Q: My health club serve a terrific tomato mushroom soup. Supposedly it has only 65 calories. Wonder if you could get the recipe out of them, I couldn't!! It's Midtown Athletic Club in Bannockburn.
—Susie Sigel, Highland Park
A: I couldn't get the recipe — "proprietary" information, apparently. You are left with two choices: Accept this and move on, enjoying the soup whenever you are at the club; or try to re-create the recipe at home. Guess which option I'd go for?
If you do decide to do the soup yourself, understand that there will likely be a fair amount of sleuthing involved and a number of pots dirtied before you land on the "right" version. Just be patient and take notes on your progress.
There are a lot of soup recipes out there on the Web. Try to narrow the field a bit. At 65 calories a serving, this is not a cream-based soup. And in a follow-up email from you offered some clues: "Bits of sun-dried tomatoes, dried mushrooms, yogurt (I think)."
I ran those three ingredients and the word "soup" through a Google search to see if I could find a recipe you could build on that would be similar to what the club makes. It was surprisingly hard going, so I scaled back to searching just for "tomato mushroom soup."
This recipe, from the website of Taste of Home magazine (tasteofhome.com), looks like a good place to start. Created by Bonnie Hawkins of Elkhorn, Wis., the recipe was originally published in Taste of Home's "Bountiful Harvest Cookbook." A 1-cup serving has 111 calories.
I'd substitute thick Greek-style yogurt for the sour cream and, perhaps, try another stock base like chicken or vegetable. And you might want to replace the whole tomatoes with sun-dried tomatoes, ditto dried mushrooms for fresh.
Let me know how it goes. Perhaps someone reading this will have other ideas you can use in re-creating the club's tomato mushroom soup recipe. I'll pass on any tips I get. Who knows? You may come up with a soup you like even better.
Tomato mushroom soup
A recipe from Bonnie Hawkins of Elkhorn, Wis., as published on tasteofhome.com. Makes about 12 servings.
1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
6 tablespoons butter, divided
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 medium carrots, chopped
3 celery ribs, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
8 cups beef broth
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Sour cream, optional
1.Saute mushrooms in 4 tablespoons butter until tender in a large kettle or Dutch oven.. Remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon; set aside and keep warm.
2.In the same kettle, saute the onions, garlic, carrots and celery in the remaining butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Add the broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, pepper and half of the reserved mushrooms. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
3.Stir in the parsley and remaining mushrooms; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with sour cream if desired.
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