- Joined Aug 21, 2009
We don't get Progresso here in Canada... we have Campbell's, and Heinz and Habitant. My dad loved Habitant pea soup.. I hated pea soup unitl I had my MIL's homemade and I make it all the time now.
Look, I do all those things - make my own stocks, soups, freeze 'em, reheat 'em, and even eat them. I've been cooking for more years than some in this thread have been on this earth, have taught cooking classes, and even had a small business making and selling sauces. However, every now and then, for whatever reason, it's easy and comfortable for me to open a can or box of soup, and what's the big deal about that? For example, it's almost 3:00am here, the neighbor's dog woke me up, it's cold and rainy, and I wanted something warm and tasty, so I opened a box of TJ's roasted red pepper and tomato soup, added a quickly diced piquillo pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes, a bit of organic, late harvest California olive oil, and had a quick, easy and acceptably enjoyable hot cup of soup. Why are so many here putting me down (overtly, aggressively, or subtly) because I sometimes want a can of soup?I know you said you'd rather have canned than frozen, but have you tried portioning out homemade soup in the serving bowls, lined with plastic film, and freezing? If you wrap em, once frozen, in foil and gather like soups together in large ziplocks they keep very well. Then it's just a matter of unwrapping, popping them back into the serving bowl and nuking for about 4 minutes on high. It has worked for me for years and keeps me from pilfering the junkfood in my store when I'm too uh, disinclined to cook.
If, like me, you find that food tastes better when prepared by someone else then perhaps you can find some fellow foodies and make a soup club. Each of you prepare a large batch of soup and portion it in singles for freezing. Swap 'em around... the more the merrier.
Also, if I may ask, I would really appreciate it if you could tone down the bitter. It's kinda spoiling the flavour of this lovely forum. I realize you are my elder, since you have been 'cooking seriously' since before I was born, but even a young punk like me understands that reacting offensively to a divergent viewpoint is beyond rude. Had I been present and heard you speak like that I would have Gibbs-slapped you without thinking twice. And I would not have been sorry. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif
Anywho, good luck in your quest. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif I hope you find what you are looking for soon.
Thanks - I'm somewhat familiar with Legal Seafoods but didn't know their products could be had outsided of their local area. Your information is timely as I've been looking for a good NE style chowder. Thanks!Costco carries Boston-based Legal Seafoods' marvelous New England clam chowder, er... chowdah. Mike.
Interesting - my experience with Knorr was many years ago, and I didn't care much for what they offered back then. Maybe it's time to revisit their soups and see what's new. Thanks for the suggestion.
Couldn't hurt to take a look, especially since Progresso is easy to find, although I have been using a couple of lentil-vegetable soups that are pretty satisfactory. I've never seen a hearty tomato soup. FWIW, CI had a reasonably good, very easy to prepare, recipe for tomato soup using canned tomatoes for the base. Almost as easy as opening a can LOL Thanks!I know you already mentioned Progresso, but if you haven't tried Progresso lentil and Progresso "hearty tomato" I think they are 2 that do stand out and are worth trying and buying.
Dry soup mix!? But then I'd have to add water. Maybe I can get my neighbor to help me <LOL>I'll also mention the Knorr dry soup mixes. Back when I was doing a lot of mountaineering stuff we almost always used Knorr for our soups when camping. It has been quite some time since then, but I do recall them being the best tasting of those we tried. I think oxtail was one of my favorites back then, and I think a leek mix.
Look, I do all those things - make my own stocks, soups, freeze 'em, reheat 'em, and even eat them. I've been cooking for more years than some in this thread have been on this earth, have taught cooking classes, and even had a small business making and selling sauces.
I discovered this website a few years ago, and have found the participants to be knowledgable and eager to help. The level of respect, kindness and patience with which we treat one another continues to amaze me. However, to my knowledge, none of the Cheftalk members can read minds (and while we can read profiles, it's not a requrement for responding to a request for help, so not everyone knows the skill levels of the others who post here -- even so, your profile says nothing of your abilities or accomplishments). As a new member, Schmoozer, we are still in the "getting acquainted" stage with you. Hopefully, as you continue to visit and post, we can look forward to benefitting from your contributions.
Oh, please point out where I said I'd rather have canned than frozen. I don't recall saying that.
While you did not specifically express a preferrance for canned soups over frozen, your subject title and subsequent questions were focused toward "High Quality Canned Soup".
Schmoozer, I wasn't insulting you, I was agreeing with someone else, I make soup generally, and don't buy canned. My pantry is full of processed stuff, I'm not condemnng processed anything, thats why we live in a modern world with refrigerators and microwaves and lots of canned goods. Hell I have ate my share of Top Ramen. Frankly I had nothing to add since I don't know what a good brand of canned soup is. My 2 cents was to encourage someone who I haven't read here before to give making soup a try it is easy. I certainly was not intended as an insult.Hey there, DeltaDork - whatever I said in my previous messages is applicable to you as well.
