I wish that my parents had written a hand book for my husband when we first got married. It would have made life so much easier. There were just some things he needed to know about living with me that I couldn’t explain to him all by myself. For instance, there were certain times that he needed to have a bag of peanut butter cups ready for me with no questions asked. He also needed to know that on long car rides I wasn’t going to be much good at entertaining him. The white noise of the road would make me sleep from the moment we hit the freeway to the moment we pulled off. But most of all he needed to know what to do for me when I was sick. I can still remember 6 months into our marriage when I got the stomach flu. What a shock to realize that I wasn’t going to get the princess treatment from my husband like I did from my mother. It was the first awakening to the fact that I was a full-fledged adult. As my husband left for work I managed to shuffle to the kitchen in my bathrobe and make my own chicken noodle soup. It wasn’t as magically healing as mom’s but it was sufficient to make me feel stronger by the next day.
Soups have been a source of comfort for centuries as well as a mainstay in the frugal diet. It’s a versatile way to take what little you have and turn it into a hearty meal that feeds many. But soup isn’t just a belly-filler, it creates an atmosphere of coziness, healing and contentment. We eat warm soup on those damp rainy nights when we feel cold to the bone, when we are feeling under the weather, or when it’s been a hard day and we just want to curl up with a warm mug in our hands.
Soup takes us back to a simpler way of nourishing ourselves. We’ve made it so easy to just grab a can off the supermarket shelf but to make your own is much easier than you think. So pull out a stock pot and give these recipes a try.
Classic Homemade Chicken Stock
(Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook, 1950)
• 5 lbs chicken pieces (meat, skin and bone)
• 4 quarts cold water
• 1/3 cup carrot sliced into large chunks
• 1/3 cup chopped celery
• 1/3 cup chopped onion
• 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
• 2 teaspoons salt
Place in a kettle the chicken and cold water; cover and bring it slowly to boil. Remove scum (the foamy stuffy that rises to the top) and add the remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer gently for 3 hours, removing the scum occasionally. Strain and separate meat from the broth. Chill broth, remove fat, and strain again. Store in covered jars in refrigerator; the layer of fat on top will help preserve the stock, but it must be skimmed off before heating stock for use in soups and sauces. (Personally I like to freeze it in containers and pull out as recipes call for it.) Leftover meat can be pulled from the bone and saved for other dishes.
Thai Shrimp Soup
• 14 ounces light coconut milk
• 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
• 2 -3 teaspoons chili paste with garlic
• 1 1/2-2 lbs uncooked shrimp, peeled (medium-size)
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
• 14 1/2 ounces diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
• 1/2 cup sliced green onion
• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
• 1 1/2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
• chopped cilantro for garnish
Combine coconut milk, ginger and chili paste in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add shrimp, reduce heat, and simmer for 3 minutes, or until shrimp is cooked through. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon. Combine flour and soy sauce in a small bowl, and stir with a whisk, then add to coconut milk in saucepan. Add tomatoes, green onion, lime juice and sugar, then bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes until mixture thickens slightly, stirring occasionally. Stir in mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Return the shrimp to the pan and cook until thoroughly heated. Serve sprinkled with cilantro, if desired.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
• 1/4 cup onion, chopped
• 1/4 cup butter
• 1/4 cup flour
• 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
• 1/4 teaspoon white pepper (or to taste)
• 1 cup chicken broth
• 2 1/2 cup milk
• 2 cups chopped broccoli, cooked crisp-tender
• 1 -2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
• 1/4 cup chopped celery
Saute onion and celery in butter in saucepan over medium heat until tender. Add flour, and salt and pepper, cooking and stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Add broth and milk (all at once), stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil and begins to thicken. Add cooked stirring until all is heated through. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted and smooth.