Friday, April 14, 2017

It is not always what you eat but what you don't

It was lunch time, I was hungry and I didn't feel like cooking. The situation had all the ingredients for a recipe for disaster. I could see a gilled cheese sandwich on the horizon. Not good. I opened a can of Campbell's low sodium chicken with rice soup. Better but still not good.

My heart doctors have been very clear. Don't overdo the saturated fats, keep to chicken and fish as much as possible when it comes to meat, and eat nutritious meals and not just filling ones. A quick check of the Campbell's label confirmed that this soup was not going to meet all the demands. And when I took a taste, I realized it wasn't even going to be a sinful delight. It was too bland for my liking.

I emptied the contents of the can, plus a can of water, into a small pot and placed it on the stove to heat. I added two tablespoons of basmati long-grain rice to the soup. It needed more rice. I coarsely chopped an ounce of chicken and added that to the pot as well. I grabbed a large carrot, peeled it and quickly diced it into small pieces. I added this to the pot as well.

Next, to kick up the flavour, I added about a quarter teaspoon of fresh thyme. My mother loved thyme with chicken and so when I think of chicken, I think of thyme. Judy, my wife, doesn't have the same memories. She likes to use less thyme than I.  I dropped a bay leaf into the heating soup. It would remain in the mix for five minutes and then out it comes. Such a small pot of soup very quickly takes on the flavour of the bay leaf.

Lastly, I added a little salt and pepper to taste and then tossed in about a half a teaspoon of Paese Mio bruchetta calabrese. This can be hard to find. When I run out, I substitute dried hot pepper flakes. The goal here is to up the kick of heat delivered by the soup.

Because of the rice, my soup needed to be left on simmer for about twenty minutes. On the bright side,  it didn't take a lot of attention. I essentially left the soup on simmer and went off to watch a little television. In twenty minutes, the rice was fluffy and nicely cooked and the soup was ready to enjoy.

If I make this again, the next time I'd love to add one celery stalk diced into smallish chunks. I like my soups to be filling. Celery would add bulk but not calories. Perfect.

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