Anyway, every week my mother-in-law made the most amazing soup EVER. I would try to recreate it in my apartment with lentils, chicken, celery, tomatoes, dill, parsnips, parsley. Inevitably, my broth would taste like water or, at best, weak parsnip-flavored tea.
Once my future in the family seemed secure enough for the transmission of state secrets (i.e., for me to help cook Shabbat dinners), my future m-i-l told me the mystery ingredient...
Osem Soup powder.
You dump a few heaping tablespoons of this magic powder (available in kosher grocery stores in the US!) into water, and instantly you evoke soup simmering for hours in a shtetl kitchen, mixed with Cup-a-Soup and a lot of salt. Even better, Osem makes vegetarian chicken soup powder that tastes like the real thing, meaning that I finally have an answer to all of those recipes that call for chicken broth in cream sauce!
When I came to Israel, I realized that this fairy dust has infinite uses. My ulpan teacher told us about how she puts soup powder in everything (including her husband's soups, which he refuses to powder because of some silly objection to preservatives. As if parve chicken soup powder could be anything but all-natural). Soup powder is ideal in:
- Casseroles (especially "pashtidot," which don't have a good translation in English)
- Chopped liver (which I made for my husband on Valentines Day-- it's an unsung aphrodesiac!)
- Stir fry
- Mashed potatoes
- Matzo balls
- Pasta sauce
We had an Argentinian chef called Alberto in my ulpan class, who shared with us the recipe for French Onion Soup that he prepares at a fairly nice Italian restaurant in Haifa. Onions, butter, flour, water, white wine-- and Osem Onion Soup mix.
Are there any fun uses for soup powder that I missed?