Why you need some soup in your diet
In sickness or health, there is a hot bowl of soup for every reason and season!
There is something nurturing about a bowl of hot soup. In fact, there is a bowl of soup for every season and reason. Feeling sick? Got the flu? Got the blues? On a diet? Hot outside? Pretty chilly? Got no money? Safe to say that for whatever life throws at you, there's a bowl of hot soup for it.
Soup has such a healing power that an author made millions using it as an adage for a series of self-help books. Indeed, Chicken Soup for the Soul launched an empire.
Soup is a very cost-effective way to prepare meals. Generally, you use less expensive cuts or even scrap meat or bones and vegetables to make stock and add whatever is available in your kitchen. You can make soup with many ingredients or with few. It can be from scratch or you can "just add water". Yes, even instant ramen deserves a mention for the many lives it has saved in college. That's what I love about soups; there is just so much variety. Generally speaking, it is one of the most forgiving dishes to make.
Excess soup can always be refrigerated and even frozen for future meals. If freezing, do so in portioned containers as opposed to a big batch if you are only reheating for a single, or otherwise small, servings at a time. It is not good to refrigerate after reheating. Due to its high water content, the soup spoils quickly. So once your soup is cooked, do not leave it out all day or all night. If keeping it out for long periods, keep it on a low flame to create a temperature too high for dangerous bacteria to grow in. Just remember to stir at intervals so that it will not burn. Soup is healthy and handling it with practical food safety measures keeps it that way!
Vegan Caribbean Soup
1 chayotte (cho-cho/chow chow christophine)
1 medium potato
1 very tiny beet (even half will do)
3 tbsp red lentils
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 stalk green onions
1 sprig thyme
A little scotch bonnet (just one slice, less than half inch and no seeds)
1/2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Chop veggies into even squares as well as the scotch bonnet, garlic and pepper.
2. Saute seasoning (garlic, onions, scotch bonnet, thyme) in about 1/2 tbsp olive oil.
3. Add a little sea salt so that the onions will not brown as quickly. This will also bring out the flavours of the seasoning.
4. Add the chopped uncooked veggies and uncooked lentils here.
5. Then add roughly five cups of water to cover the veggies and lentils. Add stalk of scallion/green onion. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer until the veggies are cooked (15 minutes).
6. Remove scallion/green onion and thyme stalk from the pot.
7. Using a hand blender, purée everything in the same hot pot; you can purée into one thick, smooth soup. You may also blend in a traditional blender but take caution to avoid burns.
8. Taste, add salt or pepper for flavour. Serve with a slice of good quality bread.
Red Lentil Soup
1 cup red lentils
1.5 cup chicken stock
4 whole allspice berries
Spring onions (scallions)
1 shrimp to garnish
1. Cook the lentils in stock with allspice berries and bay leaf until tender.
2. Add shrimp and cook for another 3 minutes.
3. Garnish with thinly sliced spring onions. Serve and enjoy! Leftovers may be frozen for a moment of hungry desperation.
VEGANISE: You could also turn this into a vegan soup by cooking with a seasoned vegetable stock and leaving out the shrimp. Garnish with spring onions for a little splash of colour.
Hot And Spicy Jamaican Fish Soup
900g fish head (snapper, butterfish, doctor fish, goat fish, Sultan Ibrahim, sea bream, seabass)
3 stalks scallion
3 large cloves garlic
5 sprigs fresh thyme
100g okra, thinly sliced
3 large onions, quartered
Handful of allspice
1 whole scotch bonnet pepper to taste (can be substituted with habanero pepper)
1 Kallo organic garlic and herb stock cube (can substitute with other vegetable stock cube but taste before adding extra salt)
1 Litre/4cups water
1 tsp sea salt (to taste)
1. Wash fish head properly in water with half a lime and rinse thoroughly to get rid of the lime flavour.
2. In a stock pot, add water, fish, onions, scallion, thyme, garlic, allspice and stock cube.
3. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook partially covered for 90 minutes.
4. Add potatoes and whole scotch bonnet pepper, then cook for another 15 minutes.
5. Add sliced okra and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove pepper if you cannot handle too much spice. For added intense heat, puncture the skin of the pepper.
6. Pour into small cups and serve immediately.