Once again the gentle southerly breeze clocks quickly around to the north and begins to howl, while the bottom falls out of the thermometer, dropping from a mild mid-60’s to the upper 30’s as the winter that will not die sends us yet another cold front.
Naturally, I’m sitting here wondering what’s for lunch. This is turning into a day for some warm comfort food. Time to whip up some boat soup! Here’s our guaranteed to please recipe for an awesome and almost instant meal.
First, you need to get yourself some of this:
I’d read blog posts by others raving about it, and we’re always on the lookout for things to eat that store well onboard, so we ordered some to give it a try. You can use it in a lot of different ways, wherever some chopped vegetables will punch up a dish. You can find it here:
Harmony House Foods Dried Vegetable Soup
Add three cans of chicken broth to a pan (low sodium, or else you’ll probably find it’s too salty) and a half cup of the dried vegetable soup mix. Cover and start simmering on low to hydrate the veggies.
While that’s happening, use two forks to shred up some leftover chicken. White meat, dark meat, it’s all good. If you’re like us, there’s usually the remains of a baked chicken somewhere in the refrigerator, but if not, some canned chicken would probably work. Add to the simmering broth.
Open a can of cannellini beans and rinse them in a colander, and then add them to the soup. Great northern’s or navy beans would probably be fine, but we just like the sound of “cannellini.” See how it makes the recipe seem more sophisticated? Actually, they’re like a white kidney bean, and more what you’re used to seeing in soups if you order pasta fagioli when you’re out eating Italian. We’ve had no problem finding them at WalMart. Do I need to tell you why you need to rinse them? If so, then try just dumping the contents of the can straight into the soup one time and I think you’ll figure it out. Consider yourself warned.
If you’re so inclined, you could probably put some of your favorite pasta in as well, but that would add both a lot of time (to boil and rinse the pasta) and a lot of simple carbs (which we’ve learned should only be consumed in limited quantities if you want to continue to be able to see your toes without straining when you get older).
A few grinds of fresh black pepper and a teaspoon of Tony Chachere’s (no boat galley should be without it!) and stir.
We use Tony’s on pretty much everything except ice cream and our morning lattes. Then to finish, we add a tablespoon of Rhonda’s secret ingredient—homemade dehydrated tomato.
This stuff is amazing. Mix it 50/50 with water, and you have instant tomato paste. Add more water, and it becomes tomato sauce. For the rest of you though, who probably don’t have any of this magic potion, I would say the tomato is probably optional, or you’d do just fine with a few tablespoons of tomato paste or a small can of tomato sauce. It just depends on whether you want a traditional amber-colored chicken soup, or you’re looking for a more tomatoey Italian style dish.
Simmer a bit and serve. Topped with fresh sprouts, of course, just to make your mouth happy:
This literally goes from “Hmm, I’m hungry, I think I’ll cook something” to “let’s eat!” in 30 minutes. And while it’s not fine dining, it’s a darn tasty and comforting meal that’s just perfect for riding out another blustery day onboard.
In the program management world we learn that you can have something fast, good, or cheap, but you can only pick two of the three. I think this recipe is the culinary trifecta of boat rations—a meal that’s quick, cheap and tasty. Give it a try!
Quick, Cheap and Tasty Chicken Soup
- 3 cans of low sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup of Harmony House Dehydrated Vegetable Soup Mix
- 1 can of cannellini beans, rinsed
- 1 cup (more or less as desired) shredded cooked chicken
- 1 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
- Pinch of cracked black pepper
- (optional) 1 tablespoon dehydrated tomato, two tablespoons tomato paste, or 1 small can tomato sauce
Add all ingredients to a medium pan and simmer for 20-30 minutes on low burner. Season to taste. Serve with fresh sprouts.
Serves four (or two if you’re really hungry and you’re making this your entree). Enjoy!