Some soups â€˜n’ stuff
Often, on a can, box or bag, there’s a recipe suggesting how to use the contents of the can, box or bag. These are generally okay recipes, after all, the producer wants to show off their product in the best light.
I’m prone to go that one better, trying to create a recipe for something I’ve eaten, and liked. Both cases are illustrated in this post, and in the previous two posts, for that matter.
I bought a can of Campbell’s Select Grilled Chicken with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Mushrooms and ate it for lunch. Pretty good. I can make that, I thought. So I copied down the ingredients from the back of the can (in order of quantity).
Gemelli pasta (cooked enriched macaroni product)
cooked chicken meat
tomato puree (water, tomato paste)
modified food starch
romano cheese (made from cows milk)
soy protein isolate
grill flavor from vegetable oil
chicken flavor (contains chicken stock, chicken powder, chicken fat)
Pictures of soup are pretty boring… but this soup isn’t boring.
Grilled Chicken with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Mushrooms
I had homemade chicken stock and individually quick frozen oven dried tomatoes in the freezer, and a leftover half roast chicken. Good start. Since it was a good season for it, I bought tomatoes, corn, mushrooms and carrots at the Farmers Market.
I wasn’t quite sure where to start on quantities, but it seemed that everything was cooked or prepped individually and then assembled. So I based the quantities on one chopped tomato and the chicken stock I had, about 4 quarts.
1/2 chopped onion
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
4 quarts chicken broth
1/2 cup gemelli pasta
1/2 cup roughly chopped carrots (diced or fingertip size)
1 tomato, peeled, seeded and diced
6 to 8 halves oven dried or sun dried tomatoes
1 ear corn kernels, off the cob or about 1/2 cup frozen corn
2 to 4 mushrooms (depending on size), sliced
meat picked from 1/2 roast chicken, about 1 1/2C… better yet, grilled chicken breast, chopped
Saute the onion and garlic in a soup pot in a little olive oil until soft.
Stir in the pasta and carrots to get them coated with the oil.
Add hot chicken broth and bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook until the pasta is done, about 7 minutes, or as pasta package says.
Add the chopped tomato, oven dried tomato, corn, mushrooms and meat
Season with salt & pepper
Cook about 3 minutes longer, or just long enough to heat everything through.
Damn, that’s good!
Carol and I did a taste-off at dinner that evening.
Compared to mine, the Campbell’s had a pretty strong artificial “smoke” flavor, mine tasted fresher (it was!). Both were good.
Note: Campbell’s no longer makes that soup… it’s not listed on their web site, nor is it on the shelf at my local Safeway.
READING FROM THE SWANSON CAN
Of course they’re selling broth, but these are ok ideas…
Vegetables: Add flavor to your favorite vegetables without adding butter. Just simmer in Swanson Natural Goodness.
Pan Roasted Gravy: Pour off fat from roasting pan and add 3 tablespoons flour dissolved in 1 3/4C Swanson Natural Goodness.
Chicken Noodle Soup Express:
49 oz can [about 6C] Swanson Natural Goodness Chicken Broth
2 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 cup uncooked egg noodles
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
Salt and pepper
In a saucepan, mix broth, pepper carrots & celery. Bring to a boil and add noodles. Cook at a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add chicken and heat through. [I would throw in some cubed leftover potatoes, as well.]
How can one go wrong. For a nice change of pace, use Angel Hair Pasta or the fine Chinese egg noodles that come in little bundles.
W tries to avoid canned soups – way too much salt! Winter weekends are made for making a big pot of whatever is handy, then freeze the leftovers in 1 quart zip-locks for summertime. I’ll try this one!
There’s two sides to the coin, of course: They’re trying to sell their product by showing you how to use it in more ways; but also it’s a service to people who don’t really know how to cook. Of course, it’s not completely altruistic but they recognize that there’s a big slice of the public out there looking for ideas.
In that vein, there’s a section of the Elle magazine website called “Cuisine du placard” (or “Cooking from the cupboard”) that gives people (in their case, mainly young, single women) ideas about how to make interesting dishes from stuff that’s probably already sitting in your larder or could be had from a quick trip to the supermarket. Of course, it’s in French and it uses ingredients that you can’t find very easily in the US (for example, two of the recipes featured on the front page are veal roast and sliced duck breast) but it’s worth a look.