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Low Fat, High Fibre - Nothing Artificial
Water, Spanish white beans, yellow split peas, lentils, tomato, onions, pumpkin, carrots, chicken, salt, leek, celery, brown rice, sunflower oil, pea flour, garlic, salt, herbs, spices
May contain traces of soy, gluten and tree nuts
This is the third soup I have tried in this range. I saved this one till last because I was going to be visiting a friend and this variety sounded the most like the soups she makes for herself. We planned to have it for lunch with bread rolls; having seen just how much product was packed into the containers of the other two varieties, I knew that it would be more than enough.
I was interested to find that my friend was not particularly keen on the flavour after all. I was really enjoying my share; it actually tasted to me a lot like the soup she makes, but she was upset that she could not find any chicken! She did admit that it was possible that the chicken was so finely shredded that it had disappeared among the more prominent vegetable pieces. But even then she did not think it had a particularly strong chicken flavour.
We looked at the details on the package and were interested to see that the chicken content is 12.7%. At least we thought that was what it said - the print is so small that we could not be sure, even with the aid of a magnifying glass! Both of us thought it would actually be more sensible to call the soup a vegetable soup and leave out the reference to chicken altogether as the vegetables are definitely there in quantity, and are filling because there is a good amount of various pulses. A few more herbs and a little more spice and you could dispense with the meat completely.
However, while my friend was not especially impressed, I really liked it. I thought it was a good solid meal for a winter lunch, and if it was a single serving rather than a shared dish it would be ample for a dinner for one person. Lentils are good winter fillers: they are high in protein as well as being satisfying, and no matter long they are cooked they seem to retain that pleasant chewy texture that is very rewarding in a vegetarian dish.
We have decided to try the soup again, but this time we are going to add some shredded chicken pieces and a dash of cream. Both of us felt that, for this to become an authentic chicken dish, it might need a little livening up and these two ingredients are in keeping with what is already listed. My friend thought this would restore the balance for her. At the same time, at $2 each for lunch it is very reasonably priced so personally I am hard put to complain at all!
Today is a wet miserable day and I have just started a new job so I need comfort food and if I don't get something satisfying I will be eating everything in the house that is bad for me. I remember that in the party I have Souper :Chicken and Supergrains. This sounds like what I need, hot, healthy and fast.
When I was first given the carton to review I thought I would be a soup concentrate that I would add water or milk to and serve as a family meal which isn't ideal for me as I am the only soup eater in my household. Rather this is a single serve ready to heat and eat product. I followed the opening instructions on the carton. These were simple enough and poured the soup into a standard bowl from my dinner set. The soup filled the bowl to a level that I wouldn't have wanted any more in it in case the soup boiled over or spilled. I was pleased to see it was I nice thick soup with lots of grains in it.
As instructed on the carton I cooked it for 2 minutes in the microwave and left it to rest for a minute. I used a heat sensitive spoon to eat it with and it did change colour, indicating that the soup was too hot for a young child but I felt it was just the right temperature for me. I loved the taste. It was a mild flavour and certainly not salty like many ready made soups are. I found the meal was complete in itself and was satisfying. It could have fed two adults if served with bread. I am now keen to try some of the other varieties of Souper.
Looking at the packaging, I can't help but wonder if it will fill me up. The packaging looks tiny, but reading the packet, it weighs 390 grams. That is actually more than other heat and brands that I have reviewed. This product just has more efficient packaging, with less wasted space. So I definitely like that. And the fact that it can be opened without scissors is definite bonus. But there are other things that I don't like about the packaging. Being a tetra pak, some of these are recyclable. But opening it up, it looks like these packs have a form of foil lining, which makes me think that it isn't recyclable after all. Looking at the base of it, I don't see any recycling symbols.
Ignoring recyclability, the pack is very easy to open, with very good directions...if you can find them. Granted the opening directions are pretty visible, but the ingredients lists, nutritional information, and cooking directions are a little bit more annoying as the packet has the information in english, french, dutch, and german (strangely, the product is from italy, but no italian translations on the box). So overall the box becomes very cluttered. A lot of information, in many forms which will help it sell in many places without having to invest in different packaging, but it does make it a pain to read.
But that's enough about the superficial aspects like the packaging. Let's talk about the heating aspect. The product has very simple directions; pour into a proper bowl, and heat for 2 minutes. Simple. Interestingly the instructions specifically mention that the package is not microwaveable, which lends more evidence to a foil lining in the tetra pak. But put it into a proper container and heat until "piping hot". Can't screw that up.
Pouring into a bowl, it's easy to see there are a lot of different textures and ingredients. It was quite surprising to be honest. I was expecting to find something that had been blended into a fine mush where you wouldn't be able to identify anything. But you can quite clearly make out the different ingredients. The different ingredients do create a great range of textures, which is exciting to eat, and the chicken was delicious. I originally thought it might have been a little bit bland, with all of the white beans, split peas, and lentils, but the chicken pieces add that intense hit of flavour and fibrous texture that really makes this soup "souper". I'd love it to have more meat, but that's just the carnivore in me being greedy. You can see in the photo, that there are a good number of dark looking meat pieces in there.
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