Did you know that soups made from bone/meat broths aid in digestion by stimulating the digestive juices. Cream soups, purees, bisques and chowders are valuable as they increase the nutrient content of your meal. A heavy meal should begin with a thin soup (stock based) .. and a light meal should begin with a heavier soup. Who knew there was such good reasoning behind homemade soup. Economical and Nutritious! When I see advertisements for products such as 'Joint Juice' .. for restoring joints I shout at the TV .. 'MAKE SOME HOMEMADE SOUP!'
Years ago a 'perpetual' stock pot was on the back burner day and night. You could add any meat, bone scraps and/or vegetables to produce a very flavorful stock. It is well worth the effort to learn how make your own stock and and keep some on hand frozen for easy use.
Last night we started our meal with a thin chicken broth based soup. To one quart of flavorful homemade stock I added a diced carrot, leeks and fresh herbs. Now that was simple.
We've started eating our meals in courses. The family is tickled at the whole process as it makes dinner more enjoyable with anticipation. First a small cup of soup is set on top of the dinner plate. Next salad plates are taken from the freezer and the second course of fresh garden salad is eaten .. followed by the third course (of Salisbury steak with a little pan gravy and a piece of garlic toast). Dessert can be as simple as a small dish of applesauce.
Tonight our soup was cream of asparagus. I have not so fond memories of such soup from a can as a child. But made in about 15 minutes on the stove with fresh milk and asparagus .. well ...it was the star of the dinner. We started with a first course of chilled salad followed by the soup and small grilled cheese sandwiches .. for dessert .. freshly picked rhubarb turned into a quick sauce with a little raspberry syrup.
Fresh Cream of Asparagus Soup
4 cups milk (I used whole)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chopped asparagus
2 cups chopped asparagus
1 small-medium starchy potato peeled and diced
3 tablespoons of thinly sliced leeks, shallot or onion
salt, pepper or other seasonings (I added fresh thyme)
Prepare asparagus by washing and trimming off tough ends. The tough skin on the ends can be peeled away exposing tender asparagus underneath that would otherwise get tossed out. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
Add the butter to a medium sauce pan (4-6 quart). Add the onion and saute for a minute until tender. Add the flour and gradually stir in the milk, whisking to prevent lumps. Bring to a light simmer and add the asparagus and diced potato. Cook at a medium simmer until the asparagus and potato are tender. Add salt, pepper and seasonings to taste. With a stick blender, blend the soup into a puree in the pan (or cool slightly and blend a little at a time in a blender. I picked up a stick blender at a thrift store for $4; using it saves on washing dishes). Blending makes the soup thicken up. Cook the soup for a few more minutes. If you let it sit for a bit and reheat just prior to serving it will thicken up quite nicely. Store any remaining soup in the refrigerator.
To aid in portion control, I have started serving our meals from the stove and better judging how much food to prepare so we don't have too many leftovers. This saves dishes, calories, money and keeps us from eating second helpings. Serving in courses .. ending with a tiny 'dessert' (fruit sauce, pudding, etc.) gives everyone a satisfying meal and not feeling hungry before bed. No 'supersize me' portions allowed :)
vintage image from here