Monday, March 26, 2012

Creamy Tomato Soup... Join Me In An "Mmmmmm..."

Mmmmmm, indeed. Tonight is a night for Creamy Tomato Soup. After a bad yoga class and a quick rehearsal/interview, I was decently hungry. By the time I got home, I had no patience for cooking, so instead grabbed the Tupperware out of my fridge and reheated a bowl of simple, homemade soup. I mean, it's ridiculously easy to make in the first place. I make it more difficult by adding shredded chicken, but even that is relatively brainless. Which leads me to a crucial argument for this blog:

Eating Paleo is easy!

Here's the recipe I follow for making Creamy Tomato Soup-- no additives, no excessive salt, no hassle, no skimping on taste or substance, no blowing up your food budget:


If pictures could capture taste and smell...
  • 1 12 oz can organic coconut milk, full fat (this is the kind of fat you want, the kind that adds flavor and substance, making you feel full without filling you with "packing peanuts"
  • 1 large can of organic diced tomatoes (for those not able to grow their own, or not willing to pick fresh)
  • 1/4 cup organic chicken broth (can be store bought if you don't want to or now how to make your own, just keep an eye on the sodium levels)
  • Italian spices to taste:
    • crushed red pepper flakes
    • lemon pepper
    • black pepper
    • basil
    • oregano
    • garlic
    • thyme
    • rosemary
    • onion flakes
    • crushed sea salt
    • and the list goes on...
  • 2 decent sized chicken fillets (breast or thigh)
Obviously, when you make this soup, you'll make it to your own flavor preferences, so you'll probably pick and chose whichever spices you use in whatever moderation you fancy. I've made this soup probably 15 times, and I make it differently each time. Spices, aside from adding flavor, are rich in nutrients. Just ask any acupuncturist or specialist in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Feeling like you're fighting a cold? Up the garlic. Feeling like your sinuses are plugged? Bring on the red pepper. Feeling like your stomach is digesting bricks? Add a little more ginger. (I used to work as a massage therapist and Reiki master, and used therapeutic grade essential oils with almost every session-- in the future, I'll cover in greater detail how spices can quite literally change your life.)

If I can do this without making a blender smoke,
then damn it, you can too!
  1. Get a blender, a big pot, a pan, and a range. Got that?
  2. Good. Now, take your fresh chicken and put it in that pan that's getting all warmed up. I like to cook a lot of my meats in bacon fat, olive oil, or ghee-- not a lot, just enough to keep things wildly juicy. Flavor with a little bit of crushed sea salt and some black pepper, or add some more adventurous spices if you like... say, lemon pepper, perhaps? Lemon and tomato are always a good pairing...
  3. Once your chicken is cooked (ie: it's not raw or frozen in the middle), put it on a cutting board and grab a fork. Tear that chicken into shreds. It'll be therapeutic, trust me
  4. Leave chicken aside. It's dead and cooked-- it's not going anywhere unless you have tall and/or creative house pets... or roommates...
  5. Grab your cans. Having done that, go get the coconut milk and tomatoes
  6. Open cans and pour together into blender. Add chicken broth (if you like thinner soup, which I don't, so I usually skip this part) and any spices you'd like
  7. Put lid on blender, then blend until your heart's content and you have the texture of soup you prefer
  8. Pour mixture into your big pot, turn on the heat to something lowish that won't make the soup explode, and add your chicken. Punch up with any other spices you like
And you're done! It's that simple! This soup usually lasts me through 5-6 servings, depending on how much chicken I add, and since I can't eat that much soup all at once, I store it and go through it in a week or so. I've had this as a side to larger meals (sans shredded chicken), as a full meal with veggie fries on the side or homemade almond meal crackers, even as a simple little snack before work or heading to the gym. It's low tech, doesn't require a rotary evaporator, tastes great, and probably costs $5 to make something that lasts quite a while. Last time I checked, a bowl of soup at a chain Italian restaurant cost anywhere from $4-8, often times made with a lot of things that don't get along with digestive tracts.

The beautiful part? You can alter this recipe as needed! You don't want chicken? Okay then! Try adding duck instead! You made it once with fire-roasted tomatoes? Next time, pick fresh ones from your garden or a farmer's market and dice 'em up! You flavored mostly with rosemary and black pepper? No worries, just change it up with garlic and basil! Experimentation is not something to be feared when cooking, but rather embraced. So you might screw up once in a while (I still can't figure out how to make sweet potato gnocchi with coconut flour, and it haunts me to this day), but that shouldn't stop you from trying different things.

Now go try my soup!

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