, everything else will be
good. It is a point to remember when preparing the following recipes.
ALLIGATOR TAIL SOUP SERVES 4
During World War II, when there were more vital foods than soup on which to expend one's
blue ration points, a man decided he could still serve soup to his guests if he made it out of
bouillon cubes and water, both of which were point-free. The recipe below was the result. It
proved successful enough to merit a name. He chose Alligator Tail out of pure whim. It was
in fact good enough to keep on using after the wartime necessity had passed and is useful
when you are in haste to prepare a dinner for people who have "eaten everything." The
ingredients can be put together quickly, placed on the low burner, and allowed to simmer
without attention until you are ready to serve.
6 BEEF BOUILLON CUBES
1 QUART WATER
1 TABLESPOON LIQUID GARLIC
1 TABLESPOON WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE
1 TABLESPOON GUMBO FILE
12 COLOSSAL RIPE OLIVES
½ CUP DRY SHERRY
2 TABLESPOONS CHOPPED PARSLEY
Put the bouillon cubes, water, liquid garlic, and Worcestershire sauce in a large saucepan,
sprinkle the surface with the gumbo file. While the soup is cooking over a low flame, slice
the olives lengthwise around the pit, and add the slices to the soup. When you are ready to
serve, bring the soup to a boil, and stir in the sherry. Pour into soup cups, garnish with the
chopped parsley, and serve.
BEAN TURTLE SOUP SERVES 4
This combination of two tinned soups has the simplicity and the taste of culinary genius. It
ranks, in my estimation, second only to a magnificent brew called Potage Baroque, a
speciality of that great New York restaurant—the Baroque. Essentially intended for formal
dining, Bean Turtle Soup is more than something to eat; it is something to savour, to sip
slowly like a fine wine, and to talk about while you are eating it—and afterwards. You will
find that this soup will appear often on your menus.
You may use any condensed black bean soup you like, but for the green turtle soup I suggest
Ancora, which comes in tins of three sizes: small, medium, and large. By varying the size of
the tin, you can also vary the amount of the finished product as well as its consistency.
Regardless of the proportions, it is always excellent.
1 LARGE TIN ANCORA GREEN TURTLE SOUP
1 TIN CONDENSED BLACK BEAN SOUP
½ CUP SHERRY
4 SLICES HARD-BOILED EGG, VERY THIN
Separate the green turtle meat from the soup, and divide the meat among the soup cups. Place
the black bean soup in a saucepan over a low flame, and gradually stir in the green turtle soup
until the mixture is completely smooth. Let it heat very slowly. Just before serving, add the
sherry and stir it in well. Bring to a boil, and pour over the green turtle meat. Garnish each
cup with a slice of egg, and serve with melba toast.
Photo owned by Chenisuyan
BOULA SERVES 4
"For God, for country, and . . ." well, anyway, Boula is one of the best known and one of the
best of the combination soups. Even old Harvards have been known to relish it. It is made by
a judicious blending of clear green turtle consommé and green pea soup. If you add an
appreciable quantity of green turtle meat to the combination, you are entitled to add an extra
"boula" and call the result Boula Boula. Whatever the name, the soup will give a party
atmosphere to almost any meal.
1 TIN CONDENSED CREAM OF PEA SOUP 1 LARGE TIN
GREEN TURTLE CONSOMME
6 TABLESPOONS SHERRY
½ PINT WHIPPING CREAM
Use a double boiler for this recipe. Half fill the lower pan with water, and bring to a boil. Put
the green pea soup in the upper pan, and, over the boiling water, gradually pour in the green
turtle consommé, stirring madly all the while with a wire whisk to make a smooth mixture.
Add the sherry, the green turtle meat from the tin, and additional green turtle meat if you are
making the doubled Boula. Just before you are ready to serve, whip the cream fairly stiff. Put
the soup into four ovenproof serving dishes, float two tablespoons of whipped cream on each,
and place under a hot broiler flame (500 degrees) for three minutes. Remove and serve at
CHEESE SOUP SERVES 6
This is a rich, thick, full-bodied soup, ideal for luncheon on cold days, or for supper
following an afternoon's skating or other cold-weather sport. It is also a fine dish to serve
after a late party when the host, hostess, and a few favoured guests sit down to rest and to a
little snack before closing up the affair finally. If you wish to use it as a cream soup preceding
a meal rather than as a meal itself, dilute it just before serving with a little hot milk. This soup
is not for calorie counters.
