Chicken soup for the low-sodium soul

recipe revamp chicken soup

As a continuous care retirement community, The Garlands of Barrington in Illinois provides daily foodservice to 270 independent living and skilled nursing care residents, with the majority of sodium restrictions coming from the latter, says Executive Chef Nicola Torres. Instead of cooking two versions of chicken noodle soup—a favorite offered at least twice a week—he reworked his recipe into a flavorful lower-sodium version that appeals to all. “Everybody eats soup, so I created a homemade stock that uses no salt at all, ramping up the flavor with fresh herbs and plenty of vegetables, which I saute in chicken fat,” says Torres. 

chicken soup diagram

  1. Along with the typical onions, celery and carrots, Torres pumps up the soup’s flavor by adding root vegetables and other fresh produce to the mix. Parsnips and celery root are year-round staples, and seasonal veggies such as scallions and zucchini are added when available. Ditalini stands in for egg noodles.
  2. Torres makes his own salt-free stock with plump stewing hens that yield a lot of fat as they simmer. “I used to sweat the vegetables in oil, but now I save the chicken fat and use that to add more flavor,” he says. He also tosses in fresh marjoram, thyme and Italian parsley, which grow all summer in The Garlands’ on-site herb garden. When winter rolls around, he specs the same fresh herbs from his distributor.
  3. To make up for the lack of salt, Torres stirs in a low-sodium chicken broth base and ground white pepper at the end of cooking time. For service, the kitchen pulls cooked chicken meat from the stewing hens; some is added to the soup and the remainder is cross-utilized in salads and other items. “To keep the soup light, both the chicken and ditalini pasta are more like garnishes,” says Torres.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Foodservice operators and other employers in New York City are adjusting to a new law that enforces paid time off for staff who have been the victims of certain crimes.

Called paid safe leave, the benefit is believed to be among the first of its kind in the nation. A more limited version has been in effect in Minneapolis since last summer.

The New York law applies to employees who have been the victims of actual or threatened domestic violence, unwanted sexual contact, stalking or human trafficking.

Workers can also opt for safe paid leave if a member of their...

Industry News & Opinion

A Massachusetts bill to end lunch shaming has been stalled in the House, reports South Coast Today.

The House chair of the Education Committee voted on Tuesday for further study of the bill, which would prevent schools from throwing away hot lunches and/or serving an alternative meal to students behind on lunch payments. Under the bill, schools would also be unable to bar students with unpaid balances from participating in extracurricular activities.

Additionally, the bill asks schools to take action in reducing families’ meal debt by helping families apply for free or...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of California, Santa Cruz is converting its Cowell Coffee Shop into a “multi-service basic needs cafe” to aid students facing food insecurity .

The new cafe is being created through a partnership with dining services, the school’s center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems and UCSC’s Cowell College. Due to open at the start of the fall semester, the lower part of the cafe will continue to be a study space for students (with free coffee and tea) and will also host nutrition and financial wellness programming.

Upstairs, the kitchen will be used as a...

Managing Your Business
quitting job

What prompts foodservice managers to clean out their offices and head out with a last paycheck? A new survey suggests the triggers may be changing with the times.

The canvass of 2,000 restaurant professionals, conducted by placement firm Gecko Hospitality, shows lifestyle issues abounding among the top 10 reasons for parting with a restaurant employer last year.

Here are the gender-specific lists:

Top 10 reasons female managers leave

1. Better opportunity

2. Unemployed

3. Relocation

4. Not satisfied

5. No growth

6. Long...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code