Types of Soups
Although soup recipes vary from country to country, culture to culture, and household to household, it is still possible to organize soups into three distinct categories.
Clear soups include any soup that begins with a translucent broth. This includes broths, consommés, most chicken soups with rice or noodles, beef and vegetable soups, bouillabaisses, and tomato broths. It doesn't matter how packed a soup might be with meats, grains, and vegetables; the thing that makes it a clear soup is the presence of a translucent broth.
Cream Soups and Veloutés
Cream soups can be simple broths to which heavy cream or milk has been added, or they can be complicated bisques made from reduced seafood stock, puréed shellfish, and cream. Velouté is a French version of cream soup that begins with a butter-and-flour roux and may or may not include eggs as a thickener. Cream soups can be chunky, like clam chowder, while most veloutés are smooth soups.
Thick soups include heavy vegetable purees, roux-thickened soups like gumbo, hearty bean soups, and fruit purées. Some chefs also classify cream soups and veloutés as thick soups.