3 PINTS MILK
2 CLOVES GARLIC
4 TABLESPOONS BUTTER
4 TABLESPOONS FLOUR
4 EGG YOLKS
¼ CUP WHIPPING CREAM
1 TEASPOON SALT
½ TEASPOON BLACK PEPPER
1 TEASPOON GROUND CUMIN
2 CUPS DRY WHITE WINE
2 CUPS SHARP CHEESE, GRATED
Scald the milk and gash the garlic. Melt the butter in the top of a double boiler, stir in the
flour with a wooden spoon and blend into a roux, cooking over a low fire for about five
minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually add the scalded milk to the roux, blending it well to
Photo owned by Stu Pivack
avoid lumps. Add the garlic. Have the water boiling in the lower half of the double boiler,
place the top half over it, and cook covered for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally. Beat the
egg yolks lightly with the cream or mix in a swirl mixer. Remove the garlic. Add salt, pepper,
cumin, the white wine, and the grated cheese. Stir constantly until the cheese has melted. Add
the egg yolks and cream, and continue to cook and stir for three or four minutes. Serve in
soup cups, each garnished with a small sprig of parsley. French bread, a little dark as to crust,
or crusty hot rolls should be served with the soup.
CLAM MONGOLE SERVES 4
This recipe is a variation of and, I think, an improvement on a very well-known soup: Purée
Mongole. Recipes for Purée Mongole vary but little, and are based on combining tomato and
green pea soups in equal quantities. The use of condensed cream of tomato and cream of pea
makes this a quick and easy dish for the harassed chef, or for one who is not. The
combination is usually diluted by the addition of water, or water and consommé. The result is
a rich, filling, and pleasant brew which can be served as part of an elaborate meal, or will
make, with the addition of a salad, an acceptable light luncheon. Clam Mongole is even better
suited to the latter purpose, and is, at the same time, an unusual and appealing soup course for
a dinner. The use of milk in the following recipe will give you a thicker and richer blend. You
may, of course, control the consistency of the final product by varying the quantity of milk or
1 TIN CONDENSED CREAM OF TOMATO SOUP
1 TIN CONDENSED PEA SOUP
1 TIN MINCED CLAMS
1 CUP WATER OR MILK
4 DASHES SCOTCH BONNET
Place the two soups in a saucepan, drain the clams, and add the juice to the soups. Over a low
fire and using a wire whisk, stir the mixture until it is smooth. Gradually add the other liquid,
stirring all the while. When the soup has reached the consistency you like, add the clams and
bring to a boil, but do not let boil. Add the Scotch Bonnet, stir well, and serve at once, very
hot. Carr's Table Water Biscuits make an ideal accompaniment.
CONSOMME FLORENTINE SERVES 4
Exactly why Florence and spinach should be, culinarily speaking, always associated, I do not
know, but they are. It could be, of course, because Florence is ancient and civilized, and a
taste for spinach is both civilized and mature. Quite apart from the philosophy of the
nomenclature, this soup is one of the specialities of the Italian Line, and a soup which you
will enjoy serving and eating. It is very readily prepared. Broth made by boiling a chicken is
the most desirable; but you may also make the broth from a chicken extract, such as Fur and
Feather, and hot water; or even from chicken bouillon cubes and water. Whichever you use,
the broth should be fairly strong.
4 CUPS CHICKEN BROTH
l½ CUPS COOKED RICE
¾ CUP CHOPPED COOKED SPINACH
Place the chicken broth in a large saucepan. Add the cooked rice and the cooked, chopped
spinach. Over a low heat bring to a boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve hot,
with grated cheese on the side.
CROCODILE TEAR SOUP SERVES 4
This soup is the direct descendant of Alligator Tail Soup; perhaps one should say a
refinement of it. Crocodile Tear Soup has only a slightly different flavor—the difference
between alligators and crocodiles is not marked except to an expert on matters reptilian—a
bit more body, but is quite as easy to make, and even more delicious. The inventor's wife, a
source of constant inspiration, suggested the use of avocado because she does not like olives.
That hint was enough to goad the inventor into carrying Alligator Tail Soup a step further,
and he came up with Crocodile Tear Soup. I am afraid he spread the story that it was made
from extract of congealed crocodile tears combined judiciously with the waters of the Nile.
