Friday, December 5, 2008

The Wisdom of Soup

“Beautiful Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop!
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!”

OK, none of it was green, and I don’t own a tureen, but it certainly was a week for soup. Hubbie had his wisdom teeth out last Tuesday, so nourishing, comforting and squishy foods were in order. Thus the soup. By the end of the week I could throw together a pot of soup with only a brief glimpse at a recipe for seasoning ideas and preparation shortcuts. Not bad, as until last week I hadn’t made many pureed soups.

I usually avoided pureed soups, as I thought that they were high in fat, boring and took too much effort for an item that could easily be purchased in a can. I’m happy to say I got over those ideas, and the results were quite good. There’s nothing boring about pear and gouda soup or Senegalese peanut soup. Even the more mundane soups like potato-leek and cream of mushroom were worth the extra effort.

The soups I prepared at the beginning of the week probably were higher in fat than necessary. By the end of the week, when I realized how flexible the recipes were, I started experimenting with lower fat ingredients. The last two soups had no dairy in them whatsoever, where at the beginning of the week I was using cream.

One of my biggest concerns about making pureed soup was the clean-up. For some reason I had the idea that these soups had to be pureed in a proper blender rather than with an immersion blender. We don’t have a dishwasher, and I’m not a big fan of cleaning small appliances. With this in mind I was hesitant to try making pureed soups, particularly last week when my blender was already being heavily used for smoothies. The idea of cleaning the blender several times a day was off-putting. Fortunately, I tried my immersion blender. It worked just fine, and is much easier to clean.

Best of all the soups were economical. All yielded more than one meal, and most could be made with local ingredients. I was glad I had planned ahead and made my own broth for freezing. In spite of this, by the end of the week I had exhausted my “stock” and had to use prepared broth. This added a bit to the expense, particularly since I opted for organic broth as opposed to the store brand. Still, it was worth the extra few cents for the satisfaction of knowing what was going into my soups.

While I’m happy that hubbie is on the mend and is now able to eat chewable foods, I’m also pleased that I had this chance to experiment with soups. Amazingly, I’m still not tired of it, even considering the vast quantities we consumed last week, and I’m looking forward to testing some of the recipes I found on the internet. Except for the mock turtle, of course.

“Soo-oop of the e-e-evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!”

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