Warming the Frigid
So I hear some of you are having pretty cold weather. I hear that we are, too, but as this is the first snow-free winter of my life, I'm not feeling much of a chill. But when I do, one of my favorite things to do is make a big pot of soup. There's nothing that warms my insides faster.
Aside from the soup itself, I love using my cute little 3 qt. soup pot. I think a soup pot, no matter what size, is a kitchen essential. When you're shopping for a soup/stock pot, it's good to keep a few things in mind:
Choosing the Material
There's a great article by Chef Mark Vogel about what to look for in choosing cookware. He talks a lot about materials used in pots (and other cookware), and according to him, we have four options:
- Copper: Best heat conductor, but scratches easily, may alter the flavor and color of your food, and very expensive. Oh, but they're pretty!
- Aluminum: Good heat conductor and inexpensive, but eventually wears down and may "react" with your food -- similar to copper pots. If you go this route, make sure the aluminum is anodized to prevent reaction.
- Cast Iron -- Also a great heat conductor and inexpensive, but it's HEAVY. It may also rust and stick to food if it's not seasoned. To prevent this, get enamel-coated cast iron. Unfortunately enamel-coated cast iron is expensive.
- Stainless Steel -- Durable, inexpensive, easy to clean and won't react with food. It has mid-range heat conduction, but that is improved if the base has an aluminum interior. Probably your best compromise.
I've got an older version of that stainless steel one right there. Isn't she cute? Sigh.
No matter what kind of pot you buy, get one with a sturdy, thick bottom. Soups tend to be on the burner for longer periods of time and a cheap pot will leave you with a scorched bottom. And no one wants a scorched bottom. (Tanning flashbacks....*shudder*. )
I can't let you go without sharing a recipe, so here's a fast (like 15 minutes fast), yummy chowder that the kiddos will like. At least I think they will. My little kiddo is still eating mush, so please tell me if they like it! I think it's supposed to taste like cheeseburgers and fries, but with the southwestern seasonings, it tastes more like cheeseburgers and CHILI fries. It got a thumbs up from our table. :)
from Taste of Home's Big Soup Book
½ lb ground beef
1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
1 ¾ c milk
1 c frozen hashbrowns
1 can chopped green chilies
1 T taco seasoning
1 T dried minced onion
½ tsp chili powder
crushed corn chips
Monterey jack cheese
chopped green onions
Cook beef over medium heat in a large saucepan until no longer pink; drain. Stir in milk, potatoes, chilies, taco seasoning, onion and chili powder until blended.
Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with corn chips, cheese, sour cream and green onions, if desired. Makes 2-3 adult servings.
Wishing you a warm belly full of soup,
Natalie of Ear Candy
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