If the recent weather here in Perth is anything to go by, winter is indeed coming, and that means large pots of soup bubbling away on the stovetop. I love filling my soups with beans and grains to make them soup-er (get it?!) hearty, but I don't always love how long you need to cook them for. I have relied on the McKenzies brand of soup mixes since I started cooking, so I was intrigued when I saw a packet called Quick Cook the other day, stating ready in 15 minutes.
I bought a packet of the Quick Cook Country Chicken Soup and got to work on a Short Cut Chicken Soup based on pantry/fridge/freezer ingredients. The McKenzies mix looked really nice and hearty with a nice variety of beans and grains, including barley, red lentils, yellow split peas, and navy beans, as well as a "natural" stock packet. I'm not sure, and the packed doesn't say, but I have a feeling the beans and grains have been par-cooked and then dried, and that's why it can be ready in just 15 minutes. Regardless, the soup I came up with was delicious! I discarded the powdered stock packet, and used homemade chicken stock instead of the water asked for in the directions, but I'm sure making it with the powder would have been tasty as well.
This is a true shortcut soup, using real food convenience items and is designed for a quick, but wholesome, weeknight meal. It's more expensive than if this soup was truly made from scratch, but certainly cheaper, and a heck of a lot healthier than running out to get a take away meal!
Shortcut Chicken Soup1 packet pre chopped mixed veggies (from the fresh fruit and veg section) - mine had celery, leek, carrot, turnip, broccoli stems.
1 packet McKenzies Quick Cook Soup Mix
500g packet frozen shredded chicken
8 cups chicken stock (or water and included stock packet).
- Saute mixed veggies in a little butter and olive oil until softened (about 4-5 minutes) in a large saucepan.
- Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
- Lower heat to low, and then simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, until beans and grains are tended.
- Serve with crusty bread.