Community, Recipes

Improving a Can of Soup

There are few meals more easily assembled than a can of soup.  Anymore you don’t even need a can opener – a lot of them come with a pull ring.  Unfortunately, if that’s as far as you go, it isn’t that great a meal.

I shared Mom’s quick technique for improving chicken and noodles with Sam – and she asked if I could go through all I could remember.  Mom’s mastery of basing the soup off a can meant that getting a couple unanticipated dinner guests was never a problem.  A hearty soup would go along with slightly smaller portions and everyone would be happy and well fed.

That can of chicken noodle soup is a pretty thin meal – but half a handful of dried onions, a carved up carrot and a small can of chicken turns it into something resembling a meal.  A can of tomato soup, accompanied by a can of milk and a can of diced tomatoes (preferably with a bit of peppers) turns it into a near-great tomato soup.  We’re 500 miles from the sea, so there’s nothing wrong with beginning your clam chowder with a can, adding another can of clams, and making a decent clam chowder – decent only, because fresh clams are definitely better, but not available in the rural Rock Mountains.

She knew how to use cans to improve the quality of soup – that and a few other tricks.  I’ve picked up a few of them.

Community, Recipes

Chicken & Dumplings

This recipe warms your soul on a cold winter night. Your standard chicken soup with a little twist. Every time I make it I think of warm hugs, snow, and love from Grandma. The amounts of each depend on your taste and how many you plan to serve.

  • Precooked chicken-diced (you can use uncooked but some times it leaves a film on top)
  • Carrots, celery, or other vegetables you like
  • Minced garlic, chopped onion, salt and pepper to taste(be careful with salt as chicken broth can be quite salty)
  • Chicken Broth mixed 2/3 to 1/3 with water
  • Cook all of the above ingredients on medium until it boils
  • Cut butter or shortening the size of a walnut with 2 cups flour, a little salt, pepper and garlic powder (I usually make a double batch for six to eight people), mix in water until dough pulls away from the bowl…may be slightly sticky. Knead dough (five to six turns only so your dumplings won’t be stiff). Roll thin and cut into 1″-2″ squares. Drop into boiling water and stir frequently so dumplings won’t stick together. Cook for 15 minutes longer.
  • I like to add a little corn starch mixed with water at the end so the soup is a little more creamy.
  • Serve with rolls (there’s a yummy recipe I submitted earlier) with lots of butter!