[h1]Go Ahead, Underestimate the Power of SoupWhat do you get when you taste-test 16 canned soups? A stomachache.[/h1]By Tim CarvellPosted Friday, Dec. 13, 2002, at 4:10 PM ET
With East Coasters now ankle-deep in slush, it seems safe to say that soup season has arrived. Not only is hot soup more appealing when it's 10 degrees below freezing outside; soup is also eminently stockpileable for times when you can't bear the thought of leaving the house to find supper. But if you're buying canned soup—I don't recommend stockpiling bowls of minestrone in your cupboard—be aware that what you're buying is food that's been through hell. There are plenty of differences between factory-made and homemade, but the major one is this: The food you make at home isn't reheated while being violently shaken. In order to destroy any pathogens, FDA requirements dictate that soup, once canned, be heated to 250 degrees; many manufacturers speed that process by agitating the can, thereby ensuring that the heat distributes itself more rapidly.
This requirement changes the flavor of soup, which means that it changes the way the soup itself is actually made. David Gombas, the vice president of the Center for Development of Research Policy and New Technologies at the National Food Processors Association (and a former research scientist for Campbell Soup), notes that soup companies shy away from ingredients that break down in the canning process: "When you're making a soup, you might buy young, fragile carrots. You put those in a canned soup, they won't last. They'll disintegrate. So companies grow special carrots for soups. They look like tree limbs—they're like baseball bats. But once they go through the cooking process, they come out looking like the small young ones that you'd put into your soup."
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Related on the Web
Wolfgang Puck maintains a site that offers links to all his restaurants and products. Click here for more on Progresso Soup and here for information on ShariAnn's soups. Campbell's Soups has an impressive Web site whose FAQ contains the heartbreaking question, "Can I eat Campbell's Soup right out of the can?"
Given that soup companies' chefs have to work with freakish mutant vegetables, can a canned soup exist that actually tastes as good as homemade? To find out, I undertook a bold experiment: I bought all the cans I could find of three varieties of soup (chicken noodle, tomato, vegetable beef) and cooked up a bowl of each. You may feel that this does not qualify as a bold experiment. Move along.
Chicken Noodle Soups
I evaluated each soup on its constituent ingredients: the chicken, the noodles, the broth, and the special guest stars (that is to say, any major ingredients that weren't chicken or noodles). The results, from best to worst:
Campbell's Select: Chicken With Egg Noodles ($2.99)
Campbell's Chunky: Chicken Noodle ($2.99)
Progresso Chicken Noodle ($2.69)
These three are, with minor differences, the same soup. The chicken in all three is more or less the same—small chunks of meat with a mealy, grainy texture. (The chicken in the Progresso also has an odd, smoky aftertaste; whether this has anything to do with the fact that this is the only soup that lists MSG among its ingredients, I know not.) The broth in all three is alarmingly salty; a 1-cup serving of each contains about 40 percent of your recommended daily intake of sodium—and there are two servings per can. The special guest stars in all three are carrots and celery, which, after a few soups, I came to think of as the Claude Rains and Sydney Greenstreet of chicken noodle soup: They aren't billed above the title, but they provide able support. I wouldn't call any of the soups good, but the Campbell's Select is slightly better than the other two; the carrots and noodles are a touch firmer.
Healthy Choice Chicken With Pasta ($2.39)
Since this is Healthy Choice, the amount of salt is halved. This makes the soup a tad blander, but at least it doesn't make you as thirsty as a horse. Unfortunately, while the carrots hold up nicely in the soup, the chicken is tough and the noodles are squishy, giving the soup an unappetizing mix of textures.
Wolfgang Puck's Chicken & Egg Noodles ($2.39)
The chicken bits are good—tender and identifiable as chunks of actual chicken—and the noodles are thick egg noodles that held up well in the soup. The major problem, though, is the broth: It's oddly slick, leaving a film on everything it touches (pot, bowl, spoon, inside of your mouth).
ShariAnn's Chicken Noodle Soup ($2.79)
This is not a soup. It is a crime scene. The noodles have broken down into small pieces. The chicken is macerated into tiny little shreds. The vegetables (in this case, not deserving the special-guest-star label) are tiny dots of carrot. The soup looks as if it has been pre-chewed. It has almost no taste; what taste there is is mildly salty and starchy. It is extremely unpleasant.
Health Valley 99 Percent Fat-Free Chicken Noodle Soup ($2.19)
The soup has an oddly cloudy appearance, and its broth smells and tastes strongly of garlic and onion powder. The chicken turns out to be tiny little rubbery cubes, while the rotini pasta is unnervingly squishy. The special guest stars—carrots, celery, corn, and red peppers—are all cut into such tiny pieces that they all but dissolve into the soup and have no discernible flavor. As with ShariAnn's, I couldn't eat a whole bowl of this.
