Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Homemade Condensed "Cream of" Soup


Does anybody else resent the day they discovered that name brand "cream of" soups had horrendous lists of ingredients in them? Sometimes ignorance really does seem like bliss...it certainly makes cooking easier, although unfortunately it's not cheaper or healthier.

Bear with me while I briefly assess what's in a normal can of store-bought cream soup. I won't list the entire ingredient list, but I will point out that it has twenty-five ingredients in it!  Our favorite homemade version has eight ingredients, and five of those are spices.  Four of the commercial ingredients happen to be varying types of MSG, so if you have a sensitivity to MSG that will nix the store-bought version from the get-go. (Everybody does, just some worse than others, and some notice it while others don't.)  MSG is one of many man-made, so-called "excito-toxins", which literally stimulate neurons to death.  For an in depth look into the topic of excito-toxins, check out this book. If you don't care about the science but just want to make the switch from what you know isn't a great option, to a homemade healthier option, then continue reading.  :-)

I've been making this recipe for almost three years...it's very easy, and in fact I timed myself today so I could report on that aspect of things as well.  This recipe takes ten minutes from start to finish, and I did dishes while it heated up.  It's also easy to double (or triple) and freeze the extra so you don't have to think about it again for awhile..in fact, I recommend it.  Once you have a viable alternative to canned soups, you'll be making casseroles a lot more often.  :-D

For your peace of mind, I've done the math on this! I asked Kara what the going rate for "cream of" soups is at the store, and she said they still go on sale for the 10/$10 deal, so we'll say $1.00 per can, even though I know they probably get bought at higher prices sometimes, too.

Here's the breakdown for homemade:
$.31 for 3/4 c. chicken broth (this is from pastured chicken, so it could be lower depending on                              what you use)
$.28 for 3/4 c. milk (organic whole)
$.06 for 3/8 c. flour (organic wheat)
$.10 for 1 1/8 t. various spices (random guess...spices are kinda hard to figure out)
TOTAL: $0.75 per can

Huh, look at that-- homemade organic is cheaper than store-bought derivatives. :-)  So we save twenty-five cents per can, get rid of the funky ingredients (including the BPA in the can, if you care about that) and saved a trip to town. We're on a roll. Let's make some soup, shall we?  Btw, this is a great opportunity to use up some of that chicken broth that's so good for you.  :-)

INGREDIENTS (for the equivalent of two cans)
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. milk
3/4 c. flour (if using sprouted flour, add 2 T.)
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. parsley
1/8 t. pepper
Optional: 1/4 c. finely diced chicken


In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth, 1/2 cup of milk, and spices to a boil for a minute or two.










Meanwhile, whisk the remaining milk together with the flour.






Whisk the flour mix into the boiling liquid.  Let boil for a minute or two until it thickens-- you're not looking for the consistency that comes out of the can; it will be that consistency once it cools.



Pour the mix into two pint jars, or however you prefer to store it.  It can be stored short term in the fridge or long term in the freezer.  This is not safe to can because of the dairy in it.

Yes, it's a very different color from the store bought version-- this is for two reasons: 1) I used wheat flour, which changes the color of all things it touches, and 2) one of the ingredients on the can is margarine, and one of the ingredients in that is "beta carotene for color".


STORAGE: short term fridge, long term freezer.  Home canning is not safe for dairy products.  The soup is thick enough that it never cracks jars; apparently something has to be almost solid liquid in order for the liquid expansion to be a problem.

THAWING: If you plan ahead, get it out the night before; it takes forever to thaw.  Alternately, and my favorite option: stick the cold jar in a saucepan of cold water (the more of the jar that's covered, the faster it'll thaw) and turn it on medium.  It'll thaw itself out within an hour or less (usually less).

ALTERNATIVES:  If you use cream of mushroom soup, then dice up some mushrooms, saute them, and add them in.  We don't like mushrooms much, so if I have a recipe where the chicken flavor doesn't go well, I use 1/2 cup chicken broth and 2 1/2 cups milk.  It's "cream soup", then.  :-)  You can definitely add other spices, herbs, or whatever strikes your fancy.  If you need cream of cheese soup, do the "cream soup" option and add in a cup or two of cheese, to your taste (this will vary depending on if the cheddar is mild, medium, or sharp).

What's your favorite recipe to use cream soup in?  I'm always up for new ones.  :-)

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14 comments :

  1. Sounds yummy and easy. Might have to give it a try. Nana

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  2. I've made this several times now. I no longer by canned condensed soup and My family loves it! Thanks!

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    1. Assuming you have your own recipe if you've made it several times before...does it differ much? We like the alternative too!

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  3. Going to make up a batch and freeze it flattened out in plastic baggies so they thaw faster. Not a good option if you are concerned about plastic...but I like Ziploc! and I like quick thawing :) Thanks for sharing! Was planning on asking you for this recipe soon anyway!

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    1. I still stock Ziplocs for extreme circumstances, but honestly, my main reason for disliking the use of them is that I have to keep buying them again. YUCK!

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  4. I make this a lot too. If you heat it up, and add 1-4 types of cheese to taste, poor over slightly undercooked elbow macaroni, add diced, cooked bacon, if you wish, top with homemade breadcrumbs... then bake on 350 for 45 min or until it bubbles well and has a toasted top. awesome bac n cheese.. just put WAAAY more sauce mixture than you think you should... soupy in the dish.. the macaroni soaks it all up.

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  5. I was hoping you would post about this pretty soon. Not sure I understand the Alternatives: paragraph, though -- the part about "if I have a recipe where the chicken flavor doesn't go well, I use 1/2 cup chicken broth and 2 1/2 cups milk." How does adding more chicken broth help the problem? (confused scratching of head)

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  6. Well, the original recipe is 1 1/2 c. milk and chicken broth...and for the plain version I do only 1/2 c. broth and 2 1/2 c. of milk. It's a full cup less of broth. it could probably be 100% milk but the broth gives it a bit of flavor.

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    1. Ooohh . . . You mean change the original recipe that way. I thought you were going to add the broth and milk to the condensed stuff to make cream soup. So . . . if you want to turn this recipe's finished product into cream soup, do you just add water (like you do with the canned stuff)?

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    2. Yes, or milk...I always added milk to the canned stuff to make it creamier. :-)

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  7. I've been in the mood for creamy- yum! I've made my own roux plenty of times but haven't thought to skip the butter and add the flour this way. Brilliant! I wonder how this would come out with my gluten free flour blend? Does the consistency stay the same after thawing from the freezer?

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  8. I've been in the mood for creamy- yum! I've made my own roux plenty of times but haven't thought to skip the butter and add the flour this way. Brilliant! I wonder how this would come out with my gluten free flour blend? Does the consistency stay the same after thawing from the freezer?

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  9. Yes and no. It looks funky when it's thawed but goes back to normal when you heat it up. Speaking of creamy, I'm debating making this with half and half next time...it is CREAM of soup, isn't it?!

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