Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cream Soup Substitutes... a homemade, chemical free (and totally frugal!) substitute.

Everyone has fifty recipes that call for a can of cream-of-whatever-soup.

At least fifty recipes. That stuff kind of freaks me out. It manages to be both creamy and gelatinous, while having enough sodium to stop a beating heart in its tracks.

Tasty, though. And versatile.

 The good news is, there are a bunch of alternatives. You can google around and find one that works for you...I start with half milk and half chicken broth (or water with bullion powder, as a last resort), slightly more than a half cup of each, in a Tupperware container with a tight fitting lid. Add two heaping table spoons of cornstarch, and shake it till it's smooth. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, until it's nice and thick. 

Flavor appropriately for whatever you need. If it's mushroom, dice up some mushrooms and saute them in a bit of butter. I would use mushroom or beef stock for this one if you have it. You can hit the mushrooms with a little Marsala wine or a bit of dry sherry if you happen to have it about.

About a cup of broccoli florets, steamed and pulse in a food processor, or chopped finely, will take it to cream of broccoli. You can do cauliflower as well. (Although I never would, dear, if you're reading.) For cheese, simply stir in some shredded cheddar, asiago, Parmesan, or another hard cheese.

Make sure to taste and adjust seasonings, both in the base and in your final dish. Since this recipe has SO much less sodium than the original, you will need to add a little more flavor to your final dish. It doesn't have to be salt, though, experiment with some herbs before you hit it with the salt shaker.
Good luck, and happy, healthy, eating!

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