As long as I’m up here on my soap box, I just have to ask, why would anybody, ever, eat soup out of a can? Soup out of a can almost always has a ridiculous amount of sodium, if it doesn’t it tastes like a paper towel, and there is always one ingredient you wish there was less of or more of.
Whenever I see women in the soup aisle, it is hard not to imagine their thought process. This one has too much fat. This one has less fat, but so much sodium. This one is low in fat and sodium, but it has 450 calories per serving! This one has the right amount of fat, sodium, calories but it has no protein and it has carrots and Bob hates carrots. This one has no carrots but it has those alphabet letters in it and the therapist told me those give Bobby Jr. low self esteem due to his functional illiteracy. All this stress over something that is pretty disgusting anyway (especially condensed soup, wtf is up with that), is probably manufactured in China and might contain botulism, not to mention you have to rinse out and recycle all those cans.
I know! Why don’t you make some soup from scratch? That way you can control the amount of fat, salt, calories, emotionally draining pasta shapes and life threatening toxins that go into it, plus it will taste delicious and no recycling. Well, maybe less recycling, depending on what you like.
I know, I know, it is so time consuming to avoid botulism. Why not just take your chances? Here’s the thing. It does not take that long. I’ll prove it.
I’m not going to include a recipe here, because while I love recipes, this goes beyond that. This goes to a basic skill of taking things you have and like and making them a soup. So put what you want/what you have into yours, these are a few tips to make it happen fast and come together right.
In my house, we like to have a green leafy vegetable with our dinner. Soup is a perfect vehicle for that. When I make soup, I like to prep the green leafies first, because it takes the longest out of everything and once the soup gets going, it goes fast. For this soup I used chard we got from the CSA. (This may be the only time you ever see chard mentioned in this blog.) I trimmed, chopped and washed the stalks, cut the leaves into bite sized pieces and washed them in the salad spinner. Time: 5 minutes ten seconds.
Then I threw a about a tablespoon of olive oil in a stock pot and turned the burner on medium high. While that’s heating, I chop up two onions and a clove of garlic. Time: 4 minutes 37 seconds
I threw the onions, garlic and chard stems into the oil. At this point you have to keep your tasks short so you can attend to the pot. I sliced up some beef sausages we got from 8 o’clock Ranch. Time 1 minute 37 seconds.
I like a lot of protein, but I like to keep the fat content low, so I usually take it easy on the meat and add in some beans. I stirred the onions around and rinsed a can of beans. You don’t need a picture of this. Time: 1 minute 40 seconds.
At this point the onions are translucent and the chard stalks are softened, so I add the sausage. While it’s browning, I season the pot with a little pepper and a bay leaf. Time: 3 minutes.
When the sausage is browned, I drain a little fat out of the pot and add the beans to warm them through. While they are warming, I get out some stock and orzo. Time: 1 minute 15 seconds.
I throw in the quart of stock and a cup of orzo. I bring it up to a boil and clean up a little. Time: 4 minutes 39 seconds.
Once it is at a boil, I lower the heat to a simmer and let the orzo cook. After six minutes I taste it and it is pretty al dente. Time: 6 minutes.
Now I dump the chard onto the top of the soup and stir it in. The heat of the soup is enough to wilt it. Time: 1 minute 38 seconds.
If you add up all these times, it took me less than 28 minutes to make this soup. It made about two dinner size servings and my husband and I both had some for lunch the next day. It was extremely flavorful. It had everything I wanted and nothing I didn’t want. I felt good about where (most of) the ingredients came from. Nobody had a nervous breakdown from pasta shaped like ninja turtles.
Yes, it took me thirty minutes instead of one minute, but that stuff right there, is totally worth it to me.
So, I really appreciate Jennifer Adams letting me tell my food story while she was on vacation this week. You guys are lucky to have her. Thanks to everyone who read and commented, you made it fun.