| The Budget Bon Vivant

Fall is here, and that means that I, and most of my friends, are sick. As an antidote, I prescribe soup. Nothing warms your innards and makes you feel better than a warm bowl of delicious, rich soup. These are two of my favourite soup recipes.

French (Canadian) Onion Soup:
This is a classic. Just a warning, though: this is a slow-food recipe, and depending on how much you make, it may take awhile (45 minutes or longer).

Ingredients: A stick of butter, 5 medium-sized yellow onions (you can get sacks of onions for cheap from Segal’s at Duluth and St. Laurent), sugar, beef (veggie) stock, salt and pepper, a bottle of Québec-brewed wheat beer (e.g. Maudite, Cheval Blanc, Fin du Monde, and there are many more), that rock-hard, crusty baguette that has inevitably been sitting on your counter for a week (cut into medium-large cubes), and cheddar cheese for the top.

Method: Put on your favourite French Canadian music, open your beer and take a long swig, and warm your largest, thick-bottomed pot over medium low heat. Melt about half of the butter. In the meantime, chop all of your onions – brace yourself, it’ll bring tears to your eyes – but not too finely. Sauté the onions until they are golden brown and carmelized (they will be roughly the colour of carmel). Reduce heat and simmer ten minutes, add 4 cups of beef (veggie) stock and one cup of water. Add about half a cup of your beer – but don’t add too much or it will make the soup taste skunky. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Add cubes of your baguette, and serve piping hot. When I’m cooking for a lot of people, I double the recipe. Enjoy!
Cantonese Corn Soup:
This recipe is super cheap and delicious. The sweet corn and the ginger are wonderful together. You can make this with chicken, but we usually make it vegetarian.

Ingredients: 400 g canned cream corn, 6 cups stock (chicken, preferably, or veggie), salt to taste, 2.5 tablespoons corn starch, a hefty amount of ginger, 2 egg whites (lightly beaten), 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 250 g skinless chicken breast, minced.

Method: There are two ways to make this recipe. The first is to sauté the chicken (if you’re using it) until it’s no longer pink in the middle, then add all the ingredients in a crock pot, set to medium or low (depending on how long you want to wait), and leave it in the pot long enough for the eggs to be cooked completely. The second way is the same, only without a crock pot. Sauté the chicken in a little bit of oil until cooked, add everything else, and simmer uncovered on low to medium-low heat for about 20 minutes or until the desired thickness is reached.