1 TIN (2½ CUPS) TOMATO JUICE
l½ CUPS WATER
6 BEEF BOUILLON CUBES
1 TABLESPOON WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE
1 TEASPOON DRIED MARJORAM
1 TEASPOON DRIED THYME
1 TABLESPOON GUMBO FILE
½ AVOCADO, RIPE BUT NOT TOO SOFT
8 TABLESPOONS SHERRY
2 TABLESPOONS CHOPPED FRESH CHIVES
Heat the water and tomato juice in a large saucepan. Add bouillon cubes, Worcestershire
sauce, marjoram, thyme, and sprinkle the gumbo file over the surface. While the soup is
cooking slowly, cut the avocado into thin slices, and divide them among the soup cups. Let
the soup boil for a few seconds; stir in the sherry. Pour the soup over the sliced avocado,
garnish with chopped chives, and serve at once.
CUCUMBER SOUP SERVES 6
This excellent soup may be made and stored in the refrigerator for use as much as two days
later, but no longer, lest the shrimp spoil. At a minimum it should be refrigerated for a couple
of hours before it is served, even if you start with chilled material. While it is possible to
make the soup by chopping the ingredients very fine with a knife and then putting them
through a sieve, that method is both arduous and time consuming. I would not attempt to
make it without the assistance of a blender. It is then simplicity itself. If fresh dill is available,
use it; if it is not, I suggest you substitute fresh chives. Tinned shrimp may be used in lieu of
fresh, but the result will not be so felicitous.
½ POUND COOKED SHRIMP
1 LARGE CUCUMBER
3 SPRING ONIONS
2 TEASPOONS PREPARED MUSTARD
1 TEASPOON SALT
½ TEASPOON BLACK PEPPER
1 QUART BUTTERMILK
1 TABLESPOON CHOPPED FRESH DILL
Photo owned by Mohylek
Chop the shrimp, the cucumber (unpeeled), and the onions into coarse dice. Place them in the
blender, add the mustard, salt, pepper, and two cups of buttermilk. Add the dill. Turn on the
blender (high if it is adjustable) and blend for about one minute. Pour the blend into a bowl or
large jar, add the remaining buttermilk, and stir well. If the soup is too thick add more
buttermilk. Stir it well. Taste, and correct the seasoning with additional salt or pepper. Store
in the refrigerator to cool. Serve well chilled with hot toasted saltines on the side.
With this recipe, I'm reminded of another rich soup that uses crab instead of shrimp. Its
luscious, earthy taste is the result of using truffle oil.
EDEN PUREE SERVES 4
While there is no evidence that Eve made soup out of her apples, I know an Eve who does.
The result is delicious and, so far as I have been able to tell, not nearly so dangerous to the
inhabitants of a garden as was the original use of the fruit. The purée described below is
simple, and the actual time you will have to spend on it is short, but it will require about two
hours cooking on a low burner. It is the sort of thing you may start while preparing luncheon
or dinner, look at once or twice during the next couple of hours, and when it has finished
cooking, devote ten minutes to it for the final touches. Jarred and stored in the refrigerator, it
will be ready when you need it, and require only to be shaken well and heated before serving.
2 LARGE APPLES
2 MEDIUM ONIONS
6 CUPS WATER
10 BEEF BOUILLON CUBES
12 WHOLE CLOVES
1 CUP CREAM
1 TEASPOON MINCED PARSLEY
Slice the apples and the onions thin. Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan, add the
bouillon cubes. When they are dissolved, add the cloves and the apple and onion slices.
Cover and let boil gently until the apple and onion are mushy, about two hours. Add water
from time to time if needed, to keep about four cups of liquid in the pan. Strain the liquid, and
mash the apple and onion through a sieve into the broth. Add to this purée the cream, and two
dashes each of Tabasco and Scotch Bonnet. Garnish with minced parsley and serve hot. (A
blender may be used, if available.)
ONION SOUP SERVES 4
Few soups are equally suitable both for opening a dinner and for the main course at luncheon
or supper. One of these is French onion soup. To make it from scratch is a time-consuming
task: many onions have to be sliced and sautéed slowly in butter for about forty-five minutes,
stock must be prepared and then cooked with the sautéed onions for several hours before the
soup is ready to eat. There are a great variety of tinned, jarred, frozen, and dehydrated onion
soups available, but no one of them with which I am familiar has either the flavour or
consistency which onion soup should possess. It is possible, however, by combining two
tinned varieties, to create with a minimum of effort a soup with a fine flavour, the proper
consistency, and a goodly portion of onions. The recipe below will yield enough to provide a
light lunch for two people, or an adequate soup course for four.
