When we were planning our trip to Iceland, I knew that in order to save money, we will need to cook our own meals. I thought that I would be able to whip up some tasty camping dishes like those one-pot rice or one-pot pasta with a big bowl of salad or maybe even cooking some steaks or pork chops and enjoying them with a luscious mushroom sauce. But after our first miserable attempt trying to pan-fry chicken breasts and cook a canned soup in the dark and in the cold with only one stove, all those fancy camping dishes got tossed out of my mind.
Since we cook only dinner, the best thing to eat would be a soupy dish to warm ourselves up. So I started making macaroni soup - which was essentially a dump-everything-together-in-one-pot recipe. It's easy to make and sometimes I even make it in our campervan when there are no kitchen facilities available at where we camped or I'm too lazy and too cold to carry all the equipment and walk to the kitchen.
I made a few versions during our trip - clear soup version, tomato purée version and canned soup version - and the one that I'm sharing today is the clear soup version. And here is a breakdown of the different components!
I used vegetable stock cubes during the trip but since I have full access to my kitchen now, I'm using my homemade pork-chicken broth, made by simmering pork trotter, chicken carcasses and some vegetables together (will be sharing this in another post... hopefully soon!) Vegetable stock can also be used and if you omit the meat, it will become a vegetarian dish!
The type of vegetables you can add in is really up to you. During the trip, I used only carrots and baby spinach. The baby spinach are added at the very end as they cook so easily. Here, I'm adding potatoes and cabbage for more flavour and since I cannot find baby spinach here, I simply left it out.
Chicken breast/fillet or sausage (or even ham!) will work for this soup as they cook easily. I'm using pork here as they are from the pork trotter that has been simmering in the broth for 6 hours, so it has kind of a pulled-pork texture. You can even use minced meat or meatballs if you like.
In Iceland, we got this 1-kilogram bag of tiny macaroni which cook in about 5 minutes, shortening the overall cooking time. The starch released also thicken the soup slightly. If you don't like the starchiness or don't have tiny pasta on hand, cook the pasta separately. I'm using tiny spaghetti here as that's what I have on hand.
Overall this is a nutritious and highly comforting meal, perfect for the upcoming cold weather (sorry if you are in the lower hemisphere). I also love how it's one-pot which makes clean-up so much easier and I can foresee this dish appearing very often on the dining table! Here are the step-by-step photos and the recipe!
|1) Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add in onion and carrot and sauté until onion has softened.||2) Add in stock, cover and bring to a boil.|
|3) Add in potato, cabbage and meat. Cover and bring to a boil.||4) Reduce the heat down to low and simmer for 15 minutes.|
|5) Add in the pasta and cook for another 5 minutes (more or less depending on the type of pasta used) until pasta is cooked.|
- ½ tablespoon oil
- ¼ onion, peeled and finely diced
- ½ carrot, peeled and diced into 1-cm cubes
- 4 cups pork / chicken / vegetable stock (1 litre)
- 1 medium potato, peeled and diced into 2-cm cubes
- 2 cups roughly chopped cabbage
- 2 cups diced cooked chicken / diced sausage
- 120 to 150 grams quick-cooking / tiny pasta
- Salt and black/white pepper to taste
- Finely chopped spring onion, for garnish
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add in onion and carrot and sauté until onion has softened, about 2 minutes.
- Add in stock, cover and bring to a boil.
- Add in potato, cabbage and meat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat down to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
If you don't plan to serve the soup yet, you can stop here (i.e. turn off the heat). Just before serving, reheat the soup until boiling then follow the next 2 steps.
- Add in the pasta and cook for another 5 minutes (more or less depending on the type of pasta used) until pasta is cooked.
- Season with salt and pepper, garnish with chopped spring onion and serve immediately.
- You can use cooked or uncooked chicken. For uncooked meat and sausage, you may sauté it with the onion and carrots first before adding the stock to give it more flavour.
- Minced meat can also be used. You can either sauté them with the onion or season them with salt and pepper and drop spoonfuls into the boiling stock to form meatballs.
- Use tiny or quick-cooking pasta so that it will not absorb too much stock or make the stock too starchy. If you want to use regular pasta like macaroni, you may want to cook them separately in another pot of water until al dente, place them in serving bowls then scoop the soup over them.
- If you are making this a camping meal, you can omit the oil, dump all the ingredients except pasta into boiling stock (use a stock cube for convenience). Cook until the vegetables are soft then add in the pasta to cook before serving. It will also be easier to cut the vegetables even smaller to shorten the cooking time.