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Make Puree Soup by Pureeing Vegetable Before Cooking?

99Jason Mar 27, 2013 05:31 AM

I have a regular vegetable/bitter greens soup I make and a few times I've tried pureeing the cooked soup with an old hand blender I have. I'm thinking of buying a food processor and one factor that would make it worthwhile would be if it made my soup-making easier.

I'm mostly interested in making the whole process as time-efficient as possible, so wondering how good my results would be if I pureed the vegetables (Zuchinni, Collards, Carrots, Celery, Mushrooms) prior to cooking.

(I'm imagining this is the quickest way to make the meal, as I have to chop the veges anyway, and this way I don't have to buy (and use as a separate step) an immersion blender. Also, pouring the hot, cooked soup into the blender sounds cumbersome and messy.)

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    Violatp RE: 99Jason Mar 27, 2013 05:47 AM

    I don't think it'll be the same thing. I mean, it would be A thing, but not the creamy silkiness you get from pureeing cooked vegetables, where the cell walls have already broken down.

    I think you'd have a soup with lots of tiny bits in it vs. a puree.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Violatp
      lemons RE: Violatp Mar 27, 2013 05:49 AM

      Yes, a sludge as it were. You can get the handhelds for about $30 and they're worth the investment for gravies as well as soups. Blenders get things smoother than processors or handhelds, but your clear focus is on speed. You might also think about cooking now for tomorrow, letting things cool off and then using the blender either after they cool or from the fridge before reheating tomorrow and correcting the seasoning.

      1. re: lemons
        1sweetpea RE: lemons Mar 27, 2013 06:43 AM

        It's also important to note that when you saute aromatics (i.e. onions, garlic, celery, carrots, spices, herbs, etc.) then add your main vegetation, you're building layers of flavor that can't, in my opinion, be achieved by simply dumping a puree of all ingredients into a pot at the same time. Even if you cook the puree fully, you won't have nearly the depth of flavor that you'd have by starting with an ingredient or two, then adding many of those ingredients one at a time. The immersion blender is typically cheap, and while not perfect, does a pretty good job with purees of non-stringy vegetable soups (I don't care for the results with asparagus, say.).

        1. re: 1sweetpea
          Violatp RE: 1sweetpea Mar 27, 2013 07:08 AM

          And add your pieces of ham AFTER you've already pureed the split pea or bean soup. Ask me how I know. ;-)

          1. re: Violatp
            sunshine842 RE: Violatp Mar 27, 2013 02:44 PM

            mmmm.....liquid ham. :)

            1. re: sunshine842
              Violatp RE: sunshine842 Mar 27, 2013 03:07 PM

              hahaha - more like stringy ham bits all wound around the blender blades.

              1. re: Violatp
                sunshine842 RE: Violatp Mar 28, 2013 01:16 AM

                oh geez. THAT was fun.

          2. re: 1sweetpea
            99Jason RE: 1sweetpea Mar 27, 2013 07:52 AM

            It's worth sauteeing carrots and celery? (I had no idea those were considered aromatics)

            1. re: 99Jason
              Kris in Beijing RE: 99Jason Mar 27, 2013 12:17 PM

              I'm thinking the Holy Trinity-- which varies in composition by culture-- but is usually three of bell pepper, carrot, and celery, often plus one of onion, shallot, or garlic.

              Again, depending upon your definitions, add tomato and you'll have sofrito.

              Whichever you choose, theses should be sauteed together before everything else.
              In a tremendous number of wok-cooked dishes, the aromatics are cooked almost to beyond the pale and then Removed so only the essence is in the cooking oil.

              1. re: 99Jason
                sunshine842 RE: 99Jason Mar 28, 2013 01:18 AM

                it is ABSOLUTELY worth sauteeing carrots and celery (and onion)

                The intense heat of the saute, and the oil, release flavor compounds that simmering in water will never free.

                Sauteing things like carrots and celery and onion (sometimes garlic and/or green pepper) create a flavor base, and it's a common starting point for many of the world's cuisines.

        2. 9
          99Jason RE: 99Jason Mar 27, 2013 06:31 AM

          Thanks for the thoughts. I'll just add this discussion: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/793909 (which I wasn't able to find when searching).

          Sounds like the best compromise is an immersion blender...

          3 Replies
          1. re: 99Jason
            Violatp RE: 99Jason Mar 27, 2013 06:37 AM

            Definitely. If price is an issue, you can probably (maybe with a bit of patience) find one for almost nothing at a thrift store. Or drugstores often carry small, no-named, appliances for around $10, less if you have a coupon! CVS has coupons all the time!

            And they don't take up much space in storage. You could even store it IN your soup pot.

            1. re: Violatp
              greygarious RE: Violatp Mar 27, 2013 01:46 PM

              I have never once bothered with the blender since buying a $10 immersion blender at the drugstore. Works great and cleanup is bliss: whir it in a mug of soapy water, then rinse.

              1. re: greygarious
                EM23 RE: greygarious Mar 28, 2013 09:21 AM

                Great tip Grey!

          2. ipsedixit RE: 99Jason Mar 27, 2013 07:57 AM

            Make Puree Soup by Pureeing Vegetable Before Cooking?

            That would be called a "Hot Smoothie".

            You might be onto something, though.

            Give Jamba Juice some competition in the winter months.

            1. Kris in Beijing RE: 99Jason Mar 27, 2013 12:10 PM

              How about a crock pot? You don't have to chop up the veggies and you'll still get a fair amount of deep flavour. After an overnight/all day on low, your old hand blender might do the job.
              You could also press through a colander/ sieve or use a ricer-- all potential $2 finds at a Thrift/ Good Will/ Salvation Army. A motivated person could press through well cooked veggies in short order.

              BTW-- what is your hand blender?
              I have visions of anything from
              an egg beater with a hand crank
              to a hand mixer with 2 beaters
              to a regular, albeit old, immersion stick blender.

              1. t
                tastesgoodwhatisit RE: 99Jason Mar 28, 2013 01:41 AM

                I do pureed veggie soups a lot, and I find the easiest way is to sautee the aromatics (onion, garlic, celery, mushrooms), add the broth and other vegetables and simmer until tender, puree with the hand blender in the pot, and then add seasonings. The simmering step is the longest, and during that point you can do other things.

                The immersion blender is definitely worth it. I've been using the same one for about 20 years now, and it's definitely the least effort and time, because I don't have to wash the food processor, or wait for the soup to cool enough to puree in a blender.

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