Apologies for posting the free recipe late this month but I believe you’ll forgive me as I was getting over Metapnuemovirus .
Now, onto the post. From the Chapter introduction to Soups, “Simple, Healthy, Fresh 1.0“:
I love soups! Soups are a best friend to diabetics and those looking to lose weight. You control what goes in, how much and what spices. Do you want a broth? A stew? Chowder or Gumbo? How about a Seafood Gazpacho? Or a good, hearty Beef and Barley stew?
Good news, you can make it!
My favorite soups, stews and gumbos have tons of healthy vegetables flavored with just a bit of some sort of meat or seafood. Spices can make a world of difference and transport you around the world of cuisine. Another staple of a good soup is the stock. I’m a big fan of homemade, crafted and cooked with a meat or poultry bone, vegetable scraps or seafood shells and exoskeletons. A great substitute for homemade stocks and broths are the low-sodium boxed and canned stocks.
What? Did you read that correctly? Yes, there are a great range of boxed and canned, healthy and low-sodium broths and stocks on the market. I have a favorite that I think is more like homemade and I’m certain you’ll find one you like as well. These can be a quick, healthy timesaver, which will enable you to make lunch or dinner in 15 minutes. Watch the Sunday Coupons and grocery store sales. It’s best if you can match sales to get the best discount and stock up!
A high quality stock or broth can make a soup outstanding and a poor quality stock can break a soup, leaving you and your guests making polite conversation about a crazy cat video. You’ve heard this a hundred times before as well: use fresh meats and vegetables! Frozen bagged vegetables are the next best thing to fresh; believe it or not, some have even more vitamins and minerals than fresh. The reason is they are flash-frozen to capture them at their peak.
Thickening soups are another matter. I use a cornstarch or flour, butter and instead of fattening milk, buttermilk or half and half, I use stock or almond- or silk milk. Using stock or broth as the base in both soups and gravies will drastically cut down on the fat, calories and carbs. That’s something we can all agree on. Using cornstarch will make a more gelatinous soup or gravy and on the other hand, using flour will make a more creamy soup or gravy. Either one is fine, in my humble opinion.
Now that you have the basics, go create!
Onto my own recipe for GUMBO!:
2 chicken breasts or thighs, 1 pkg link sausage/andouille, 1 can clams with juice.
6-8 celery stalks, 10-12 carrots, and other vegetable you want; 1 bag frozen okra.
1 can ea. low-sodium cream of chicken and celery
6-8 garlic cloves, pressed, sliced or minced
1 med. onion, diced
2-3 14 oz box/can chicken stock
1-2 cups white drinking wine (Always cook with a drinking wine. The flavor will be richer)
Spices: BOT, celery seed, marjoram, summer savory, black, cayenne and white peppers, herbs de provence, red pepper flakes. (remember, I add 1-2 tsp each because I do not use salt in my recipes. Play with the spice amounts to see what you like.)
- Sauté garlic and onion in EVOO-FCP until onions are translucent. Add carrots, celery and any other root vegetables you like.
- Add sliced sausage and fry until edges are browned and curled, add diced chicken and fry until white, stirring often.
- Mix the two cans of soup with one box/can of stock, add spices, then add to the pot, with the other 1-2 box/can of stock and the white wine. Add clams with juice and bag of okra. You can leave the okra out, but it adds authenticity, flavor and texture to the soup/stew/chowder Gumbo!
- If needed, add water to bring it up to within an inch of the rim. Simmer for 30-60 minutes.