Bowls Full of Diabetes-Compatible Goodness

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As I sit here writing to you there is, simmering on the stove, a huge French country pot roast. My local “stupidmarket” had a sale on the one of the cuts of meat that I like for slow cooking.

It is cool and I crave something hearty and with a stick to your ribs goodness. Yesterday I made a big pot of my favorite (which child do I love most?) soup for dinner tonight and three buckets full for the freezer.

For many of you, cooking is a chore. Something you have to do. Many of you have realized that the best way to control the carbohydrates in your meals is by preparing them yourselves. But all that work. All that chopping. Who wants to do that? Other than me, I mean.

For those of you that don’t really enjoy cooking as much as I do, I want to share with you that it takes no more work to make a big pot roast, stew, pot pie filling, or batch of soup than it does to make it for one or two servings. Cooking these kinds of foods in advance and in big batches has the benefit of you having it ready to re-heat when you need it.

Another thing is that letting this foods sit overnight in your fridge enhances their flavor. Want a scientific explanation? I am not sure that I have one. There are a few theories about this. One is (and it is the one I favor) that the flavors have a chance to meld into one another. The tomato gives some of its flavor to the stock and vice versa. Another theory is that reheating reduces the liquid a bit more and concentrates the flavors. Both make sense, but who cares? It works and makes life a lot easier.

Soup is one of my favorite foods. Unless you are loading it with a lot of rice, beans, or noodles, or thicken it with a lot of flour, they are pretty much a low carbohydrate meal. There are all kinds of benefits to making your own soups. YOU control the whole thing.

1- You get to take advantage of a sale on chicken, beef, sausage, and some vegetables.

2- You get to use up leftovers. Soups are great for that. If you have just a little of something left in your fridge, a soup is a perfect place to use it rather than let it age in the fridge and die. I call these kitchen sink soups. No two are alike, but they should be delicious.

3- You get to control not only the flavor(s) but the sodium content of your soup. Even if you are not likely to make a chicken or beef stock from scratch, there are dozens of lower sodium products on the market. The one caveat I have is to be careful the sodium is not too low. I have tried some “organic” brands that are so low in sodium that they taste only a little better than dishwater. You can always add more salt but I have never been very successful in coming up with a really good base flavor just by doing that. I think part of it is the manufacturers of the very low sodium versions not only eliminate salt but also items like celery that have sodium but also good flavors they impart to a broth. I used a very low sodium broth this summer to make my cold cucumber soup. No matter what I did to it, it tasted off. I bought enough of it to use in a cauliflower soup and it too was not up to snuff.

It has always been an adventure to me to try soups by other chefs. One of my chefs in Boston made a soup from black eyed peas. He was from Brazil and black eyed (cow peas) are not an unusual ingredient there. My memory of black eyed peas is in the same flavor and texture category as my grandmother’s dreaded lima beans. Much to my surprise and delight, the soup was gorgeous. It was all in how he seasoned the broth. His soups were a very popular item on our menu. Every time there was a question about what the “Soup du Jour” should be, I would request the black eyed pea. Now, with Diabetes, I don’t used black eyed peas much because they are high in carbohydrates (and yes, fiber) but a small amount adds some great flavor to a soup as well as working to thicken it.

Creation of soups is only limited to your imagination and your food preferences. As a Diabetes chef, I say go for it. You will surprise yourself.
My tip for soups and all long cooking dishes is to add a freshly chopped herb to it just before serving. Even if it is only my beloved parsley, it adds such freshness to you dish, the little bit of extra chopping is well worth the work.

Enjoy, be happy, be Healthy, BE DECADENT.-w!