Warm up with a hearty soup and sandwich combo

A soup and sandwich special at a local cafe is true comfort food but cooking from scratch allows complete control of nutrition content, fat, sodium and calories. The following soups can be made at home a day or two in advance and also freeze well.

Add a hearty bread to increase the fibre or reduce the serving size for smaller appetites or calorie counters.

Pork Schnitzel Sandwich

  • 1 c. buttermilk 250 mL
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. dried mustard 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. salt 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper 3 mL
  • several shakes of hot sauce
  • 4 boneless pork loin chop, pounded 1/4 inch thick 2 cm
  • cooking oil suitable for frying
  • 1/2 c. flour 125 mL
  • 4 crusty buns

Mix together buttermilk, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper and hot sauce in a zippered bag. Add pork and marinate eight to 24 hours. Marinating step can be skipped, but the sandwich won’t be as good.
Heat 1/2 inch (3 cm) of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. While oil is heating, remove pork from bag, drain. Dredge in flour.
Fry pork for two minutes on one side, then flip and fry another two minutes. The pork should brown nicely. If it does not brown, the oil isn’t hot enough. If it browns too fast, the oil is too hot.
Serve on crusty buns with fresh or caramelized onions, lettuce and mayonnaise, if desired. Garnish with dill pickle.

Wild Mushroom Soup

  • 2 – 3 c. chicken broth 500 – 750 mL
  • 3 leeks, well rinsed and dried
  • 1 onion
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter 60 mL
  • 3 tbsp. flour 45 mL
  • 2 c. beef stock 500 mL
  • 1 lb. crimini or brown mushrooms 400 g
  • 1 oz. dried mixed wild mushrooms sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 30 g
  • heavy cream
  • chives or thyme for garnish, optional

Soak dried mushrooms in 1/2 cup (125 mL) hot water until soft. Save soaking water. Dice leeks, white part only, and onion and cook over medium heat in butter until soft.
Add roughly chopped mushrooms, soaked dried mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms are soft. Sprinkle with flour. Stir and cook five minutes.
Add reserved mushroom soaking liquid, chicken stock and beef stock. Cook for about 30 minutes or until mushrooms are thoroughly cooked. Cool. Puree in batches in a food processor.
Return to pan to reheat and serve. Garnish with heavy cream and fresh herbs.

Thai Curried Cauliflower Soup

Add raw cauliflower just before pureeing for a fresh flavour. Serve with a salad stuffed in a wrap or naan. Dress the salad first with a favourite vinaigrette.

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c. olive oil, divided 60 mL
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp. Thai red curry paste 30 mL
  • zest from one small lemon
  • 1 1/2 c. vegetable stock 375 mL
  • 14 oz. can coconut milk 435 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. brown sugar 3 mL
  • 1 tbsp. rice vinegar 15 mL
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).
Chop cauliflower and set aside one cup (250 mL). Toss remainder with three tablespoons (45 mL) of olive oil.
Spread in a single layer on a large baking sheet and roast until toasted, about 25 minutes. In large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, saute onion with one tablespoon (15 mL) oil and a pinch of salt until translucent, about three minutes. Add curry paste and lemon zest and stir.
Add roasted and raw cauliflower to pot. Reserve a few roasted florets for garnish. Add vegetable broth, coconut milk and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soup is warmed through.
Remove from heat and stir in vinegar. Puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle soup into bowls. Top each with cauliflower florets and serve immediately.

Beef Barley Soup

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil 15 mL
  • 2 lb. beef oxtails or short ribs 1 kg
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 leeks, chopped, white and light green parts
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 1 c. yellow onion, chopped 250 mL
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 10 c. low sodium beef broth 2.5 L
  • 1 c. pearl barley 250 mL

Heat oil in pressure cooker and brown meat. Add leeks, onion, celery, thyme, garlic and 10 cups of water.
Cook in pressure cooker for 15 minutes after full pressure is reached. Cool naturally.
Alternatively, simmer in a pot for about two hours. Open pot and shred meat and remove bones.
Add barley and carrots and cook for another 15 or 20 minutes without pressure, until tender.
Season with salt and pepper. Serves six.

Classic Club Sandwich

  • 3 slices bread for each sandwich
  • mayonnaise
  • bacon, tomatoes, lettuce
  • thinly sliced cooked chicken or turkey, ham
  • cheddar cheese

Lightly toast the bread. Lay first slice on cutting board and spread with mayonnaise. Add sliced fresh tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, two strips of crispy bacon, turkey and lettuce.
Add second slice of bread and spread with mayonnaise. Layer ham, cheese and more lettuce. Spread third piece of bread with mayonnaise and place mayonnaise side down on top. Slice in half diagonally and secure each with a skewer or long toothpick. Garnish with olives or pickles.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.

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