If you’re like me, cream-based soup and bread make up a staple area of comfort food. Also if you’re like me, you don’t always have time (or refrigerator room) to make a big batch of soup and store it for when you’re in need.
This is where canned soup comes in, but canned soup has its own problems. Some of them are bland. Some are overspiced. Most are salty. Some, like the can I pulled out today, has the distinct honor of being able to be all three.
Chipotle Chicken and Corn Chowder sounds innocuous enough. It’s mass-marketed, so it won’t be too spicy. It’s not Campbell’s, so it shouldn’t be too salty. It’s cream-based, so it’s good for comfort food.
But then – then I opened up the can, dumped it into a pot, and swiped a finger through the residue on the can. It was like somebody had pepper-sprayed my throat – but then, I”m mildly allergic to capsaicin (the active ‘heat’ ingredient in peppers and pepper spray), so I’m a bit more sensitive than most.
The other problem with canned soup: it’s WAY too liquidy for my taste. Cream-based soups should be distinctly thicker than water-based soups. If your onion soup and your chowder flow exactly the same way, then I’m sorry, but you’ve screwed the pooch big time.
My original plan was to heat it up and dump it over rice so it wouldn’t be so liquidy, but then I opened up the cupboard and found that we HAD no quick rice. It would take a half-hour, at the minimum, to make a single serving. So what’s a girl to do?
Find breadcrumbs, oatmeal, and cheese, then throw in a toasted English muffin for good measure.
Get the soup nice and hot. Toss in a handful of bread crumbs and a handful of oatmeal and let cook for about five minutes – just long enough to make the oatmeal lose its crunch. When the soup looks thick enough for you, add a handful of cheddar cheese and stir to melt. Drop half of an English muffin in the bottom of the bowl, pour in soup, and stick the other half in the side of the bowl.
It ends up looking something like this
And tasting like an enchilada on a buttermilk biscuit – which, I promise, is better than it sounds. The texture of the English muffin means that the piece on the bottom doesn’t get soggy, even after sitting in soup for twenty minutes.
The best part? The can of soup has a total of 360 calories, the oatmeal has ~15, the breadcrumbs are sitting pretty at 10, and the cheese adds roughly 30. Without the English muffins, the soup comes out to 415 calories – not bad for a quick winter lunch. With the English muffin, the whole bowl is 535. A little heavier, but certainly not a deal-breaker. Especially since I’m not prone to snacking or eating breakfast.
Go forth, experiment, and stay golden, my friends.