Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mulligatawany soup

The camp uses canned soup for lunch about four or five days each week. Instead of heating a can and serving it to the campers, I often "doctor" the soup by using the canned soup as a base for a new dish.

So far, the campers and staff have been receptive to my innovative ideas. Most are simple and fit in within my limited variety of ingredients.

When I arrived three weeks ago, I found over six cases of Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup in the storeroom. With 12 (50-ounce) cans per case, I quickly figured that I was going to be serving a lot of cream of chicken soup to the campers.

I've used the soup as a base in macaroni and cheese and to make a thick chicken noodle soup. Although I have yet to serve plain cream of chicken soup, I may during one of the sessions.

During staff training I hit on an idea that dates back to my Navy service in the 1970s. Why not make a mulligatawny soup?

I was looking for something to add to the soup when I remembered the curry-spiced soup from India. The ingredients of the soup were always the subject of a question on the advancement exam for Navy cooks.

The soup started when sweated a one-pound mire poix with two julienned bell peppers. I them dumped one can of the creamy soup base with a can of water into the stockpot and stirred.

The soup was flavored with two diced apples and a moderate dash of curry powder. I then cooked one pound of dry pasta and added it to the soup. Although rice is more traditional, pasta is a big hit at Deer Crossing.

A little thyme would've been a nice addition, but I don’t have any right now. The zest from one lemon would also give the soup extra pep.

Of six quarts of soup, I had enough leftover for the picture. Thirty-six campers and staff enjoyed an interesting diversion from cream of chicken soup today.

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