Sunday, January 30, 2011

A real substitute for cream of anything soup.

I have tried more cream of anything soup substitutes than you can shake a stick at. No, really I have. Of them all, I have found this one to be the perfect solution. It measures properly, that is that it is precisely the same volume as one can of Campbell's. It tastes divine and is not loaded with preservatives or sodium. As I tend to so often say, it does have a problem though. That being the bouillon powder. I have yet to find a good alternative to bouillon powder. The flavor simply cannot be substituted for a price that I am willing to pay. That is not to say that there are not good recipes for making your own. There are. For prices that make me cringe.

Also I must include a rant and word of warning here. Whatever you do, do not believe the so-called "advice" of freezing broth in ice trays and using one cube of that in place of 1 tsp or cube of bouillon. That's ridiculous and it doesn't take a genius to figure out why! One ice cube of broth has the amount of flavor of one ice cube of broth. One tsp or cube of bouillon has the amount of flavor of one cup of broth or stock. See the difference? Okay so /rant.

Now back to what I was saying. The following recipe does include bouillon powder and not just any bouillon powder, but one particular type. That is because it has no salt. I hate salt. If you use bouillon with any sodium, then I cannot vouch for the flavor. It may be too salty or not salty enough. I never add salt to anything, so that's that.

I have never made any of this and put it in the freezer. It's not because I'm afraid it won't freeze well, it's just that I haven't tried it. It only takes a couple of minutes to make and for me that's enough. However, as I've mentioned before cream based sauces will freeze and are just fine taste wise. It just will not look like it tastes the same. When freezing it, cream and water separate giving it a less than appetizing look. That said, if you must freeze it and you don't care if your food looks restaurant style (I personally don't) then do it. It will freeze and I don't have to do it myself to tell you that.

In any case, as I said earlier, I have tried a number of recipes for a good substitute and this is by far the best one of them all, in my opinion. The measurements are a bit odd, but it will make you the exact amount you need for one can and it makes it, in just about, the exact consistency. I just love it and will likely never go back to canned.

Before we get to it, I need to remind readers of a few important things.
  • This this is not for tomato soup. That's another thing entirely. Trust me. I tired it. It was awful!
  • I do not recommend using regular milk for a slow cooker recipe. In this case, substitute evaporated milk instead. Place 1 (5-oz) can of evaporated milk into a measuring cup and add enough water to make 1 full cup. This recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups of milk, so you'll be left with an odd amount if you use two cans.
  • This recipe calls for cooked vegetables, but - if you must - you can use finely chopped fresh veggies and saute them in the butter, then add the flour. The problem with that method however is that cooked vegetables shrink and the amount of shrinking varies depending on the vegetable. For this reason, and to keep conformity, I suggest pre-cooked but you can try it however you prefer.
Now on to the show!
  • 5 tbs butter
  • 2 1/2 tbs all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp sodium free chicken bouillon powder (I use this)
  • 2 tbs vegetables, pre-cooked and finely chopped (your choice)
1. Melt butter in sauce pan.
2. Whisk in flour, and let it cook for about 1-2 minutes.
3. Whisk in milk and bouillon.
4. Cook over low heat until thickened.
Note: To use as actual soup, stir in additional 1 1/4 cups of milk.

Tada! That's it. That's all there is to it. ENJOY!!!

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