"Le Cordon Bleu Home Collection: Soups"

Pros: Incredible food
Cons: Limited number of recipes
Rating: 5 out of 5

First published 7/17/2000

On a whim, my fiancee and I picked up two of the “Le Cordon Bleu Home Collection” cookbooks: Soups and Desserts. We were disappointed by them when they first arrived. They’re small, and they don’t have many recipes in them (Soups has 29). Many of the recipes looked like “standards” – common soups that everyone has a recipe for, like cream of cauliflower, minestrone, cream of tomato, borscht, bisque, cream of mushroom, gazpacho, vichyssoise, and clam chowder.

When we used them, however, my opinion changed entirely. I have never tasted such consistently amazing soups; at this point I trust this cookbook entirely. I even expect that I would probably like the fish soup and the cream of cauliflower, even though I’m not fond of fish or cauliflower, just because they come from this cookbook.

The shrimp bisque is absolutely amazing. Perfectly smooth and creamy; wonderfully rich. You can easily substitute chopped-up crab legs for the shrimp to create an even better crab bisque. The cream of mushroom soup is one of the recipes that first convinced me that I liked mushrooms. The cream of asparagus soup was even better. The smoked salmon soup with lime Chantilly cream is my favorite; it’s well worth buying a very good, whole smoked salmon for, despite the expense. The flavor is outstanding, and it reheats well. The lime Chantilly cream adds the perfect tart citrus flavor to counterbalance the rich salmon. The pumpkin soup, thick and rich with a little rice for texture, lasted us for days. We prefer variety on most occasions, but we were happy to eat this soup again and again.

The directions occasionally seem daunting, but they’re easier than they look; I think the writers simply didn’t break them down into enough separate steps. So don’t be put off by directions that sound complicated.

Oh, and by the way – these cookbooks have some of the most gorgeous pictures of food that I’ve ever seen.

We’ve started collecting the other “Le Cordon Bleu Home Collection” cookbooks. They’re all just as small, and most of them produce incredible food. I keep thinking that I should give this cookbook only a four, for having few recipes. But it’s a fantastic cookbook, and I can’t imagine not giving it a five.

Posted in Cooking, Reviews

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