Canned Soup – not the obvious

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You might have read other recipes on this blog and noticed there’s no sin here in taking a can off the shelf, opening it and using it to make something good.  There’s also no sin in using dried herbs and spices.  If they’re not as flavorful as fresh herbs and spices, just use a little more. There are times when cooking may be a hobby to us, and times when cooking is a way to get food into the stomach.  Most of the recipes here are of the food in the stomach variety.  But food in the stomach that tastes a little better than straight out of the can or freezer and doesn’t take a weekend to gather ingredients and prepare.

1  – medium onion – diced

1 – 15 ounce can whole sweet corn

1 – 15 ounce can cut green beans

1 – 15 ounce can diced tomatoes

1 – 8 ounce can sliced water chestnuts

1 – 15 ounce can of vegetable or chicken broth

1/2 – 15 ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

1 – 12 ounce can chicken breasts – optional, depending on your eating preferences

1 – tablespoon basil – dried

1 – tablespoon parsley – dried

1/2 – tablespoon oregano – dried

1 – tablespoon cumin – ground

2 – tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 – teaspoon pepper

1 – tablespoon soy sauce – or 1 teaspoon salt

Drain the liquid from the green beans, corn and water chestnuts into a 3 or 4 quart pot.  Add the vegetable or chicken broth.  The choice of vegetable or chicken broth, will depend on your meat-eating preferences, or lack of meat-eating preference.  Add the diced onion, olive oil, soy sauce and spices, except the cumin,  to the pot.  If you’re going to be adding the canned chicken breasts later, drain the liquid from the can into the pot now.  Simmer uncovered until the liquid reduces to about 1/2 the original amount.  While simmering the above,  drain and rinse several times the garbanzo beans to remove excess starch.  You may also wish to rinse the water chestnuts.  Drain the diced tomatoes, don’t rinse.  I drain and rinse in the can, using the cut cover to hold the contents in while the liquid is poured out.  Does the rinsing matter?  I’m not sure, someday I’ll try without rinsing.   

Once the broth simmers down (reduced) to about 1/2 it’s volume, add the water chestnuts and garbanzo beans,  simmer about 10 or 15 minutes more.  Then add and simmer the corn and green beans for another 10 or 15 minutes.  If you’ll be adding the optional chicken breasts, fluff them with a fork to break up the chunks and add them now, with the green beans.   Then add the diced tomatoes and cumin.  Simmer for about 10 more minutes.  Do a little stirring between additions. 

If all the measures and instructions are correct, you should end up with a little under 3 quarts of good tasting soup to keep you warm and cozy on a cold winter night like tonight (temperature 7 degrees and wind chill below zero).  The house should also start to smell terrific at this point.

The only question you may have at this point is,  what do I do with the other half can of garbanzo beans?

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