|From Bad and Ugly of Retro Food|
Believe it or not, I have been wanting to make California Cream Soup for almost forty years, but have never gotten around to it until now! I first discovered the recipe in my Betty Crocker Cookbook when I was a college freshman in the mid-1970s. The book even had a very attractive picture of the soup (above) served with a biscuit-like bread called Butter Dips* (I have made these before and they are very good). However, I was unable to make the recipe because back then avocados were not easy to find, and I had never eaten one before. As the years went by, avocados became commonplace, but cooking with canned soups was no longer popular, so once again I avoided making this dish.
These days the recommendation from nutritionists is to avoid too much salt and fat, which the original recipe contains in abundance. However, even though I know California Cream Soup is not the healthiest option, I finally decided that if I was ever going to try this soup it was now or never! I did use the "Healthy Request" versions of canned soups and omitted the 3/4 tsp. salt called for in the recipe. I also threw in some cooked chicken since this is supposed to be a chicken-based soup.
Finally, after all these years, I got to indulge in that 1970s-style meal pictured above. It may not be the healthiest or most interesting soup I've ever made, but it is quick and nostalgically comforting, and that is just what I needed on a chilly winter day.
California Cream Soup
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can condensed cream of celery soup
2 C. milk
2/3 C. half 'n half
pepper to taste
1 C. diced cooked chicken
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1/4 C. sliced ripe olives
1/4 C. diced pimiento
Combine the soups, milk, half 'n half, and pepper in a large pot. Heat to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining ingredients, heat through, and serve. Serves 6.
Note: For convenience, I used the entire 2 1/4-oz. can of sliced ripe olives (about 1/2 cup) and the entire 4-oz. jar of diced pimiento (about 1/3 cup) rather than the 1/4 cup of each listed in the recipe.
*As an added bonus, I am even including the recipe for Butter Dips, because I figure if I am taking a trip down memory lane I might as well go all the way!
1/4 C. butter
1 1/4 C. flour
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 C. milk
Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Melt the butter in a 9-inch square pan. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in the milk until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead lightly ten times. Roll or pat into an 8-inch square. With a floured knife, cut the dough in half, then cut each half into nine 4-inch strips.
Dip each strip of dough into the melted butter, coating all sides, and arrange the strips close together in two rows in the pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Makes 18 sticks.