Good Soup Can Just Happen Sometimes
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There are times when I create good soup that I think I should go the route of food blogs with the overhead camera and the nifty ingredient tricks (Snap! Chopped!) but I always decide that it’s not worth it for the actual amount I cook.
Yesterday, against all prior planning, I accidentally created some really good soup. Let’s start at the beginning with just a little bit of background. I love those deli chickens because they’re easy and tasty when compared to messing around with raw chicken and roasting to savory goodness. My intention is always to use the best white meat atop a lunch salad and then find frugal and efficient ways to use the rest.
What usually happens instead is that I fail at matching up available fresh greens with the chicken and never get my delicious salad. I have even (gasp) ended up wasting the chicken. 🙁 But this weekend I bought greens and chicken, and in a burst of Monday inspired efficiency, carved it up and made a delicious salad on my lunch break.
I don’t know exactly what possessed me (probably the chilly rain outside), but I grabbed a 2 qt pot and started tossing the dark meat and tiny scraps of chicken in.
Ingredient: Good Soup Needs Roasted Chicken Bits
My pantry is full of canned goods, so I added a can of mixed vegetables and pondered spices for a minute, but turned the burner on to get a feel for what I had created with these two ingredients so far. (It’s how I roll.)
As you can guess, the combination left something to be desired and would surely leave me wanting pizza for dinner if I didn’t look around for flavor. I threw in a can of diced tomatoes for color and additional veggie goodness. Still lacking something. Oh, right – it lacks flavor.
Ingredient: Good Soup Needs Garlic and Onion
I have some garlic paste in a tube that I’m trying to use up – so I added about an inch and a half as a start (equiv of 1-2 cloves). Then I grabbed a fistful of frozen onions and turned up the heat. Started mixing salt and pepper in a small ingredient bowl and threw them in as the mixture started boiling. After a few minutes, I turned the heat back and cleaned up my chicken chopping mess and went back to work.
Garlic inspires me. The aroma drifted into my home office and pulled me back to the stove for tasting. I also had a timer I carried back to work with me so I wouldn’t forget to check. At this point, the chicken and vegetables were coming together into a very suitable 1st course for dinner. I could have stopped at this point with just the addition of a little more salt.
Ingredient: Good Soup Needs 1 More Something
I was so close to perfect I actually stood there and stared into the pan for a few minutes thinking through what else I had in the freezer or pantry that would take this over the top for me. Noodles? Some other pasta? Beans? That’s it! One of my favorites is White Bean Chicken Chili and I always keep canned beans around in the winter. But when I opened the pantry door, the first thing in view was a stack of black beans I had carried home with no plan other than a healthy addition to something. Bingo!
Ingredients: Here’s The Whole List
Scraps of deli roasted chicken – I probably had about 3/4 cup of dark meat and tiny bits of leftover white meat.
Cans – 1 Mixed Vegetables, 1 Diced Tomatoes, 1 Black Beans – liquid and all – just open and dump them in
Flavor – 1 handful of frozen chopped onions – probably 3/4 cup if you feel the need to measure. It could have used more, but I didn’t want to play with the temperature up and downs again. 1 and 1/2 inches of garlic paste from the tube in the fridge – equivalent to 1-2 cloves. Salt and pepper to taste – probably 1/2 – 1 teaspoon each. I added more salt a couple of times during the simmer.
That’s it. I ended up eating 2 bowls with crackers for dinner and skipping the meal I had planned. It was so good and I have enough for 2-3 bowls left over for lunch today.