Crowd pleasers

Flavorful Campbell’s® soups are versatile performers in the high-volume world of healthcare foodservice

From Campbell’s Foodservice.

In healthcare foodservice, where the pace of business is brisk and the expectations for good, wholesome food are high, Campbell’s® 50 oz. soups give the chef a big advantage.

“First off, they have a flavor that everyone agrees with,” says Linda Wenman, executive chef of Via Christi Hospitals in Wichita, Kan., who feeds 800 patients and a similar number of retail customers in three hospitals each day. “And because they are high-quality, premade products they are easy to work with. There is so much you can do with them.”

Indeed, Campbell’s soups are big hits at the hospital both in the bowl and as ingredients that make entrees more appealing. For example, Wenman relies on Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom to add creamy goodness to popular dishes like Chicken Divan, a casserole of chicken, broccoli and cheese, and the traditional Green Bean Casserole.

Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, like Campbell’s Tomato, Cream of Potato, Cream of Chicken and many others in the company’s portfolio, has the great taste and versatility to contribute to a wide variety of on-trend main courses, appetizers, sauces and dips, using ingredients already in the kitchen, all while helping to reduce labor. For operators in search of healthier options for their patrons, Campbell’s Healthy Request® 50 oz. soups come in many delicious flavors, are heart-healthy and certified by the American Heart Association and bear their Heart-Check mark.

What’s more, as a convenient, time saving ingredient, Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup boosts the flavor and texture of Via Christi’s own signature Chicken Noodle soup, a popular weekly offering in the retail area. “People come in especially to have it,” says Wanda Reinking, director of nutrition services.

The soup features hearty chunks of chicken and vegetables, an abundance of noodles and a velvety consistency from the Cream of Chicken. “It makes the soup a lot creamier than it would be if it was thickened with a roux,” notes Wenman.

In addition, Campbell’s Low Sodium Tomato soup is integral to the tasty chili that Via Christi serves to 500 school children at two Catholic schools in the area. Wenman substitutes it for tomato puree in the chili not only because it helps meet the lower sodium regulations that are now in effect, it also tastes great. “The kids really enjoy the flavor,” Wenman says.

Also a believer in the advantages of 50 oz. Campbell’s soups is Michael Bay, executive chef of Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Mo.

“We feed about 12,000 people per day here,” says Bay, including a lunch rush of 3,000 patrons who are served in just an hour and three quarters. “I have five cafeterias and four of them are off site, so we produce a lot of food and we go through a lot of Campbell’s soup.”

Mercy’s crowd-pleasing favorites range from homey fare like Tuna Noodle Casserole to zesty ethnic dishes like Mexican Lasagna and Chicken Piccata. Each is more flavorful and easier to make thanks to Campbell’s soups.

For example, Tuna Noodle Casserole starts with a base of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Celery and skim milk. Egg noodles and tuna follow. The mixture is panned up, topped with low-fat cheese and browned in the oven. At service, fresh parsley and cracked pepper are the finishing touches.

“We try to garnish it as nicely as we can,” says Bay. “When you do the volume we do, it goes very quickly.”

Bay’s Mexican Lasagna is a casserole with layers of tortillas, lime-marinated chicken, black bean salsa, ricotta and cheddar cheese and enchilada sauce. The latter is made with Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup, tomato sauce, Swanson® Beef Broth, cumin, chili powder, garlic and onion. “This is one that always goes over really well,” says Bay, who was a hotel chef for 13 years prior to joining the hospital a decade ago.

His Chicken Piccata sauce is a simple but savory mixture of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken, lemon juice, capers and skim milk. Also a snap to make is his Mediterranean Tomato Sauce, which combines Campbell’s Tomato soup, roasted red peppers and diced olives.

Entrees made with Campbell’s soups also figure prominently in catering. Events range from deluxe plated dinners to buffets for more than 4,000 guests. Given that volume, it would take vastly more labor to make a dish like Mexican Lasagna entirely from scratch. “If we can use a high-quality product like Campbell’s soups and cut down on labor, that is definitely the direction we go,” says Bay.

Moreover, using Campbell’s soups helps keep prices affordable. “Our food is priced under market level, but we still have to cover our food cost, of course,” says Bay. “Campbell’s products work for the price range we charge, which is half of what you would charge in the hotel industry.”

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