Flashback to 1997/1998 . . . my dorm buddies at the University of Minnesota and I had a thing for Campbell's "Chicken and Stars" soup . . . so much so, that I think one friend had at least ten cans stashed in her dorm room at one point! (No such thing as a "Chicken and Stars" emergency for us!) I remember slurping that soup fondly, late at night, maybe while studying, maybe while just staying up WAY too late, given I usually had a 9 AM class! :) Ah, college. Remember when?
Fast-forward to 2010 . . . I no longer eat chicken at all, and truthfully, I can't remember the last time I've had canned soup. (We do buy the boxed soups occasionally in a pinch, but canned soup is a whole 'nother species, if you ask me! Why? Don't know.) BUT, during Liz's and my "Blogger Ethnic Market Tour" a few weeks ago, I picked up a package of star-shaped pasta at El Burrito Mercado, and I've had Chicken and Stars on the brain ever since!
Tonight was the night! I didn't really use a recipe for this one, just threw a few things in the pot, and made some soup!
1. Sweat 1 cup finely chopped onion, 1 cup finely diced celery, 1 cup finely diced carrot, a few cloves garlic, minced, about 1 tsp salt, and pepper to taste, in about a tablespoon of olive oil.
2. Add 2 quarts of good-quality vegetable broth; bring to a boil.
(I used a combination of some homemade broth, a quart of low-sodium organic broth, and water, simmered with a billion cloves of garlic, some extra thyme, and a little paprika.)
3. When the soup comes to a boil, add 1 package (7 ounces) small soup pasta,
4. and 1 cup finely diced seitan.
5. Simmer the soup for 15 minutes, covered, stirring at least every 5 minutes, (you don't want your starts to stick to the bottom of the pot!), or until the pasta is done. Finish with a tablespoon or two of lemon juice, and a few tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley!
While my "Chicken" and Stars is much different than how I remember it, that's probably a good thing! :) Next time, I'll probably use more garlic and less lemon juice, (I actually used the juice from a whole lemon -- I adjusted the directions in this post accordingly!), but this first stab at recreating my "classic" hit the spot tonight!
What weird food were you into as a teenager/young adult? In addition to Chicken and Stars, I confess to eating so much "Easy Mac" that, to this day, I can't look at a box of it without gagging, and also totally OD-ed on Nutrigrain bars. Never really got into ramen, though! Weird.