Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tomato Florentine Soup

In the Dietetics Program at BYU one course that I took was Food Production Management Lab.  In this class I gained hands on experience of managing and being a part of a food production facility (The Pendulum Court).  We made all the food (lunch entree  salads, sandwiches, desserts, muffins...) and took turns working in the different areas of the kitchen as well as manager.  We made delicious food!  The best position to have was in the bakery.  We were taught that we were to sample everything (also taught on Master Chef by Gordon Ramsay. haha!).  Well you can't sell a cookie or muffin with a piece broken off so when in the baker position one got a little more than a sample and as you can tell I have a big sweet tooth. :)  Since it was a 5 hour class we also got a free lunch!

My favorite soup we made was the Tomato Florentine Soup which I had my very first day of lab.  I made it today and it tasted better than I remember (I tweaked it by changing some measurements and adding and substituting some ingredients.  The recipe below is my version of the soup and served in this bread bowl recipe).  My husband liked it but also informed me that he doesn't usually like tomato based meals (ex: spaghetti, probably his least favorite meal and I make the sauce very well from scratch) and this is a tomato based soup.  I on the other hand LOVE tomato based food like this soup, spaghetti sauce (I eat pasta with my sauce), and pizza (my favorite part is the sauce, not the cheese).

Sometimes tomato based things can be acidic and when I first tasted my soup it was a bit acidic.  I remembered reading somewhere that baking soda helps to reduce that since it is basic.  I gave it a shot and added 1/2 tsp baking soda to the soup and it actually decreased the acidity.  I am going to try it next time I make spaghetti and chili too!

2 Tbsp butter
2 ribs celery, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb ground beef
1/2 box (5oz) frozen spinach, chopped
1 can (14oz) diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 c water
4 c (32oz) tomato juice
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c orzo pasta

In a medium pot melt butter and add celery, onion, and jalapeno.  Cook over medium heat until tender and onions are translucent.  Add garlic and cook 1 more minute until garlic is fragrant.  Remove from heat and set aside for later use.

In a large pot, brown ground beef.  Drain off fat and add the cooked vegetables, spinach, diced tomatoes, basil, pepper, salt, bouillon cubes, honey, vinegar, water, and tomato juice.  Stir to combine and then mix in baking soda.

Add orzo, bring to a boil, and then reduce to low.  Cover and allow soup to simmer for 20 minutes and then serve.


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