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Archive for Wednesday, January 21, 2004

How to properly store soup

January 21, 2004

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Good cooks always say that soup is better the next day, but is it safe to eat?

The cooks you've been talking to are right -- many soups, with the possible exception of seafood soups, may taste better the next day. Or, oftentimes, a large batch of soup is made to enjoy for another meal or two. For best safety and quality, plan to eat refrigerated soup within two days. And avoid letting soup set at room temperature for more than two hours.

Don't put a large pot of hot soup directly into your refrigerator. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it would take an 8-inch stock pot of steaming chicken soup 24 hours to cool to a safe temperature in your refrigerator.

To be safe, follow one of these methods for cooling soup:

1. The quickest way to cool soup is to transfer it into shallow containers, making sure the soup is no more than two inches deep. Loosely cover with foil or plastic wrap or leave uncovered. Refrigerate promptly. Do not stack the shallow containers on top of each other. Stir the soup occasionally. Cover tightly when food is completely cooled.

2. Before putting the soup into the refrigerator, use an ice-water bath to bring the temperature of the soup down quickly. Put the pot of soup into a sink or larger pot filled with ice water. Stir the soup as it cools. This allows it to cool faster and more evenly. Stirring soup with cold paddles cools it even faster. You can create your own cold paddles by washing a one-liter soda pop bottle in a dishwashing detergent solution, rinsing it in hot water, sanitizing it by using one teaspoon of chlorine bleach per quart of water, and air drying. Fill the bottle three-fourths full with water, cap and freeze. Once frozen, use it to stir your soup to cool it more rapidly.

3. Adding ice or cool water as an ingredient can be used to cool the soup more quickly if you are making a soup that requires water as an added ingredient. The recipe can initially be prepared with less water than is required. Cold water or ice can then be added after cooking to cool the product and to provide the remaining water required by the recipe. Once food has been cooled to at least 70 degrees, the refrigerator can handle it.

Reheat soup until it's steaming hot throughout, at least an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

What's your favorite chili recipe?

Although there are lots of chili recipes out there, I've always favored one that's called "Wahoo Chili." It won the World Championship Chili Cook-off many years ago and it's still a favorite of mine.

Wahoo Chili

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3 pounds lean ground beef (or 2 1/2 pounds lean ground beef and

1/2 pound lean ground pork)

1 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup sweet green pepper

2 stalks chopped celery

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 10 3/4-ounce can tomato soup, plus 1 can water

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce, plus 1 can water

1 6-ounce can tomato paste

1 quart home-canned or 1 1-pound, 15-ounce can whole tomatoes

Shake in less than 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder (or more, if desired)

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon crushed dried red peppers

1 15-ounce can red kidney beans

1 15-ounce can chili beans

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Brown meat, onion, peppers, celery, and garlic in a skillet. Drain off fat. In a 6-quart Dutch oven, combine sauces and seasonings. Add meat and beans. Cook until thick (from three to four hours). Serve with crackers. Makes 14 servings.


If you like a Southwestern flair to tantalize your tastebuds, try this spicy chowder.

Spicy Southwestern Chowder

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2 slices bacon, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 medium)

1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

3 cups low-fat milk

2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

3 cups cooked brown rice

1 16-ounce package frozen corn or

1 17-ounce can corn, drained

6 large sourdough round rolls, hollowed out

Cook bacon in Dutch oven over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring until bacon is crisp. Drain all but 1 tablespoon fat. Add onion, carrots, jalapeños, garlic, chili powder and cumin. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly until onion is tender. Reduce heat to medium. Add milk, broth, rice and corn. Cook, stirring 10 to 12 minutes, until mixture boils. Cook 1 minute more; remove from heat. Ladle into bread rounds. Garnish with green onions. Makes 6 servings.

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