Tomato soup has pretty much one main ingredient: tomatoes. So, in evaluating tomato soups, I focused on texture and taste. The results, from best to worst:
Wolfgang Puck's Country Tomato With Basil ($2.79)
The soup has a lovely texture to it—it's a smooth purée of tomatoes, with some chunks of tomato throughout to give it some variety. The ingredient list contains butter, which undercuts the acid of the tomatoes and gives the soup a (slightly) more complex flavor. With the basil, this tastes like pasta sauce—but very good pasta sauce.
Progresso Classics Hearty Tomato ($2.69)
In texture and taste, this one is extremely similar to the Wolfgang Puck brand, albeit without the butter, which means it has a slightly more tart flavor. No basil, but the ingredient list includes onion and garlic, which explain why this, too, tastes like a pretty good pasta sauce.
Campbell's Tomato Soup ($1.79)
Eh. I know Campbell's tomato soup is an icon, but the stuff's watery and bland and has an artificial tang to it. If the others are pasta sauce, this one's more like thinned-out ketchup. That's not to say it's terrible: I'm a fan of ketchup; it would easily make my top three condiments. I'm just not sure I want to have it for dinner.
Health Valley No Salt Added Organic Tomato Soup ($2.49)
As one might expect, taking the salt away from tomato soup leaves you without much flavor. But the tomato taste does come through strongly; unfortunately, so does a strange sharp, acidic aftertaste. If the first two soups are pasta sauce and Campbell's is ketchup, this is tomato juice. And not good tomato juice.
ShariAnn's Organic Tomato With Roasted Garlic Soup ($2.19)
Inedible. I spat out my first spoonful, but then—in the interests of judging every soup thoroughly—swallowed a few. (Take that, Michael Kinsley!) The tomato flavor is overwhelmed by a rancid garlic flavor. This does not remind me of any tomato-based product. It reminds me of paint. I can't figure out if ShariAnn is an inveterate practical joker or is seriously mad at me.
Vegetable Beef Soups
Of the vegetable beef soups I found, three were produced by Campbell's, whose Chunky line seems to represent an unending quest to find new ways to combine beef with liquid. As with chicken noodle, I assessed headliners vegetables and beef, broth, and special guest stars. From best to worst:
Campbell's Select Vegetable Beef ($2.69)
The little meat gobbets look unappealing—they're an odd shade of reddish brown and raggedly shaped like they've been chewed on—but they taste fine, like tiny cuts of a pot roast. The special guest stars—carrots, celery, and a new player, green beans—all hold up fine in the broth, which is, in keeping with the Campbell's method, incredibly salty.
Campbell's Chunky Beef With Country Vegetables ($2.99)
The soup slides out of the can in a solid lump, bearing a striking resemblance to high-end dog food. As it warms, the gelatinous stuff thins out a bit, but it remains thick and gluey. In case you're wondering what constitutes a "country vegetable," the answer is carrots, potatoes, celery, and peas. One eagerly awaits the day they go to visit the city vegetables. The peas' unpleasant squishiness explains why so few soups feature them in a supporting role. The beef isn't bad—disturbingly soft, but it tastes like beef. The broth has the distinctive taste of mass-produced gravy. Not quite like meat or like vegetables, it tastes … brown.
Campbell's Chunky Pepper Steak ($2.99)
The label touts the presence of "lean beef!" in this soup, which translates to it being chewier and less flavorful than in the other Chunky variety. There's more broth than in the other Chunky brand, and the substitution of green pepper for the peas lends it a bit more flavor. Instead of tasting like brown, it now tastes like brown, plus a hint of green.
Progresso Steak Grilled Steak Soup ($2.69)
The soup has the bright, off-putting smell of starting-to-rot tomatoes. Which is, as it turns out, exactly what it tastes like. The beef bits are the usual small, chewy tidbits. The vegetables are mushy, and the pasta is overcooked and squishy, but none of the other attributes of the soup really matter because the weird taste of the soup base is just too repellant.
Of all the soups I tried, the only ones I would actually eat again were two of the tomato varieties—the Wolfgang Puck and the Progresso. Some of the chicken noodles had fine elements to them, and recombined, they might make for one decent soup: The broth from the Healthy Choice, the carrots from the Campbell's Select, the noodles and chicken from the Wolfgang Puck (assuming you could wash the slimy broth off). Although really, once you're assembling a soup out of the elements of four different cans, you might as well buy a chicken and start from scratch. As for the vegetable beef, the most generous assessment I could give is that I'm certain there are less palatable foods in the supermarket. I hope never to find them.
Y'know, I'm getting sick of these condescending and self righteous comments. First of all, I asked about GOOD canned soup, not unhealthy crap. Secondly, one could ask why anyone on this forum who professes to enjoy cooking, and who may even be passionate about it, would go to a restaurant when they can cook at home, or why they might buy any prepared ingredient when it can so often be made at home with, perhaps, just a few hours work and a trip to the store or farmer's market. Do you always make your own tomato or spaghetti sauce? Have you ever used bottled ketchup when it's so easy to make your own?i agree with you 100%, when i read her question i thought the same thing. why would anyone who cooks want to buy soup in a can? they are loaded with all kings of unhealthy stuff and not very pleasing to the palate.