Soup, it’s delicious, right? And a fantastic way to use up whatever has been hovering around your kitchen. There’s a scary side to soup, though, especially if you’re starting with a powdered or canned variety. It can hide a LOT of sodium. A good rule-of-thumb is to keep the milligrams of sodium equal or less than the calories. Check out any soup in your grocery store, even the “healthy menu” types, and you’ll find there’s four (or more) times the sodium in most varieties. Not so healthy, after all. Sure, in a pinch, they can work. But with an hour or two while you’re working on something else or even sitting in front of the tube, you can cook up one or two huge pots of soup, and freeze the results to last for months.
So if you’re stuck inside in the cold, and you’ve got some vegetables, an onion or two, and beans, or meat, rice, pasta, or potatoes, you can make soup. Your body will thank you. Here’s one to get you started.
Soup season has arrived! (Okay, to be fair, it is always soup season at our house). Each time we have a bag of parings, ends, and leftover veg bits, we make stock. And the same goes with something like the Thanksgiving turkey. We don’t eat much meat these days, but when we do, we are conscious of using every bit.
This starts with putting some sliced onion (skin and all) or other vegetable parings underneath the bird as it cooks. These will add flavour to the stock. We like to use a large roaster with a lid, and cook the stock right in the same pan, or otherwise put some parchment underneath so every bit can be transferred to the stock pot. We always keep stock on hand, and we love to make traditional soups, like Traditional Turkey, or new ones, like Turkey Chickpea Curry Rice soup.
What’s your favourite soup?
We arrived home Tuesday night from beautiful San Francisco, after an exciting week of learning, volunteering to practice our skills, sightseeing, and eating and drinking lots of delicious food and wine. It was snow, rain, and freezing rain all around us when we woke up. Back to reality with a thump!
We’re pretty grateful de such opportunities – and to be back home – so no complaints. The fridge was pretty bare. We did hav lots of carrots, and some ginger and apples. There’s always a stock of broth on hand (pardon the pun). So before rushing out to shop, I considered what was at hand. Plenty of fixings for a tasty carrot soup. While I got ready for work, I chopped and roasted three large carrots at 400F with a quartered apple, a little walnut oil and some maple syrup (about a tablespoon or 15ml of each). It doesn’t matter if they are fully cooked – they’ll finish off in the soup.
When you’re ready for soup, bring the carrots to the boil in a litre (4c) of water with 2 or 3 coin-sized pieces of fresh, peeled ginger. When the carrots are soft, purée the lot with an immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender. Add 2 cups of cooked chickpeas (or one can, drained) and stir over low heat, just until hot enough to eat.
Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dollop of fat free yogurt, or some fresh chopped herbs.
We had some roasted tofu in the fridge (for you vega phobics it almost tastes like chicken). The roasted root vegetable and red lentil soup was in the freezer from last week. (Abridged version: cook red lentils, add leftover cooked veg and a little water or broth, purée with a hand blender and a tablespoon of curry powder).
I diced the roasted tofu leftovers, in my fridge for a couple of days, and stirred into the soup. Excellent for a partner or roomie with a cold!
Here’s how to roast the tofu: Press unwrapped firm tofu on a plate by weighting another plate on top with a can for 20 minutes, drain and cut into 1″/2.5cm cubes. Drizzle w soy sauce, sesame oil and grate over some fresh ginger. Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally until golden brown.
One of the great things about this time of year is the fantastic selection of vegetables. Although it isn’t tomato season quite yet on the coast, everything else on this tray came from our garden: red onions, pattypan squash, and turnip. Diced with our own oregano and a splash of olive oil and vinegar, we roasted this tray for 30 minutes at 400F, then let them rest in the oven 30 minutes or so while we boiled water and made pasta. Half the batch formed our pasta topping, so then today…what to do with the leftovers?
We diced a potato and cooked it in 2c water until tender (about 6 minutes). To this we added the 2c roasted veg, and an equal amount of 1% milk (plant milk would work just as well). Heat until piping hot and serve with a sprinkle of smoked paprika and basil on top.
We’ve been in “use it up” mode at our house lately, finding creative ways to avoid the grocery store and use what’s on hand. This includes working down things we have in the freezer, in anticipation (hope?) of another season of garden bounty. Also, I was once again fooled into buying bananas. Here in Nova Scotia, even if the bananas look as green as grass, they won’t last more than a day or two. So here’s what we did – enough for last night’s dinner and lunch today…
Dice a large carrot, an onion, and two peeled white potatoes. Put on to boil in some vegetable broth, then simmer 10 minutes til tender.
Chop up half a pound or about 200g of fish, or use leftover cooked fish, and add to the veg along with a couple of large spoonfuls of dried unsweetened coconut and a tablespoon (15ml) of curry powder. Simmer until fish ish opaque and stir in a cup or so of milk.
Heat through…and here’s the surprise: in each bowl, slice in half a banana. Top with the soup and some chopped herbs – we have basil and Vietnamese coriander growing in the window.
It was delish, and we hope you enjoy it.
As the weather cools and many of our garden crops have been harvested, it can be easy to turn our thoughts to root vegetables. Well we should! But it isn’t too late for salad yet, even without cold frames. Yesterday we harvested delicious beets and Swiss chard, an we still have a healthy crop of mizuna. All of this was turned into today’s lunch salad, along with some chopped apple, walnuts, and feta cheese, held together with this vinaigrette (for two):
15ml/1T each of red wine vinegar, tarragon Dijon, and olive oil, whisked together. If you don’t have tarragon Dijon, use regular, and add some chopped herbs of your choice.
Tasty – although we admit if the chill stays in the air, we will turn our thoughts to soup!
Always looking for ways to use what’s on hand…this soup was waiting to be made from ingredients in our fridge. For two:
Bring 750ml/3c homemade stock to boil, and add:
125ml/1/2c sliced red onion
1/3 yellow pepper, diced
1 large cremini mushroom, sliced
2 grilled chicken thighs, diced
100g/3oz cooked chickpeas
5ml/1t curry paste
Simmer until veg are tender. With a glass of 1% milk each, under 500 calories.
Our quest to find as many ways as possible to use our roast turkey had to include soup, of course. But this week’s version took a turn for the tasty! In addition to onion, garlic, carrot and mushrooms, we added in a thumb-sized chunk of ginger, julienned. Just the thing for fighting off the bug that has been going around (and finally caught us). We finished it off with the stock we made from our turkey carcass, some leftover turkey, and tipped in a good handful each of short grain brown rice and red lentils.
It simmered into a thick, hearty consistency that doesn’t taste like the same old turkey soup at all – and warmed us for our excursion out into the rainy world.
We’ve been under a blizzard warning today and haven’t even ventured outside. Here on the east coast we know what to do during stormy weather – keep calm and make soup! The key to managing when roads are impassable is to have a good stock of staples on hand at all times. Had we lost power, we might have subsisted on tuna, or peanut butter, or dozens of other “in a pinch” choices. But this time we were fortunate to just have to hunker down and keep warm.
Our easy, delicious chowder was made from ingredients we always have on hand: frozen fish fillets, potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, and a few other flavours.
Place 240g/8oz fillets on a plate to thaw enough to safely dice. Meanwhile…
1 peeled potato
1 medium onion
1 peeled carrot
1 stalk celery
Bring to boil and simmer in 250ml/2c water until tender.
Add diced fish and:
2 bottled or canned anchovies, chopped
2 ml pepper
Simmer until fish is cooked and will flake.
1 can evaporated skim milk
Heat through and enjoy with crackers or whole meal bread. We did!