Thursday, December 17, 2009

Soup Secrets

Trish blogged the other day on Romance Bandits and reminded me of how wonderfully warm and comforting soups are this time of year. Its cold, rainy or snowy out. We're inevitably running ragged and juggling twice as much responsibility as we normally do. Its soup time!!

I love soup. But I don't eat canned soup at all. It just doesn't seem to appeal in the same way. Maybe its that savory scent that fills the kitchen that holds half the allure?

Vegetable soup is a standard in our house, or as my kids call it, Stone Soup (based on the story about the guy who only had a stone, and convinced many others to contribute to the soup pot. A potato here, a tomato there and soon he and his stone had a big, steaming, delicious pot of soup for everyone). Minestrone with yummy homemade noodles. Or my all time favorite, my MIL's Potato Leek soup. Creamy, warm for the tummy goodness. Its an all time family favorite.

But with 6 tbsp of butter and 2 cups of half and half, it wasn't exactly low-fat. So I figured out a way to cut the butter in half (just used half LOL) and found fat-free half and half to replace the full fat version. I also substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth, but that's because we're vegetarian, although it has the added benefit of slipping a few more calories off the total.

Ever since I adjusted the recipe and nobody noticed the difference, I've been on the lookout for other ways to slim down favorites. Soups are one of the easiest. The most fattening soups are usually cream based, so use fat-free milk or half and half. Cut back the butter, or if you can't cut it back for sauteing the onions, for instance, instead increase the broth and veggie ratio so the butter is spread among more servings. Use low sodium broth or make your own whenever possible.

How about you? Are you a soup fan? Do you have a favorite soup or recipe to share? And have you any suggestions that you use to slim down your soup recipes?


Michelle Butler on December 17, 2009 at 9:15 AM said...

I am a huge soup fan. I made a big pot of my favorite soup two nights ago, and last night dished it up into individual servings and froze them.

That's so interesting that nobody noticed the difference in the lightened soup vs. the fattier one. Another great substitute for cream soups is to use the cans of either evaporated skim milk or condensed skim milk. I can't actually remember which one to use, but I *think* it's evaporated. It'll give you a creamy taste to your soup without the fat.

Tawny on December 17, 2009 at 12:26 PM said...

Yes!!! The evaporated would do it. The condensed is like pure sugar (I use it in baking a lot).

How well does your soup freeze, Michelle? I always think it'd be a great idea to put some away for later, but there is rarely enough left to bother. I could do a big double batch though.

Is there a soup that freezes better. Vegetable vs cream?

Michelle Butler on December 17, 2009 at 1:32 PM said...

I freeze broth based soups all the time, and they freeze very well. I tend to let them sit a day in the refridgerator before I freeze it to let the flavors blend more. I'm a big fan of the results. I think the cream ones won't freeze well. Dairy is tough to freeze.

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