Crouton soup refers to any soup containing croutons in significant proportions. Croutons are the small cubes of fried or sautéed bread that are often seasoned and incorporated in soups and salads as a garnish or accompaniment. Tomato soup, chicken soup and French onion soup are some of the popular varieties of soup that are typically topped with croutons.
Making croutons at home is a relatively easy process and any surplus or old bread can be transformed into crispy croutons. The bread made in South America with manioc flour is the most commonly used bread for making croutons due to its hardness when dried. Crouton soups quite often include aniseed bread or cheese bread croutons as well.
Crouton Soup Recipe: Ingredients and Preparation Overview
The base of crouton soup may be any combination of ingredients simmered in vegetable or chicken stock, but the vital components are croutons that are prepared by a specific method. Generally, sautéing is done to make crispy bread cubes, but deep-frying method is also quite popular.
Croutons can either be plain or seasoned. Any hard and unsweetened bread is diced into small cubes and sautéed in olive oil or butter along with seasonings such as salt, pepper, garlic powder or paprika until crispy and crunchy. For plain croutons, no seasoning is added while sautéing.
It is required to spread the sautéed bread pieces onto a paper towel to remove the excess oil or butter. The croutons can both be prepared beforehand and kept in airtight jar until used or can be made while soup is simmering. The crispiness of the bread pieces can be restored by reheating them in oven just before adding to the soup.
Croutons are not cooked in the soup, but are essentially used as garnish on top of any soup.
Popular Crouton Soups
- French onion soup – This is one of the most popular soup recipes in France that is prepared with caramelized onions and beef broth. Croutons and melting cheese are the main toppings for this soup.
- Tomato soup – This is quite simple soup prepared with tomato and seasonings, but garnished with little cream and sautéed bread cubes on the top. The crispiness of the bread pieces goes well with tangy tomato flavor.
Nutritional Facts Related to Crouton Soups
The nutrition of the crouton soup depends upon the base of the soup; however croutons themselves are full of vitamins, carbohydrates, fats and minerals. It is stated in the nutrition database of USDA that seasoned croutons are healthier than plain croutons, as seasonings including cheese, herbs and spices have their own nutritional values. Baked croutons are also more nutritional than fried or a sautéed version due to less quantity of fat, although unsaturated fat is high in croutons thus increasing the benefits of crouton soup.