A wide variety of soups are available in convenience form — they may be powdered, canned, frozen, boil-in-the-bag or even purchased freshly made. They may be classified in exactly the same way as fresh soups, though the finished product may well have been produced by a totally different method. Any instructions given by the manufacturer for the production of these items, however, should be followed.
Convenience soups may, of course, be served to the customer just as they are with no further preparation, or they may be combined with fresh soup at the discretion of the caterer. Additional garnishes may be included, such as cooked julienne of vegetables, small dice of cooked chicken or previously cooked cereals such as rice or pearl barley. All these will add variety, texture and color. Bread sippets and croûtons may also be used to accompany convenience soups in exactly the same way as they would accompany freshly prepared soup.
Any type of convenience soup may be adjusted for consistency, seasoning and color. Purée and cream type convenience soups may be finished with liaisons of cream or egg yolks and cream just as freshly prepared soups are. Freshly chopped parsley and diced cooked meat or poultry added at the point of service will enhance what might otherwise be an ordinary convenience broth type soup. Thick brown convenience soups may be completed with a freshly cooked garnish of vegetables and herbs, and in some instances a fortified wine such as sherry or madeira may also be added to enhance the flavor. Bisques may be finished at the last moment with brandy, cream and small pieces of freshly cooked shellfish in keeping with the name of the soup to give the impression of care and forethought.
Convenience soups are infinitely more complex in nature and variety than may at first be realized. The experience and expertise of the professional chef, his care, judgment and pride in the dish to be served are just as important whether the soup is made from wholly fresh commodities, comes out of a packet or is a combination of the two.