Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Camels Are Coming

You ate Campbell's soup growing up, right? Admit it.
It was completely NORMAL in my house. Mom could make some nice soups from scratch, sure, but the larder always had several red and white cans.
I sampled lots and lots of flavors of Campbell's soup, but my two favorites were cream of mushroom, and then bean with bacon. (Later I adored the black bean soup, but that was a transitional time and I've transited out of it.)
Bean with bacon. That was the hands-down winner. For a little kid, it wasn't too sweet, too salty, too creepy. I liked it.
A little ashamed to say it's still a benchmark soup for me, even if I'm cooking from pure, robust ingredients at home. My mom liked to make Navy bean soup (probably because my dad was in the Navy and it beefed up his credentials). But the Campbell's bean soup was a little pinker, a little more complex.
Today's lunch was bean with ham soup. That looks like a mega-blob of meat in the spoon, but there was probably no more than an ounce or two of ham in four servings. They just all ganged up for the photo.
You don't need a lot of meat. Whiz it with your immersion blender to get a greater meat-to-liquid distribution. If it's really tasty ham, the whole pot of soup will be adequately perfumed. More than that and you've just got a mouthful of smoky protein, ya doof.
But the secret, the way to get that nostalgic Campbell's allure, is to squirt some tomato paste in there. A little. And while you're at it, grab the anchovy paste tube, too. Umami it up. Check carefully for salt. Homemade, good food is sweet. You might need a little salt. We actually used Thai fish sauce! Not too much, you're not going for cartoon food, just a mysterious salt/umami.
I was having a childish, needy day. This fixed it.

16 comments:

Kailyn said...

Huh. That was my fave soup as well. What kind of beans did you use? Or am I dense and totally missed that?

cookiecrumb said...

Kailyn: No, I didn't mention what kind of beans. Small white ones from the bins at Whole Foods. Really tender.
Your new avatar is cute (and rude; that's you). What color is your hair now?

Kailyn said...

I've been varying shades of blonde for the past two years. And as I've been known for flipping the bird at least once a day around the office, I felt the new avatar to be quite apropos. Actually I've used a version of it for years on the commenting service for my blog; I just kept forgetting to change my Blogger avatar.

cookiecrumb said...

Kailyn: Caramel. That's a good color for you. Flipping the bird. We have that in common.

Zoomie said...

Cream of Tomato. I still like tomato soup but now it's Mollie Katzen's, the one with dill.

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: I couldn't stand the cream of tomato. Too burny in the back of my throat. I certainly do like modern tomato soups, and I love Mollie Katzen.

namastenancy said...

This soup would be perfect with just a dash of heat - maybe a drizzle of chili oil or my standby Sricha. I've also used Harissa (home made Moroccan chili paste) to add a bit of zip to beans.

Chilebrown said...

I had forgotten all about bean with bacon soup until now. That was one of my favorites too. Maybe that was the start of my bacon journey?

SimplyStated said...

Looks delightful! And it isn't it a shame something as pleasant as a tea party should now be associated with a sub-level of human intelligence?

Ms Brown Mouse said...

Our Hungarian neighbours used to make the most AMAZING bean, veg & ham hock soup, o MY it was good *sighs*
So many different beans, chunks of salty ham and goodness knows what else, picked pigs ears??

cookiecrumb said...

I FEEL LIKE A NICE, STUPID TEA PARTY!

cookiecrumb said...

Nancy: Of course! You always heat it up. :)

Chilibrown: It's somehow reassuring to me that you liked this soup too. And, no. Bacon was the start of your bacon journey.

Simply: I am SO delighted with the tea baggers. They are fracturing the GOP.

Mouse: A multiple bean soup? What a good idea. (We have leftovers for today. Cry, cry.)

Greg said...

I liked chicken and rice although it really did not have much chicken.Your soup looks so much more enticing.

cookiecrumb said...

Greg: Oh, yeah, the chicken and rice. That was my brother's favorite too. It was good, but a little anemic. And I forgot to confess I still eat chicken and noodle, to this day, if I'm under the weather.

kudzu said...

Again with the mutual attractions. There are times when I must have Campbell's chicken noodle -- nothing else will do. Have you gone up a notch with the Double Noodles can? It's slurpy and filling. Commercial bean and bacon leaves me wanting something other, but homemade is the best, especially with ham hock.

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: you validate me. You had me at hello. You complete me.
I'm currently fascinated by the "homestyle" chicken noodle. I really like it, and it's a great sodium IV if thats what you need.