Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mmmm! Library Soup!

We made some delicious chicken soup at the library! Who says too many cooks spoil the soup? We had 15 chefs helping with ingredients and stirring and eating because our soup was so good!

How did we make soup with 15 kids? The children sat in chairs in a semi-circle around the cooking area. They each got to choose a letter that corresponded with the first letter in the name of one of the ingredients. (That bright green sign is the ingredients list). All of the ingredients sat on a book truck. When it came time for an item, I would say (for example) "I need some oil!" and Laurel would say "Does anyone have an O?" The children checked their letters and raised their hands if they had the letter. Hmm... it's sort of like Soup Bingo! I wonder what you could spell out with the letters? We definitely need more vowels!

Here's the basic recipe:

1-2 T oil
1/2 cup of onion, diced (we used frozen, pre-chopped)
1 cup of potatoes, diced (we diced them fresh in the morning. You can sometimes find this frozen)
1/2 cup of carrots (we used bagged, pre-shredded from the produce aisle)
1 cup of diced chicken (we used frozen pre-grilled strips)
1 cup of peas (frozen)
1 cup of corn (frozen)
1 bay leaf
2 boxes of chicken broth

As for the method, all you really have to do is sautee the raw onion, potatoes, and carrots in the oil. After that, it's a matter of adding the other ingredients and simmering until the potatoes get cooked through. The longer you sautee them and the smaller you dice them, the faster it will go for you. We started this around 11am and ate around 12noon. So, after you get things going you can tell or read a couple of stories.

After the stories, we did something similar with setting the table. The children sat in the semi circle again, chose letters again, and set the table. T was for tablecloth, S was for spoon, etc.

Tips for doing this in your library or daycare:

1) We used an electric skillet. That makes it easy to put it on a cooking surface of your choice and the children can see it easily.

2) When it comes to ingredients, there are lots of pre-prepped items to be found in the freezer section. For example, the onions. No dicing! No crying! We also used pre-grilled chicken strips for the meat.

3) Before you put in any of the vegetables to sautee, have the children return to their seats. The moisture in the vegetables may cause the oil to spatter.

4) After sauteeing the onions, I turned down the heat to reduce the oil from spattering out. Then the children could come up by twos or threes to have a look.

5) adding the salt to the onions, potatoes, and carrots helps draw out the moisture early on in the sauteeing process.

6) If you need or want more ingredients, you could consider canned cannelini beans, green beans, canned diced tomatoes, cooked rice, cooked noodles, just about anything.

7) If you need or want a vegetarian soup, you can use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and leave out the chicken strips.

No matter what, they'll love it!


Anonymous said...

This sounds like SO MUCH FUN! (And delicious!)

Miss Constance said...

No joke, it really was good! Involving the children made cooking fun and some of the parents commented that their children were eating some vegetables that they wouldn't normally enjoy.