Monday, December 5, 2011

3 Soups To Reduce Blood Pressure

By Owen Jones

These days lots of individuals in their Forties and Fifties are being told that they have high blood pressure and that unless they make major lifestyle changes soon, then they will have to take blood pressure tablets for the remainder of their lives. The fact is, that once your body gets used to these tablets it is extremely difficult to get off them.

Therefore, if you have been given this warning, take it seriously. The doctor's advice can take different forms, but it usually encompasses: lose weight; stop smoking and drinking; take more exercise and eat less salt.

In the spirit of this latter bit of advice, I have put three low sodium soup recipes from three different countries in this piece. I hope you like them.

Recipe One: Germany

Two Bean Soup (Zwei Bohnensuppe) (Serves Four)

1 1/4 cups white beans, dry 1 cup cut green beans 1 green onion, diced 1 potato, peeled & diced 2 tbls unbleached flour

Garnish =================== 4 oz ham, cubed 1/4 cup celery,diced 1 onion, yellow, diced 1 tbls unsalted butter (optional) 3/4 cup beef broth, unsalted 1/4 tsp pepper 1 parsley, sprig

The beans can be either fresh or frozen, but do not use canned. Boil the beans until softish; add the potato and continue to boil. Add the flour to thicken when the potato is cooked. Stir well. Serve in bowls and then sprinkle the garnish. Crispy bread is a great accompaniment.

Recipe Two: Ireland

Sorrel Soup (Serves Eight)

1 lb Sorrel 3 oz unsalted butter (or margarine) 1 substantial onion, chopped 2 tbsp flour (heaped) 2 1/2 l stock 2 tbsp breadcrumbs 1 pepper 2 egg yolks 150 ml cream

Wash the sorrel well and chop it up. Heat the butter or margarine in a saucepan and only soften the sorrel and onion in it. Shake the flour on to the vegetables and mix well. Let it cook for about 1 minute. In the meantime bring the stock to the boil, then add to the pan. Add the breadcrumbs, add pepper to taste, and bring to the boil, then simmer for about 1 hour covered. (It can get liquidized at this stage, if liked). Whisk the egg yolks with the cream then add a little of the hot soup to the mixture, stirring well; then add slowly to the soup pot, mixing well on the heat, being careful not to let it boil.

Recipe Three: Russia

Borsch (Serves eight)

1 cup navy beans, dry 2 1/2 lb beef, lean 1/2 lb slab bacon 10 cups cold water 1 bay leaf 8 whole peppercorns 2 cloves garlic 2 tblsp parsley, dried 1 carrot 1 celery stalk 1 red onion, big, chopped 1 tsp salt (optional) 8 beetroots for soup 2 beetroots, small 2 cups green cabbage, shredded 2 leeks, large, sliced 3 potatoes, cut into eighths 1 tin (1 lb 13 oz) tomatoes 1 tbspn tomato paste 3 tbspn red wine vinegar 1 lb kielbasa (optional) 2 tbspn flour 1 tbspn butter, melted 1/2 cup sour cream (optional)

Cover beans with water and allow to soak overnight; cook until tender; drain; set aside. Place beef, bacon and water in large soup pot; bring to the boil. Skim fat from surface. Add bay leaf, peppercorns, garlic, parsley, carrot, celery, onion. Cover and simmer over a low heat for around 1 1/2 hours.

Scrub beetroots for soup and cook in boiling water until tender, around 45 minutes; drain and dispose of water; cool. Peel and cut every beetroot into eighths. Scrub small beetroots; grate; cover with water to soak.

Remove meat from soup; lay aside. Strain soup into another pot and add cooked beetroot, cabbage, leeks, potatoes, tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, beef and bacon.

Return to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Cut kielbasa into pieces and add with navy beans to soup. Simmer 20 minutes longer. Blend flour and butter together to make a paste. Stir into soup to thicken slightly. Strain raw beets, saving liquid yet discarding beetroots. Add beetroot liquid to soup.

Additional sugar or vinegar may be added for a sweeter or sourer flavour. Slice meat and arrange in individual soup bowls. Pour hot soup with vegetables over meat. Garnish each serving with a spoonful of sour cream, if desired.

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