Illustration: The Magazine of Yoga, based on a photo by Glane23 and Jerpeck.
Really Healthy Real Life: Hot Soup, Family Meals
Hungry young men you can’t fool with a can opener
BY MAGAZINE CORRESPONDENT SCOTT MOON
As the season changes, so do our cooking habits and this time of year means the beginning of soup and stew season.
Nothing like a nice bowl of warmth with a crusty piece of bread to warm you up at the end of the day. As I learned as a kid, soup is, “Mmm, mmm, good!”
Black bean, chicken noodle, vegetable, pasta e fagioli – does not matter much to me – just ladle it up.
Waiter, there’s a can in my soup
Several years ago, after renovating our kitchen, I made a New Year’s resolution to try one new recipe each week as a way of livening my kitchen duties and expanding my children’s’ tastes. The rule in our house is: “You only have to try it.” Surprisingly, my pledge lasted over a year – but I have since lapsed a bit.
After a few months, I was rushed one evening and opened a couple cans of national label soups, dumped them in a sauces pan and turned on the burner.
As we began to eat, a hush descended upon the table and my sons and wife began to exchange glances. Inquiring if they liked the soup, my youngest tentatively asked if it was from a can.
“Not nearly as good as your soup, Dad,” was his opinion.
High praise, indeed and since soups are basically easy to make, I haven’t served canned soup for dinner since that night.
Swap in favorite ingredients punt the yucky ones
As a result of my pledge, I am always on the lookout for soup ideas and recipes from many sources including magazines, cookbooks, newspapers and the internet. The boys’ favorite is an adaptation of a Chicken and Artichoke Stew in which I substitute asparagus, which they like, for the less appetizing, to them, artichokes.
Just cut a bunch of asparagus into one inch lengths and add for the last 6-8 minutes. The asparagus does get a bit stringy when reheated, but served crisp-tender it adds another sensation to the chewy chicken and softened carrots and the flavor melds wonderfully in this thyme infused dish.
Step up to stew – hearty and easier than you think
Recently, my youngest told me he prefers stews to soups – the thicker the better. This has led me to explore in greater depth the use of roux as a thickener.
I have often used its plebian cousin, flour paste, but it was not very effective and diminished rather than added to the taste. So, I turned to the computer and found an interesting All About Roux article on allrecipes.com that quickly opened my eyes to the depths of roux which I must explore.
My first experiment with a 5 minute roux in my homemade chicken and noodle soup worked so well it and was so laden with egg noodles, one could not call it stew – but it was delicious and the roux added a pleasant nutty depth to an already tasty dish.
OK, now I’m hungry – off to the kitchen!
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.