Kitchen Concoctions: Happy National Soup Month!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Happy National Soup Month!

The below article is one that I wrote for Food on the Table (read more about Food on the Table, here). Since January is National Soup Month I shared some tips to help your next bowl of soup come out perfectly. Enjoy!

When the weather outside is frightful… a big ‘ole bowl of soup is so delightful! I love when there is a bit of chill in the air because that means I can enjoy a nice comforting bowl of soup. Soup is a budget friendly meal; it is a great way to use up leftovers and utilize pantry staples. Another great thing about soup is it generally makes a lot, enough to eat for dinner now and freeze for later.

Want to make sure your pot of soup comes out great every time; well keep these few tips in mind!

• Start with the liquid. Most soups have a water, stock or broth base. In addition to broth or stock try adding vegetable/tomato juice to enhance the flavor. Another great flavor additive for soup is beer or wine. Try adding half a cup of wine or one cup beer for every three cups of soup.

• Want to make it thick? If you want to thicken your soup without the hassle and added calories of a roux (a fat and flour mixture) try substituting eight ounces of tomato sauce for one cup of the broth called for in the original recipe. Another quick thickener is to stir in one tablespoon of instant mashed potato flakes until your desired consistency is reached.

• Overzealous with the salt? If your soup ends up too salty, add a whole, peeled potato to the soup and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the potato (and save to eat later) and serve the soup as normal.

• On a tight budget? Adding beans or lentils is a great and inexpensive way to add protein to a soup; but remember to soak the beans ahead of time according to package directions. Another inexpensive way to stretch soup is by adding pasta or rice. Keep in mind if adding any of these ‘fillers’ you will have to add additional liquid to your soup.

• Freeze it. Soup makes a fantastic freezer meal because it can be kept frozen for up to 3 months. If freezing leftover soup, make sure you allow it to cool completely before freezing it. Also keep in mind that liquids expand when freezing; so use heavy duty plastic containers and leave about half an inch of space at the top.

Need to warm up? Well try my recipe for some comforting Chicken Tortilla Soup!

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Chicken Tortilla Soup
By Heather of Kitchen Concoctions for Food on the Table
Printable Version
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Serves: 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
1 (10 ounce) can Mexican style diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
4 cups chicken broth
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 ½ cups frozen corn
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Tortilla chips
Colby Jack cheese
Avocado slices

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, red bell pepper, and jalapeƱo. Let vegetables cook for 4 minutes until soft. Add minced garlic and let cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Pour in the Mexican style tomatoes, tomato sauce and chicken broth. Stir in the prepared chicken, black beans, corn and seasonings. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Ladle into bowls and top with tortilla chips, cheese, and avocado.

1 comment:

  1. I love soup and your tortilla soup sounds delicious! I've been adding kale and diced sweet potatoes to mine lately. Thanks for all your good tips, especially about the potato and salt (I have a heavy hand with the salt shaker)!


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