I love the idea of single serving soups (see my original post here). I refuse to touch canned soup anymore, I can’t eat a whole pot of something in a week if I make it fresh, and frozen soup can be ok but it is generally lacking in appeal (soggy pasta, takes forever to reheat….). Recently I’ve been able to get a few soups to come out well in the pressure canner (especially chicken tortilla soup!) but again there are limitations (i.e. no pasta or rice). This leaves me with my original plan of making a huge pot of broth and some sort of meat (i.e. chicken or beef), shred the meat after it’s cooked, and create single serving packages of just a tiny bit of meat and a larger amount of broth. That way you can reheat it and add any variety of things to make your own personal bowl of soup, fresh from the stove in under fifteen minutes. The broth/meat combination can be stored in the freezer (keeps pretty well with nothing else in it), or can be pressure canned for even easier use (no defrosting!).
My recent experiment: “dehydrated” veggie soup.
This is an amazing link on how to dehydrate vegetables. You can also view my earlier post about tomato powder. I combined those two ideas with a pack of beef and broth. It was absolutely experimental. My biggest concern being – how much of the broth will my dehydrated veggies suck up, and will I be left with some sort of vegetable casserole rather than soup? And, will the dehydrated veggies reconstitute to an acceptable consistency in the usual 10-15 minute timeframe that I cook my soup in?
Well, you can tell from the picture that I wasn’t far off on the vegetable casserole 🙂 I told myself from the very beginning to not go crazy with adding too many veggies. Then I kept having the “hmmmm, doesn’t look like there’s enough veggies in there, I better add more” syndrome. Should have stuck with my brain and not my gut 🙂 For this first go around, I had my beef and broth (approximately the size of a small 1/2 pound deli container), three tablespoons of dried veggies, two teaspoons of tomato powder, about 1/4 cup of thin noodles, and a sprinkle of frozen corn for good measure.
The result – it tasted great. Tomato powder really gave it the flavor I was looking for. However, I had to add some water halfway through (already drying up too quickly!). And, it still ended up with very little broth.
My thoughts for next time: reduce the amount of dried veggies to 2 tablespoons. Keep the tomato powder the same, and cut way back on the pasta (maybe a tablespoon at most).
I promise to share the results, but in the meantime, take this first attempt for what it’s worth! You can adjust it in so many ways to get exactly the result you’re looking for.
I tried this again tonight and it was a much better result. As you can see below, there was actually some broth left in it!
This time I used some organic veggie broth that I found at my local “cheapie” grocery store (about 2 cups), half a tablespoon of tomato powder, 3 tablespoons dehydrated veggies, a sprinkle of frozen corn, a quarter cup of shell pasta, and about five thin slices of sausage cut into bite sized pieces (I had one of those random “I can’t eat all this sausage that we made for dinner” leftover pieces in my freezer…they do come in handy!).
What will I do next time to continue improving?
Definitely add some more tomato powder. I think a whole tablespoon would have done the trick. Maybe another tablespoon of veggies, definitely no more than that. Otherwise it was really good. The sausage gave it a nice flavor without being overwhelming.