Photo owned by The Madras
1 TIN CAMPBELL'S CONDENSED ONION SOUP
1 TIN HABITANT FRENCH ONION SOUP
¼ CUP CLARET OR BURGUNDY
1 LARGE CROUTON OR SLICE FRENCH BREAD FOR EACH SERVING
½ CUP GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE
Combine the soups in a saucepan, blending well over a low fire. Just before they are
thoroughly heated, add the wine and bring to the boiling point. Place the croutons in large,
hot soup plates, ladle the soup over the croutons, and serve with grated cheese on the side.
MADRILÈNE TSARINA SERVES 4
This is the soup par excellence for a formal luncheon or dinner when the temperature outside
your air-conditioned dining room is in the nineties. It is most appealing to the eye; it has
taste, in both senses of the word; and it is ridiculously easy to make, provided you have had
the forethought to put two tins of madrilène in your refrigerator to jell at least six hours
before you plan to serve the soup. I am indebted, deeply indebted, I should say, for the recipe
to a member of the informal luncheon group mentioned in the Introduction. She claims she
tossed it off in an idle moment; perhaps she did, for like most works of genius, it is simple.
2 TINS JELLIED MADRILÈNE
½ CUP SOUR CREAM
4 TEASPOONS CAVIAR
1 LEMON, QUARTERED
4 S PRIGS WATER CRESS
Divide the madrilène among four bouillon cups. Place a generous tablespoon of sour cream
on each serving, and add to the sour cream an equally generous teaspoon of caviar. Squeeze
the juice of a quarter of a lemon over each cup, and garnish each with a sprig of water cress.
Serve forthwith. Hot melba toast, preferably homemade and right out of the oven, blends
perfectly, taste-wise, with the soup.
SUMMER SOUP SERVES 4
A cold soup of more than ordinary appeal, and one which you can prepare and serve at a
moment's notice and in about the time it takes to make a side car, is, like that drink, put
together in a cocktail shaker. This combination is particularly useful on a hot evening when
everyone wishes to linger on the terrace as long as possible. It may be served or even made
there as easily as in the kitchen. While by no means essential, hot saltines complement the
soup perfectly. The quantities listed are those you will get from a tin of the juice and a tin of
the soup respectively.
2½ CUPS TOMATO JUICE
l½ CUPS CONDENSED CREAM OF CELERY SOUP
½ CUP MILK
1 MEDIUM ONION, GRATED
1 CUP COARSELY CRACKED ICE
Pour the tomato juice, the soup, and the milk into a large cocktail shaker. Add the grated
onion, a few drops of Tabasco, a little salt, and a pinch of cayenne. Put in the ice and shake
with fine abandon until the mixture is thoroughly chilled. Strain into soup cups, garnish each
with a sprinkling of chopped chives, and serve.
ZUPPO PAVESE SERVES 4
Just as French onion soup is more of a meal in itself than a first course for dinner, so this fine
Italian peasant dish is more appropriate as the chief feature of a light luncheon or late supper
than as part of an evening repast. The important thing to remember is the quality of the broth.
It must be rich and full-bodied, but not thick. Broth made from boiling a chicken and then
cooking the stock down to about one half its original volume is the best. If you make the
broth from chicken extract and water, use a generous teaspoon and a half of extract for each
cup of water.
4 PIECES WHITE BREAD
2 TABLESPOONS BUTTER
4 CUPS GOOD CHICKEN BROTH
½ TEASPOON FRESH PEPPER
2 TABLESPOONS GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE
Remove the crust from the bread. Melt the butter in a skillet and sauté the bread on both sides
until brown. Meanwhile place the broth in a deep skillet or a flat-bottomed saucepan, add
freshly ground pepper, and bring to a boil. Extinguish the flame under the broth and poach
the eggs in it, covered, until they are firm and on the hard side. The yolks should not run
when the eggs are cut. Place each piece of bread in a hot soup plate, and sprinkle with half a
tablespoon of grated cheese. Place a poached egg on each piece of bread, and divide the broth
among the four plates. Garnish with a few pinches of paprika, and serve with additional
grated cheese on the side. A Mixed Green Salad (qv) in addition to the soup will give you a
light but nourishing meal, and a glass or two of dry Orvieto will make it a memorable one as
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