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By Cheryle Jones Syracuse
Family and Consumer Science Staff
NC Cooperative Extension
Brunswick County Center
It’s soup time!
Nothing says comfort during colder weather like a warm bowl of soup. Add milk, bread or crackers and a fruit to a main dish soup and you have a meal. Soups have many benefits. They can be healthy, full of nutrition, economical and allow the cook to be as creative as they like.
Here are a few tips for making soup:
•Adding a little lemon juice or vinegar to a soup will increase the flavor and there will be less need for salt. But when preparing bean soups, add any acid (tomatoes, vinegar, lemon juice or wine) only after the beans are tender. Acid slows down the tenderizing process.
•To save time, use canned or frozen ingredients, such as canned broth, tomatoes, vegetables or beans.
•Don’t have a lot of time? Start with a canned soup and add extra nutrition by adding frozen or leftover vegetables or beans.
•Give soups a creamy texture by adding pureed white beans, evaporated low-fat or no-fat milk or instant potato flakes instead of high-fat cream.
•Keep a “goodie bag” in your freezer. Store small quantities of leftovers like meats, cheese, vegetables, rice and noodles. Use these when making a batch of soup to add both nutrition, as well as interest.
•Store soup safely. Avoid letting soup set at room temperature for more than two hours, but also don’t just put a pot of hot soup directly in the refrigerator.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it would take an 8-inch stockpot of steaming chicken soup 24 hours to cool to a safe temperature in your refrigerator. To be safe, speed cooling by refrigerating or freezing any leftovers in shallow containers. This allows it to cool quickly.
•When serving soup for a second time, re-heat until it is steaming hot throughout, at least 165 degrees. Plan to eat refrigerated soups within two days.
Senate Bean Soup uses the quick-soak method for using dry beans. This works great if you forgot to put the beans to soak the night before. If you remember, you can soak dry beans overnight in cold water (preferably in the refrigerator). In the morning, drain the water and proceed on with the recipe at the adding the fresh cold water and ham bone point. Beans soaked overnight tend to keep their shape better and have a more uniform texture.
The bean soup recipe also uses mashed potato flakes as a thickener. Omit these if you like thinner soups. If you’re the experimenting sort, you could try adding fresh or leftover potatoes as the thickener. You can omit the salt from this recipe if you like. That’s part of the fun of making soup; adjust as you like. These leftovers freeze well.
The Cabbage Roll Soup is another winner. It was developed by my friend and former co-worker, Jeanette Muir of Conneautville, Pa. It really does taste just like cabbage rolls, only you eat it with a spoon. This is a quick recipe that uses ground beef and packaged cole slaw mix (found in the produce section of the grocery store) as the speedy base for this main dish soup. If you have the fresh cabbage head and the time, go ahead and shred your own cabbage.
The following recipes demonstrate some of these easy tips and techniques:
Senate Bean Soup
(courtesy of the Michigan Bean Commission)
1 pound dry white Navy beans
1 meaty ham bone
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup mashed potato flakes
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1-1/2 tsps. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/2-1 tsp. each of nutmeg, oregano and basil
1 bay leaf
In a large kettle, cover beans with 6-8 cups of hot water. Bring to a boil; boil two minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand one hour; drain. Add two quarts cold water and ham bone. Bring to boil; simmer 1-1/2 hours. Stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer 20-30 minutes until beans are tender. Remove ham bone and trim off meat. Return meat to soup. Remove bay leaf. Makes three quarts.
Cabbage Roll Soup (developed by
1 pound lean ground beef
1 (16 oz.) pkg. cole slaw mix or 1/2 head shredded cabbage
1 large onion, chopped
2 (15 oz.) cans beef broth
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomato puree or diced tomatoes
1 cup water
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup white rice
In a 6-quart pot, using medium heat, brown the ground beef. Add the coleslaw mix and onion. Cook, covered for four minutes, stirring after two minutes. Add the beef broth, tomatoes, water, brown sugar, lemon juice and salt. Bring to a boil. Add rice; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, for 30-40 minutes until rice is tender.