Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Souper supper ideas
Soups and stews are perfect choices for one-bowl meals.
Food writer Lindsey Nair
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Some nights, I barely have the energy to throw thawed, frozen tilapia in a skillet and microwave one of those Jiffy-popping vegetable bags.
Therefore, I am astounded that my mother refrained from strangling me all those times I whined, just after she'd dragged herself in from work, to know what was for dinner.
Especially those times she told me and I wrinkled my nose.
Fortunately, Mom was much better than I am about planning and executing fully rounded meals. She also knew one of the easiest ways to make us all smile was to make a big, steaming pot of soup.
Thinking back now, it occurs to me that my mother is a master of all kinds of supper-in-a-bowl. When we were kids, she fed us potato, cream of broccoli, chicken noodle, chicken and rice, vegetable beef, cabbage, split pea and other soups, and she still makes truly craveworthy chili - red chili with beef, chicken chili with white beans, and green chili with pork and chile peppers.
When a one-bowl meal was served, the family excitement was, in part, on account of the fact that my mother always served them with freshly baked biscuits or corn bread. And corn bread leads to a new realm of piping hot simplicity with the legume family - pinto beans, October beans, butter beans, black bean soup and so forth.
Of course, who could forget rich beef stew? Or chunky clam chowder? Sometimes, Mom folded leftover chopped chicken into a thick chicken gravy with potatoes and vegetables. She served this over hot, split biscuits and called it chicken a la king. I always thought that was such a stately name for leftovers.
And so, as the leaves prepare to settle with the earth, as pumpkins appear at grocery stores and the chrysanthemums grow fat buds in my back yard, I begin to think about simple suppers in a bowl; about how comforting the warmth is in my hands and in my stomach.
Over the years, I've carried on some of my mother's specialties as well as discovered my own favorite recipes, many of which I've shared in this column. Rather than repeat recipes, I'm going to share some new favorites now, including Mom's cream of broccoli soup and an easy French onion soup.
Don't see anything that makes your tummy rumble? Visit plateup.roanoke.com to find more than 80 recipes for soups and stews. Or better yet, tell a picky kid to check it out for you and find a recipe that'll ward off the whining for at least one more night.
On the blog
More details on Saturday's Henry Street Festival pie bake-off results. Visit the Fridge Magnet blog at blogs.roanoke.com/fridgemagnet.