Chews Local

Easy, Healthy, & Delicious Family Food - French Market Soup
Posted 3/25/2015 by Emily Loynachan (Guest Post)
Happy Spring!!

It's been a while since I've posted on Frugal Iowa Mama, but I want to share about an easy, healthy delicious soup that can be enjoyed year-round.

First of all, let me start by clarifying that I do not consider myself to be a wonderful cook/chef/baker and I don't aspire to be one. I am a mom to four kids ages seven and under and like most people, I like to eat!

My main goal for cooking is to provide my family with mostly healthy meals.  I'd like to think the most important ingredient in all of our meals is love. Whether it be frozen waffles or a rare made-from-scratch anything meal, I do a little prayer as I make the food and ask that the person/people eating the food will feel loved and nourished.

My Grandma Wilson passed away a couple of years ago, but one of my cherished memories is going to the tea room in Stratford (called In Good Company) with my her, my mom, and usually at least one or two of the kids. We would go at least once a month for as long as I can remember.

Grandma's favorites were butterscotch pie and scalloped chicken (in that order). One of my favorites was a bowl of French Market Soup. The tea room closed in October 2014, but thankfully the owner, Janet, created a cookbook with a compilation of all of her delicious recipes.

I purchased Janet's cookbook, of course.  Excitedly, I flipped through the cookbook to find French Market Soup, was thrilled to see it, but I wasn't so thrilled to see that it yielded 1 and 1/2 gallons of soup. That is a lot of soup for 2 adults and 4 kids, ages 7 and under, so I gave up on trying it for a while. 

We sold our old home, moved into a new home in January, and I started thinking about the soup again. Isaac was going to have a birthday in early March, and we would have enough relatives over to possibly eat 1 and 1/2 gallons of soup!

I stopped by Story City Locker to pick up the meats and was greeted by the owners, Bobbie Jo and Ty Gustafson. This was the first time I had been in their store (I had been meaning to go for a while.)  It was so clean, and they had all sorts of goodies for sale.

I left with a whole chicken (recipe calls for 2 chicken breasts), 2 packages of smoked andouille sausage, and a ham steak. I'm telling you, this soup is a complete meal in itself! 

I love how the meats have the farms listed on the labels telling where the meat came from!

Here are the non-meat ingredients - since this recipe came from a cookbook, I can't share it exactly on a blog, but you can probably guess:

Also, all of the meats were cooked except the chicken.

I got the chicken the afternoon before the party and it was completely frozen. Bobbie said I could just "crock it" and I'd never heard of this before, but I followed Bobbie's advice and put the chicken in my crockpot. and turned it on high for a few hours, maybe about 4 or so, and then turned the heat down and continued to cook the chicken after it had thawed. My chicken was so big it didn't quite fit but I put aluminum foil all around the lid and crock pot to seal it up and it turned out great! 

(Note from Bobbie:  It is best to begin the meat cooking process in a crock pot with the meat from a thawed state.  FSIS USDA doesn't recommend cooking meat in a crock pot from a frozen state.  One effective way to rapid thaw is to have the frozen meat in a water tight plastic bag and submersed in a sink of cold water, maintained cold during the thawing process.)

I had to take a picture of the dry beans in the pot - so pretty!!

After I had cooked the beans for a while with the recommended amount of water, I added the tomatoes.

 I noticed some of the water had boiled off so I added some more hot water and decided to put a lid on the pot to help keep the moisture in (and I read that this is good when cooking beans for soups, makes the beans more tender).

Meanwhile, this was happening in another pan (again, so pretty!):

And then we added the meats, the smoked andouille sausage was lean and the seasonings were wonderful, not too spicy but very flavorful.

After a little more simmering the soup was done.  It looked and smelled so delicious!

I come from a mostly Norwegian family so I was a little concerned that the soup might be too spicy for my folks, but everyone loved it and most people went back for more!

I served it with two loaves of fresh bread, some crackers and cheese, and a bunch of fresh cut fruit.   I had bought mixed salad greens, but in all of the chaos I forgot to serve them with the meal. I know they would have also been great with the soup.

I loved making this special soup for some special people in my life. This soup is all about the meats and even though there was 2-3 pounds of meat in this soup, I felt nourished and satisfied, but not too full.

The meats were filling but not heavy, and I loved it so much that I'm thinking of making it again and freezing half or sharing it with someone.

Thank you, Story City Locker, for some wonderful local meats that made our special birthday even more special!

Frugal Iowa Mama

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