What is Soup? Composition, Classification | Hotel Management

  • Post last modified:14 December 2020
  • Reading time:14 mins read
  • Post category:Hotel Management
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Introduction to Soups

Soups are considered as one of the main appetites which having a meal. These are taken with starters and are available in many types of menu in a wide variety of catering establishments. The range can be from fast food operations to more traditionally based luxury catering systems. In french soups are known as Les Potages.

What is Soup?

Soup is a liquid food that is served at the beginning of a meal or lunch. It is made up of fish, poultry, games, shellfish, meat, vegetables by adding stocks to it with or without thickening agents.

Composition of Soups

From the above explanation, it is clear that for making any kind of soup a group of ingredients is necessary,

  • Stock …… of any variety.
  • Main body ingredients…… the soup will get its name.
  • Herbs ……… to match the flavor.
  • Butter ……. as a cooking medium.
  • Seasoning …….. for the taste.
  • Thickening Agent …….. for binding solids and liquids.
  • Garnish ……….. for presentation and eye appeal.

Classification of Soups

The soup maybe classified in the following manner,

Classification of Soups

Clear Soups


Consommé is a clear soup which is mostly made of light colored stocks. In this soup, flavors are combined with ingredients.

Clarification Process

During cooking clear soups protein contents are derived from egg white and minced beef, coagulates, flocculates and rises to the surface of the consommé. When the cooking is completed proteins and other ingredients lie in the bottom of the soup.

Basic Reasons for Cloudy Consommé
  • Stock is either bad quality or not clear.
  • The stock made contains more fat which made the stock greasy.
  • Stock is not strained well.
  • Mixing while scum is formed.
  • A raft is not compact due to poor coagulation.
  • The container is not washed properly.
Double Consommé – Consommé Double

While preparing a consommé if lean meat and maripox are added double the quantity is termed as double consommé.

Cold Consommé – Consommé Froid

While making consommé fat should be skimmed off carefully and seasoned with port-wine, Madeira wine and cayenne pepper. Then it is cooled in a refrigerator. Cold consommé is served spicy. It is served with or without garnish.


The broth is a stock liquor that is flavored with vegetables or vegetables and meat or vegetables and seafood. It may also contain rice or barley. It is flavored with herbs, seasoning, and spices. Broth looks like thickened soup because of using cereal while cooking. However, as the soup remains unpassed, its thickening is not affected.

Types of Broth

Broths Are Divided Into Three Types,

  1. When vegetables are added directly to the stock base which contains meat ingredients. Eg; stewing mutton.
  2. When the vegetable is sweated in without color in the initial stages of preparation just before the addition of stock.
  3. Fish flavored broths Eg; chowders.
English TermMeat ContentGarnishFrench Term
Beef BrothStewing beefChopped parsleyBouillon de Boeuf
Chicken BrothBoilingChopped parsleyBouillon de Voilaille
Game BrothAssorted stewing gameChopped parsleyBouillon dep Gibier
Scotch Mutton BrothStewing muttonChopped parsleyPotage Eccossais

Thick Soups


Puree soups are made of,

  • Vegetables that contain a high amount of starch are used. Eg: pulse vegetables
  • Aqueous vegetables. Eg: leaks, onion, celery.

Puree soups are produced from starchy vegetables and thickening agents are not used. Sometimes puree soups are made using aqueous vegetables and starch is needed to add to make the soup thick. Rice and potatoes are commonly used as thickening agents.

When the puree soups are cooked they are passed through the food processor for liquidizing and then strained in a conical strainer. After the process, it is reheated and seasoned and consistency is checked. Croutons are used as a garnish for puree.

English Term – Main IngredientIngredient for GarnishFrench Term
Puree of Haricot bean soupChopped parsleyPotage Soissonnaise
Puree of red bean soupFinish with dry red winePotage Conde
Puree of Lentil SoupChopped parsleyPotage de Lentilles
Pure of Lentil SoupDiced cooked bacon pinch of chopped chervilPortage Conti


These are made of one of the mother sauce as a thickening agent to make cream soup. The flavor is balanced with a predominant recipe. In cream soups, aqueous vegetables are used and starchy vegetables are not used as there is no use of thickening agents.

English Term – Main IngredientIngredient GarnishFrench Term
Cream of Asparagus SoupCooked asparagus tipsCrème d’Asperges
Cream of Carrot SoupChopped parsleyCrème de Carrottes
Cream of Carrot SoupAs above plus boiled riceCream Crecy
Cream of Cauliflower SoupSmall cooked sprigs of cauliflowerCrème de Chou-fleur/Dubarry

Velouté Soups

Velouté is a French word which means velvety in English. This soup’s main thickening agent is blond roux and for flavor different types of stock is used depending on the dish. When aqueous vegetables are used while making velouté soup the favor is based on the vegetables. To get the smooth texture liaison of egg yolk and cream is added to the soup. When these ingredients are used in the soup it is not reheated as the egg yolk and cream get curdled and taste and the appearance get spoiled.

Menu TermMain StockIngredient
Veloute de Vollaille (Chicken Veloute)ChickenJulienne of cooked chicken
Veloute de Poisson (fish veloute)FishChopped parsley
Veloure Dieppoise (mussel veloute)Fish and mussel cooking liquorBudded mussels, Shrimps/Prawns, Chopped parsley
Veloute aux HuitresFish and oyster cooking liquor8 poached oysters, Chopped parsley

Shellfish Soups/ Bisque

Shellfish soups are also known as bisques. The shellfish soup gets its flavor from fish stock made with selected shellfish and mirepoix. These soups are also defined as thickened, passes, and classical seafood soup. Its flavor is enhanced with wine, brandy and the thickening agent for this soup is rice.

Menu TermMain Shellfish PreparationIngredient
Bisque de Crab (crab bisque)Crab Claws (cracked)White crab meat
Bisque de Homard (lobster bisque)Lobster, split (sack removed from head), claws cracked, remainder cut into piecesDiced, cooked lobster meat, flavoured with branch)
Bisque de Crevettes (prawn or shrimp bisque)Whole prawns or shrimpsCooked prawns or shrimps


Chowder is a French word that means soups and stew cooked in a heavy pot. This soup is generally made of seafood. The best French chowder is Bouillabaisse. It is a stew that is an American specialty made of meat, fish, vegetables with milk, pork belly, tomato, and seasonings. Crackers are crushed and used as thickening agents and Beurre manie is commonly used thickening agent used for the soup.

English TermMain ShellfishGarnish
Calm chowderCalmsChopped parsley
Mussel chowderMusselsChopped parsley
Oyster chowderOystersChopped parsley
Scallop chowderScallopsChopped parsley
Seafood chowderAssorted shellfishChopped parsley

Special and National Soups

  • Boillabaisse a la Provencale (assorted fish soup) … France.
  • Busecca (onion,leek,beans,pesto & cheese) … Italy.
  • Chicken Broth … English.
  • Gazpacho ( cold vegetable uncooked soup) … Spain.
  • Minestrone … Italy.
  • Mock Turtle Soup … U S A.
  • Mullugatawny … India.
  • Scotch Broth … Scotland.
  • Olla Porida … Spain.
  • Oxtail Soup … English.
  • Vichyssoise (cold) … U S A
  • Zuppa Pa vese … Italy.


Book – Food Production Operations by Oxford University

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