Although hearty soups and stews offer the taste and convenience of one-pot cooking so popular with today's hectic life style, they can be trouble-makers in a diet where fat and sodium are a consideration. Since most commercially prepared soups are "well dosed with salt," said Jane Brody in "Jane Brody's Nutrition Book," (Bantam Books: $12.95, soft cover, 552 pp.) making soup at home is preferred.
A piping hot bowl of soup before a meal can give the dieter a head-start on fullness and help avoid overeating. A hearty stew, served with just salad and bread, can be a low-fat meal in itself. And home preparation of either not only allows the cook to control the amount of added sodium, but also to preserve more of the vitamins, fiber and minerals usually lost in commercial preparation.
Homemade soups and stews, when built on a foundation of assorted favored vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, celery, potatoes, turnips and cabbage, can provide a rich supply of the days recommended intake of fiber. Add a small amount of lean meat for protein or include beans, peas or other legumes with grains and get a double-dose of protein and fiber as well.
Grain Sources Listed
Some suggested grain sources are rice, barley, corn, pasta and lentils. Be sure to remove the skin from chicken and turkey and to select leaner varieties of fish and meats.
Another fat-sparing technique is to chill the soup, stew or broth before serving, then lift off the congealed fat as it rises to the top. This will save about 100 calories and 12 grams of fat per tablespoon of fat removed. (Trimming visible fats from meats and removing skin from poultry before cooking will save as much as 270 calories and 30 grams of fat per ounce removed.)
Finally, use low-sodium bouillon and ready-to-serve broths when homemade is not an option. But do try to make stock from scratch whenever possible. Simmering savory vegetables, bones and spices together in enough water to cover by at least an inch takes so little effort it is worth the time involved to save the fat, salt and calories.
ROOTS AND TUBERS SOUP
8 cups chicken broth
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 medium potatoes, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1 cup peeled and cubed turnip
1 cup peeled and cubed rutabaga
1 parsnip, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 1/2 cups cabbage, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground sage
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Combine broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, potatoes, onion, carrot, turnip, rutabaga, parsnip, celery, cabbage, bay leaves, sage and pepper in 5 to 6-quart pot. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Serve hot. Makes 8 servings.
TURKEY VEGETABLE STEW
2 to 2 1/2-pounds turkey wings
5 cups water
2 onions, quartered
1 carrot, cut in chunks
1 bay leaf
5 whole peppercorns
2 cubes low-sodium chicken bouillon
3 to 4 medium tomatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1 cup green beans
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 carrot, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 stalk celery, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 leek, thinly sliced
1/2 cup lima beans
3 tablespoons pearl barley
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped oregano leaves
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1/2 cup peas
1 ear corn, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 cup broccoli florets
Bring turkey wings, water, onions, carrot chunks, bay leaf, peppercorns and bouillon to boil in 5-quart saucepan. Skim off any foam. Reduce heat and simmer 1 to 1 1/4-hours or until turkey is tender.
Remove turkey from liquid and allow to cool. Cut meat from bones, discard skin and bones and cube meat. Strain broth, discarding vegetables and spices. Skim off any remaining fat.
Return broth to saucepan and add tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, carrot slices, celery, leek and lima beans. Bring to boil over high heat and add barley, parsley and oregano. Mash garlic and salt and add to pan with seasoned pepper, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Add turkey, peas, corn and broccoli and cook 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Makes 4 servings.
GRANDPA'S HOMEMADE TURKEY SOUP
5 cups Rich Turkey Stock
3 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, quartered
1 cup uncooked noodles
2 cups diced cooked turkey
Combine Rich Turkey Stock, celery, potatoes, carrots and onion in 5-quart saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat. Then, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 1 hour.
Stir in noodles and turkey and simmer until noodles are tender. Makes 8 servings.
Rich Turkey Stock
2 pounds bony turkey pieces
6 cups water
3 stalks celery with leaves, cut up
2 medium carrots, cut up
1 large onion, cut into thirds
3 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1 to 10 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper