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Soups on! Campbell’s has Nothing on Soup Demo Attendees

As the temperatures drop and swine flu cases increase, everyone could use a little more comfort. While this statement may conjure up thoughts of steaming pans of lasagna, creamy pots of mashed potatoes, and the seductive smell of warm apple pie, nothing says TLC like a warm bowl of soup. And guess what? Making soup isn’t just easy and fast; it’s healthy (but don’t tell anyone).

Last Tuesday, The Culinary Society ventured into the kitchen of Mugar Café (we didn’t know it existed either, but it’s a cute little spot located on top of Fletcher’s Ginn Library…in case you’re getting bored of Tower and it’s even-though-I-try-to-pretend-this-is-a-cafè-I’m-still-in-the-same-place-I-waste-away-every-weekend, a.k.a.Tisch Library) and enjoyed a soup demo put on by Tufts’ Nutrition Marketing Specialist, Julie Lampie, and Carmichael Chef Manager, Peter Kourafalos. We learned a lot, but to give you a taste, here are some foodie facts to impress your friends:

–       Tomatoes (star ingredient in our Roasted Tomato Soup) contain lycopene, which can help reduce cardiovascular disease and cancer risk.

–       “Organic” means a product was grown with/contains no antibiotics, preservatives, or pesticides.

–       A plum tomato, also known as a Roma tomato, is oval-shaped and sweeter than its round counterpart.

–       Peeling ginger with a plastic spoon is the most effective and safest way to remove that fibrous skin.

–       Extra-virgin olive oil means the oil is made from the first press of the olive, without using heat; it is best used on salads or as a finishing oil, since it tastes great on its own. Use regular olive oil in your cooking: it’s cheaper, and it’ll still taste great.

–       Fresh herbs are a great way to add flavor without adding fat: think rosemary, basil and thyme, to name a few. Store them in a plastic zip-lock back, wrapped in a damp paper towel in the fridge for maximum freshness.

–       Soup is easy!

The basic method of soup is pretty simple: chop up your vegetables (I always include onions and garlic, no matter what), and sauté in some kind of fat (olive oil or butter both lend great flavor). Then add salt, pepper, and herbs (unless you’re using basil, save that for the end so it won’t go bitter). Add your star ingredient (i.e. tomatoes, or butternut squash), cover with broth (chicken or veggie, depending on your preference), and boil. After the concoction boils, reduce to a simmer (less bubbles, but still poppin’) and let it go for 30-40 minutes (or fewer if you’re in a rush!). Puree if you like, and soup’s on! Check out the recipes below for some inspiration, and start cooking.  Campbell’s got nothing on you!

Butternut Bisque

3 lbs. butternut squash

1 tbsp. oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated (option: rosemary or thyme)

1 tbsp. garlic

2 tbsp. brown sugar

6 cups chicken or veggie stock

¼ c light cream (optional)

Salt and pepper

Sauté option, ginger, garlic, and brown sugar until onion is tender. Add butternut squash, and let brown slightly. Add stock, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer cover until squash is tender. Puree until smooth with hand blender (this can also be done in a regular blender or food processor, just be careful the hot liquid doesn’t spatter). Season with salt and pepper.

Roasted Tomato Soup

3 pounds plum tomatoes, halves lengthwise

28 oz. can of whole plum tomatoes with juice

6 tbsp. olive oil

3 tbsp. garlic, minced

1.5 tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1.5 tbsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

1 quart chicken stock

6 tbsp. fresh basil

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. Toss tomatoes with salt, pepper and 3 tbsp. olive oil. Spread the tomatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until tomatoes are brown and tender, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly.

Heat remaining 3 tbsp. oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic, and sauté until onions start to brown. Stir in canned plum tomatoes, rosemary and thyme. Add roasted tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until soup thickens slightly, about 30 minutes. Puree with hand blender until smooth. For cream of tomato soup, add light cream.

Chicken Soup

1 cup onion, diced

1 cup celery, diced

1 cup carrot, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 thyme sprigs, leaves minced

1 bay leaf

2 quarts chicken stock

Handful of chopped parsley

1.5 cups cooked orzo (egg noodles or leftover pasta would work well too)

Diced cooked chicken (about 2-3 cups)

Salt and pepper

Sauté carrots, celery, onions, garlic, thyme and bay leaf with a little butter (1-2 tbsp.) for about 3 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add orzo and cooked chicken. Reduce to a simmer and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender and the orzo and chicken are heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

-Molly Moulton

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One Comment Post a comment
  1. Just tried the ginger spoon thing… works sooooo much better than trying to peel it with a veggie peeler!

    November 23, 2009

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