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Low Fat, High Fibre - Nothing Artificial.
Water, kidney beans, spanish white beans, potato, onion, beef, tomato, capsicum, sunflower oil, garlic, salt, yeast
May contain traces of soy, gluten and tree nuts
It had been a long day with no time to stop and eat. The sort of day when I can't be bothered cooking and try to tell myself I am not hungry so why cook? That is where convenience food comes in: instant meals that fill the gap and stop you waking up in the middle of the night with the munchies. However, there are two types of convenience foods. One is the sort you buy at a drive-through that comes laden with salt and other nasties. Tasty but hardly good for you when eaten too often. Then there is the other kind - the ready meal that needs minimal preparation and is "proper food". This product fits neatly into the latter category. As a bonus, it was a very cold evening and the idea of hot soup appealed.
Preparation could not have been simpler. Pop the carton, empty the contents into a microwave dish, organise some toast or pita bread to go with it, and in under five minutes dinner was ready! This was my first time trying this product, so I was interested to see just how thick it was - almost like a stew rather than a soup. It tasted good too although I admit to adding a little pepper to jazz it up. The beef had disappeared into the liquid but the beans were well and truly in evidence, providing a satisfyingly chewy texture which meant the meat was not really missed.
I liked the fact that the soup was high protein because this is just what you need after a day spent at a gruelling pace without the chance to recoup until it was over. I also appreciated that the ingredients were all natural, something else to consider when going for an off-the-shelf ready meal. Many soups on sale are packed with preservatives and other artificial additives so it is reassuring to find one that consists of meat, pulses and other vegetables with the only extras being salt and yeast.
After finishing the soup and the accompanying pita bread, I felt I had eaten a good sized meal. I had expected, given the relatively small size of the packet, that I would probably need something else afterwards, but that was not the case. I was more than satisfied with the amount I had eaten and had no desire for anything else. I cannot wait to try the other flavours in the range to see how they compare.
Sometimes it's handy to remember that ingredients are listed on products by the quantities. They don't necessarily have to say how much is in the product, but if it says "water, mixed beans, potato, onion, beef", then you know you have more water than you have mixed beans, and less beef than you have onion. Looking at those rankings of proportions, it would give you a fair indication of the flavour profile to expect.
Interestingly, the Chick and Supergrains variety contained only 2.7% chicken, and yet the chicken was such a strong part of the flavour. In the Peppered Beef and Superbeans variety however, beef is almost double that amount at 5%, and yet it has much less presence in the meal. Granted the pepper flavour is definitely dominant, but the actual beef flavour and texture and difficult to discern, beyond recognising the aftertaste.
This brand of soup is very easy to open. No tools required, just your fingers to flip, squeeze and tear the perforated seam at the top. Quick and easy. Compared to the Chicken variety, the peppered beef is much thicker and chunkier, with a lot less fluid. Where with the chicken I could simply pour it out and try not to splash it, the peppered beef can be shaken, and almost has the consistency of a tin of Wattie's baked beans or chilli beans.
Pouring into a microwave safe bowl, I heated it for just over two minutes, before consumption. Taking my first bite, the beans were definitely a large part of the flavour. The spanish white beans and kidney beans were definitely the main ingredients, and contribute a lot to the overall flavour. The potatoes (cubed) are also present in large quantities, but don't have much of an effect on the flavour. They seem to be there mostly to thicken up the soup, and fill the hole in your stomach. The large proportion of beans gives this soup the consistency and flavour of a mild beef chilli, with much less noticeable beef flavour.
The pepper from the beef does remain present in the meal throughout every bite, adding warmth and a fullness of flavour, but it does feel like it doesn't blend altogether too well. The pepper stands out on top of all other flavours as something separate, not really complementing the other ingredients at all.
It was certainly not bad, and I was definitely feeling full afterwards, so great value for the price realistically. But it was a flavour that didn't fit together well enough for me. So not something I would likely have a second time.
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