Souper

My husband travels frequently and gets to meet a lot of interesting people on planes.  He recently returned home from a trip to Spokane (right up the very, very top of the US at the Canadian border) and he’d spent the trip talking to a grandma from El Salvador.  She explained that her father travels annually from El Salvador to Spokane – by bus – he’s 90.  My husband couldn’t help wonder how a 90 year old manages what must be many days on a bus to make the  3,700 miles trip.  His daughter had a theory, “he eats soup every day”.

We are regular soup eaters around here.  Especially in the winter months, but my husband’s chance encounter really got us thinking about just how great soup is.  Soup is souper (sorry, I couldn’t resist) because:

1.  Soups are generally full of nutrients, minerals, fibre and all sorts of vegetable goodness.  If you’re struggling to consume your daily dose of veggies, this is an excellent way.

2.  Soups are satisfying and can help us lose weight.  Seriously!  Several studies have been found that soup fills us up in such a way that we tend to consume less calories when we eat it.

3.  Kids love soups.  If you’ve got a particularly fussy bunch that turn their noses up at veggies then blend them all up into a yummy soup mix.

4.  In winter soups are warming.  They nourish our bodies on cold winter nights in a way that cold salads just can’t.

5.  Soups are easy to digest and easy to eat.

6.  They are so easy to make!  For a basic veggie soup fry off some onion, add chopped veggies, pour in some broth (or water), season and once the veggies are soft it’s done.

7.  Soups can use up whatever is in the fridge.  Whatever veggies we have hanging around go in the soup pot.  Cheap meat still on the bone is perfect for soups (my husband’s favourite ingredient).  If we have leftover cooked chicken I put in at the end.  Beans, grains, pasta can all go in if you like.

8.  The possibilities are endless when it comes to variety.  Google “soup recipes” for 71,800,000 ideas.

9.  Soups freeze well.  Make a BIG batch and have spare meals in the freezer ready for a rainy day.

10.  Soups are simple on the clean up.  Tonight we had soup.  The big soup pot was washed out and four bowls and four spoons went into the dish washer.  Clean up done in only a few minutes.

Shortly after Jose’s soup epiphany I finally got around to using my birthday massage (thanks Mom!) and the therapist mentioned that her favourite soup was simply red pepper, sweet potato and coconut milk.  (Don’t be afraid of using unsweetened coconut milk in cooking, it’s nutritionally very good for us.  It does make the soup taste really sweet and creamy though – even the unsweetened stuff – so if you don’t like things too sweet or too creamy be careful not to over do it.  It also freezes well so spare milk can be stored in the freezer).

We had all three ingredients at home.  Fate?

I washed, flatten and put the peppers in the oven until the skins blackened and could be peeled off.

Chopped the sweet potatoes (I used three medium sized).  I boiled them up until soft, strained off most of the water and blended them with the skinned, roasted peppers and a can of unsweetened coconut milk.

I returned the blended mix to the pan just to warm it through.  It needs a bit of salt and pepper to finish it off.

It’s a sweet, thick and creamy soup. It’s quite heavy so only a small amount is needed but everyone enjoyed it.

and I mean everyone!

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8 Responses to Souper

  1. What could be easier and more delicious? This recipe is a must-try. Another soup plus – soup is generally incredibly economical and generally quick to make.
    Fish chowder is a filling and economical meal. I have just discovered really cheap seafood scraps at the supermarket. I throw that together with onion, potato, celery, a good squeeze of lemon juice and a container of fish stock. The secret ingredient is a heavy handed splash of white wine.
    For smooth soups – soup making took on a whole new meaning around here when I bought a whizz stick – no more messy pouring into a blender. We like soup full of bits, too, so not all soups need the whizzy treatment.

  2. VJ says:

    I remember hating veges as a kid but LOVING Mum’s vege soup. It was a friend who explained why my own soup never froze well though – freezing soup with potato in it doesn’t work.

    • runningmelon says:

      That’s interesting… I wouldn’t freeze a raw potato because of the moisture content but I’ve never had a problem with cooked potato. If the potato chunks aren’t coming out of the freezer well then I suggest blending the soup so it’s mixed and smooth and that should solve any potato freezing issues.

  3. I really love a good soup but husband Guy doesn’t really consider it to be a ‘real’ meal. However he did let me try out a recipe for chicken noodle on him the other night. And he did eat my pea and ham soup a few times over winter. I like to make big batches and freeze for those nights he’s away. And I do feel like I’m going well after eating a massive load of veges in a soup, and emptying the fridge of all the wilted or less than fresh veges. They call chicken noodle soup Jewish penicillan (sp?) you know….

    • runningmelon says:

      Jose felt the same about soups as Guy when we first got married. However, slowly, it’s taken years, but he’s been converted! (Actually trips to the Netherlands in winter, where they eat a lot of soups, and this encounter with the lady from El Salvador both helped).
      I’m totally with you on the cook in big batches and freeze theory.
      I haven’t had pea and ham soup in years…. I think that’s on the menu later this week now. Yum!
      Jewish penicillin – yes, bless the medicinal benefits of chicken soup. I should have added that to the list of benefits!

  4. Evil Gym Mom says:

    Bacon hock with pearl barley and potatoes in the crock pot, with corn added about an hour before serving (when I fish the bones out!). Or, pumpkin soup made in the crock pot. The crock pot makes the best soups – so easy.
    If you have people who don’t like veggie soup, leave out the celery.

    • runningmelon says:

      I love the crock pot too. Bacon hock, pearl barley and potatoes sound nice. I wonder if I can get a bacon hock from our local supermarket or if I’ll have to go to a butcher?
      Good tip on leaving the celery out for veggie soup cooking for non veggie believers!

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