I’m a very active person in Instagram. Those who follow me on IG will be knowing about my diet regime and diet. Soups and salads have become our regular dinner for months now. As the saying goes, dinner should be had like a pauper. Though not a pauper type:), I try to make a balanced dinner supplementing proteins, vitamins, minerals and carbs in the shape of soups and salads, with occasional protein rich accompaniment.
We all have started loosing weight in a healthy way and getting into shape with my boys adding a full on gym schedule. I’m yet to start my exercise regime. May be, oh no, not may be, I will start my fitness regime as soon as I’m back from summer vacations. For us, life is going to taking a huge turn. Things are going to change and as parents, we are going to enter a new phase. Our eldest son is leaving us and going for further studies to India. My hands are shivering when I write this. I , now realize what my parents must have gone through when I went away for my education and further after my wedding. I’m trying my level best to train my mind to take things cooly and calmly. For the time being, I whisper to myself that I have two more with me at least for the next two years. But will that reduce the pain of sending away another one of your flesh and blood??? I now completely understand one or two or many, each one is very very special to their parents.
It’s regular routine amongst us to go on diet before going to home country for vacations. Three full fledged meal, with variety of dishes along with the parties and visits, you are bound to add on some kilos by the time you are back to your shell. Hence soups are made daily in our house. Food historians tell us the history of soups is probably as old as the history of cooking. The act of combining various ingredients in a large pot to create a nutritious, filling, easily digested, simple to make/serve food was inevitable. This made it the perfect choice for both sedentary and travelling cultures, rich and poor, healthy people and invalids. Soup (and stews, pottages, porridges, gruels, etc.) evolved according to local ingredients and tastes. New England chowder, Spanish gazpacho, Russian borscht, Italian minestrone, French onion, Chinese won ton and Campbell’s tomato…are all variations on the same theme.
Soups were easily digested and were prescribed for invalids since ancient times. The modern restaurant industry is said to be based on soup. Restoratifs (wheron the word “restaurant” comes) were the first items served in public restaurants in 18th century Paris. Broth [Pot-au-feu], bouillion, and consomme entered here. Classic French cuisine generated many of the soups we know today.
Advancements in science enabled soups to take many forms…portable, canned, dehydrated, microwave-ready. “ Pocket soups” was carried by colonial travellers, as it could easily be reconstituted with a little hot water. Canned and dehydrated soups were available in the 19th century. These supplied the military, covered wagon trains, cowboy chuck wagons, and the home pantry. Advances in science also permitted the adjustment of nutrients to fit specific dietary needs (low salt, high fiber, etc.).
“Cereals, roasted to make them digestible and then ground and moistened or diluted with water to make a paste, either thick or thin, did not become gruel or porridge until people had the idea and means of cooking them. They may initially have been cooked by hot stones in receptacles of natural substances, and then in utensils which could go straight over the fire. Soup, in fact, derives from sop or sup, meaning the sliced of bread on which broth was poured. Until bread was invented, the only kind of thick soup was a concoction of grains, or of plants and meat cooked in a pot. Gruel or porridge was thus a basic food, a staple from of nourishment, and long held that place in Western countries, for in practice bread was a luxury eaten only in towns. A thick porridge of some kind is still the staple food of many peoples, and it is not always made of cereals, but may consist of other starch foods: legumes, chestnuts or root vegetables.”
As the history says, soups are best for easy digestion. This cream of chicken soup is a rich soup and can be had during winters and rainy season. It is filling and tasty too. leeks are my preference, can be replaced with the availablity of local markets like parsley, basil, et al. I sometimes add baby asparagus too. Garlic and celery is a must as these two have immense medicinal values. Youcan strain all these ingredients at the time of serving if going for a creamy version without any bites.
I always use fresh chicken stock for the soup. These can be made in advance and stored in freezer. I always stock up my freezer with different kinds of stock and broth so that it comes in handy whenever you need it. Chicken used for this soup is flavored according to our taste. Barbecue sauce is my kids preference. You can go with soy sauce and worcestershire sauce too or for that matter, the choice of your palatte and the availability of the local produce.
Using milk and cream is an option too, milk alone can be used for this purpose. Since we have just soups when these types of creamy soups are made, I make it rich and fulfilling. The recipe which I’m sharing is tried and tested one, so you can go with this one without a second thought.
Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Add the chicken, garlic and sauces and combine everything.
Adjust salt and cook till done, dry and browned. Set aside.
In a sauce pan, add butter, melt, add the chopped garlic, onions, celery and leek. Saute till wilted, soft and fragrant.
Add the flour and stir fry till you get a nutty smell of flour and butter.
Slowly add 3/4 cup of milk while stirring. Stir to combine without any lumps. Keep the the heat to minimum at this time.
Then add the rest of the milk whisking thoroughly to a cream texture followed by the cream.
Whisk up again and add the stock and adjust salt at this point along with the pepper powder.
Incorporate everything and allow this to boil.
Simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
Strain if you prefer a rich creamy bite free soup and add chicken and serve hot.