Apparently a lot of people are checking out the Pritikin diet as they search for a method of losing those holiday pounds. The basis of the Pritikin diet is that eating what are called nutrient dense foods will aid you in filling up without filling out. Unprocessed vegetables and grains are excellent examples of this type of food. Lots of food for few calories. What does this have to do with soup? Read on.
As I said in my earlier articles about soups they are nutrient dense food. You can get a lot of veggie goodness in a bowl of soup. And a good soup fills you up like no other food.
Another way to improve your well-being according to most nutritionists is to eat fish on a regular basis. Guess what? Soup can be an excellent way to include fish and seafood in your diet.
Where to begin? Chowders, bouillabaisse, gumbo, bisques? Since most humans live near the ocean they have been developing ways to serve the various offerings of the oceans for thousands of years. I’m going to limit myself to offering three possibilities.
Chowder may be one of the oldest forms of soup. The word chowder comes from the French word chaudiére meaning caldron. According to Ruth Berolzheimer, editor of the American Woman’s Cookbook Chowder originated as a community soup or stew. Each neighbor adds something to the caldron; milk, fish, potatoes, salt pork or any other thing they might have available. When it was all cooked together and ready then everyone who contributed could take a share of the chowder for their families.
I understand a good way to start a war on the East Coast is to take a position on chowder; specifically something called Manhattan Chowder as opposed to the cream chowders.
Traditional chowder is made by frying salt pork in a kettle or deep stew pot (I like a cast iron dutch oven myself) then onions are added. Once the onion is lightly sautéed thickening is added in the form of flour. It is used to make a light roux. Once the roux is made diced potatoes are added. Equal parts of milk and water are added and simmered until it begins to thicken. Once this white sauce is ready the fish or seafood is added and cooked briefly before serving. Oysters are the most well known chowder additive, but fish, clams, crabs, or crawdads can all be used.
I have to confess here that the only thing I know about Manhattan Chowder is that it is made with tomatoes. I’ll leave the recipe for this soup to someone who has actually made it.
Bouillabaisse is only for the serious soup maker. It is complex and expensive to make. However, it is worth the effort if you enjoy cooking and want to make something special for people to enjoy after a day of skiing, sledding, snowboarding, snowshoeing (my personal favorite) or ice skating.
Sauté 2 onions in a light olive oil. Incidentally, the term light olive oil refers to the flavor not the fat content. All olive oils have 120 calories per tablespoon. Add one pound each of boned haddock and cod. Add two slices of lemon, a bay leaf and one tomato, chopped. Simmer gently for ten minutes before pouring a quart of boiling water on the mixture. There will be some scum that needs to be skimmed off before adding a dozen oysters or clams. The meat of one lobster is added next. Salt and pepper to taste at this point. When the soup is done serve in a soup dish ladled over a toasted piece of crusty bread. Garnish with parsley.
Gumbo is popular in the south. It can be made with chicken, seafood or crawfish. This recipe calls for three or four pounds of chicken or fish. To begin with an onion is sautéed with bacon. When the onion is clear Add one quart of okra cut into half inch bites, half a dozen tomatoes, and a quart of boiling water. Simmer for several hours before adding salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Add one cup of rice and cook another twenty to thirty minutes. The gumbo may need to be thinned with a bit more hot water at this point. Or you can enjoy it as more of a casserole than a soup.