Cream of vegetable soups have always been a favorite of mine. I love their satiny texture and rich flavor. I also like the fact that I can easily make a silky-smooth soup from whatever looks best at the farmers’ market (or even from what’s in my fridge or pantry) because the method is virtually the same for all vegetables: they’re cooked until tender in broth, water, or milk, thickened, and puréed.
When I make a “cream of” soup, I usually feature just one vegetable. But I always add some aromatics—garlic, shallots, onions, leeks—to make the flavor more complex.
Purée the soup in a blender
For the creamiest texture, I use a blender. A food processor will give a slightly grainy texture, and a food mill will be the coarsest. If you want the soup perfectly smooth, or if the vegetable has a skin (like tomatoes) or is particularly fibrous (like artichokes), work the puréed soup through a medium mesh strainer with the back of a ladle.
Most cream soups are best when the flavor of the vegetable isn’t blurred by too many ingredients, but herbs, spices, or cooked meats can make the soup more interesting.