Thursday, February 10, 2011

Teens tackle hunger at Souper Bowl of Caring

2/2/11 Cook’s Corner
Betty Kaiser

This Sunday millions of football fans are going to be tuned in to Super Bowl XLV to watch the championship competition between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers. The winners of this 45th annual edition of knocking, blocking and tackling will receive super size paychecks, rings, a team trophy and (of course) bragging rights.

Meanwhile, local teens from nearby churches and others around the country are going to be working on the Souper Bowl of Caring. Locally, before the football game, some teens are going to be tackling hunger by collecting cans of soup and monetary donations for the food pantry at Community Sharing.

I learned of this project and the impact it has across the nation from Tracy Durfee who works with the youth at First Presbyterian Church.

“The first ever Souper Bowl of Caring was started in 1990,” Durfee said. “A simple prayer from a single youth group began this event, ‘Lord, as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us to be mindful of those without even a bowl of soup to eat.’ Since that day, more than $60 million has been raised for local charities across the country through what is now known as the Souper Bowl of Caring.

“Through this mission, young people learn what it's like to make a positive difference in the world - as they collect food, raise money, and volunteer to work in charities that provide shelter for the homeless, food to the hungry and compassion to those in need.

“Last year our youth collected 116 cans and $178. I posted the information on Facebook and we had some people leave soup sacks at the front gate of the church! This year (in addition to collecting food) the youth plan to go to Community Sharing Feb. 4 and donate time there to work in the pantry.”

This is a great idea. Soup is a relatively inexpensive item that warms body and soul. All of us can afford to contribute a few cans of soup. Check out the sales, pick up some hearty varieties and either take them to your participating church or directly to Community Sharing.

By the way, while you’re at the market, you might also pick up a few cans of tomatoes. Almost any canned condensed soup (but not cream style) will benefit from adding the usual can of water plus a can of whole tomatoes and a dash of Italian spices.

Homemade soup is a wonderful meal for Sunday suppers. I have made a zillion variations on this first chicken soup recipe. The key to a tasty chicken soup is to first have a meal of roast chicken. Yum. Then, use the leftover chicken in the soup. The flavor and texture of the meat is fabulous. If you have a well-stocked kitchen, you can make the stock from pantry staples of onions, celery, canned broth, tomatoes, beans and corn. You just can’t go wrong

The final soup recipe in today’s column is from “100 Best Fresh Soups” a cookbook given to me by my daughter-in-law Betsy. The “Fennel & Tomato Soup with Shrimp.” It would make a great ladies luncheon dish with bread, green salad and pie for dessert!

Betty’s Company-good Chicken Soup

Saute together in saucepan:
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon oil
Add and bring to a boil:
2 cans chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cube chicken broth seasoning
1-2 carrots, shredded
2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1-2 cans pinto or chili beans, drained
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
2 teaspoons chili powder
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1 small can diced green chilis, drained
3 cups cooked chicken or turkey, diced (add last hour of cooking)
Reserve: 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Place mixture in slow cooker and cook on low. If the broth is too thin, mix cornstarch with water; add to soup and bring to boil. Just before serving, add a dash of hot sauce.

Garnish with your choice:
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Sour cream
Red onion, finely diced
Black olives, sliced
Fresh Cilantro, chopped
a. I double this for ‘company’ and sometimes add a can of cream of chicken soup and additional water if needed.
b. A couple of tablespoons of dry taco seasoning mix adds extra zip.

“100 Best Fresh Soups”

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced
2 large fennel bulbs, halved and sliced
1 small potato, diced
3-3/4 cups water
1-2/3 cups tomato juice (extra if needed)
1 bay leaf
4-1/2 ounces small shrimp, peeled
2 tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon snipped fresh dill (1 teaspoon dried is okay)
Salt and pepper
Garnish: Dill sprigs or fennel fronds

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and fennel; cook 3-4 min., stirring occasionally until the onion is softened.

Add the potato, water, tomato juice and bay leaf with a large pinch of salt. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer about 25 min., stirring once or twice, until vegetables are soft.

Allow soup to cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor or blender and process until smooth, working in batches if necessary. (If using a food processor, strain off the cooking liquid and reserve. Puree the soup solids with enough cooking liquid to moisten them; combine with remaining liquids).

Return soup to the saucepan and add shrimp. Simmer gently about 10 min. to reheat the soup and allow it to absorb the shrimp flavor.

Stir in the tomatoes and dill. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding salt and pepper if needed. Thin the soup with a little more tomato juice if desired. Ladle into warmed bowls, garnish with dill or fennel fronts and serve.

Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart. 
Read her columns weekly in the Cottage Grove Sentinel.

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