Monday, March 23, 2009

Recession: Party of One - Detox Soup

After a particularly indulgent weekend, it's nice to have a meal that erases the guilt - if not the sordid memories - just a bit.

Since this past weekend was all about celebration, I thought I should eat something wholesome, light, but still really satisfying. Soup, for me, almost always fits that description.

I had never really tapped into my love of soup until I moved to bone-cold Chicago, but I have to say, the world of soup it's opened up to me makes the winters almost worth it.

This is a soup that takes just a little bit of chopping to prep, and not much hands-on cooking at all, unless you count the occasional stir.


NOTE: I use the word "detox" loosely - this is not part of an actual detox diet.


1/4 of a small red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/3 of a small butternut squash, cut into small chunks
3 c. chicken broth
1 can stewed tomatoes
1/2 c. chickpeas
several sprigs thyme, leaves only
1 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
1/4 c. wild and brown rice blend (or any rice)
1/4 c. protein-enriched angel hair pasta, broken into pieces
salt and pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
a few dashes white wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 thin slice French bread
grated Parmagiano Reggiano


In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add the cabbage and thyme leaves, and cook for 5-6 minutes, seasoning with a little salt and pepper, until it begins to soften.


Add the rest of the ingredients with the exception of the pasta. Cover, turn heat to medium-high, and cook for about 20-30 minutes, until rice grains are tender. Add the pasta about 8 minutes before you're ready to serve the soup. Give it an occasional stir.


Toast the bread in the toaster. Grate the Parmesan over the bread as son as it comes out, and melt it in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds if needed. Serve with the soup. Enjoy!

Easy, right?

This soup came out really tasty - whether or not health is the goal, it would be delicious either way. The only thing I'd change is the rice & pasta - I'd replace them with orzo (whole wheat orzo, if that even exists, would be ideal). The rice didn't get quite as tender as it should have (although when I eat the leftovers, it will most likely be perfect), and the pasta was just a little annoying, as it kept sliding off my spoon.

This made about 3-4 servings of soup - definitely enough to have for a few days of lunches. Which brings us to the PARTY OF ONE PRICE INDEX:

CABBAGE: 44 cents
CHICKPEAS: 20 cents
TOMATOES: 55 cents

Everything else I already had or is a pantry staple, which brings our per-serving GRAND TOTAL to:

78 cents!!!

Wow, that might be the most economical R: P of 1 meal yet! No wonder soup has been a peasant staple for centuries.

A few more nights like this, plus a bikram yoga class or two, and I should be back to my fighting weight in no time.

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