Cream of Chicken Soup Recipe

Dear Home Ec 101:

After several trips to the doctor for migraine headaches we’ve pinpointed one of my triggers. It’s MSG and boy is it in a lot of foods. What is MSG anyhow? I love casseroles and cream based soups, but I have been reading the ingredients and they are off limits. Is there a substitution? Popping a can just is not worth the headache.

Just sign me,

A new label lookie-loo

Heather says:

Finding there is a dietary source to your misery can be both freeing and disheartening. Congratulations on going to the doctor and kudos to your doctor for helping you find the cause.

MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a “flavor enhancer,” it makes food taste better by stimulating the tastebuds. It is an inexpensive additive used to make foods seem more flavorful without any additional effort or special techniques. It is not specifically the use of MSG that I’m against. You can read what actually gets me riled up about MSG in processed foods in this article: Food Labels, Controversy, and MSG.

I often recommend Better Than Bouillon Organic for wherever bouillon cubes or bases are called. They do not contain added MSG. This does not mean they are free of glutamic acid, which is present in a wide variety of foods. I have used this with much success. Consult a nutritionist if you are unsure.

Making your own cream of chicken (or any other condensed cream soup) is very similar to making gravy.

How to Make Cream of Chicken

This recipe makes approximate 3/4 cup or what would be half a can in recipes, double if needed.

Condensed Cream of Chicken

  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 3 TBSP all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup low or nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • salt/pepper to taste

First measure the ingredients and be sure to have the flour and liquid readily accessible as you will be adding them alternately.

In a sauce pan melt the butter over medium low heat and slowly add flour, stirring constantly until a roux has formed. Slowly alternate adding the liquid, a small splash at a time with a sprinkling of flour.

Stir constantly, the mixture should look like the picture before the next addition.

Once all the flour is in the roux, slowly add the liquid a little at a time.
Increase the heat to medium and bring to a simmer, add the salt and pepper, and stir until the mixture thickens.  Remove from the heat and use as you would canned condensed cream of chicken soup.

Now you can have your favorite casseroles and cream soups without the headache.

Enjoy!

(Photo Credit Wikipedia)



6 Comments

  1. April on April 8, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Orrington Farms Broth Base & Seasoning says “no MSG added except for that naturally occurring in yeast extract”. Whatever that means!

  2. Teresa on September 26, 2007 at 6:46 am

    Depending on your level of sensitivity, you might also want to watch out for autolyzed yeast, yeast extracts, and glutamic acid. For a long time we couldn’t use any of those either, but DD has outgrown some of that now.

    To K: They slipped it back in because good ingredients are expensive and chemicals to make cheap ingredients taste better are cheap.

  3. K on September 25, 2007 at 11:07 pm

    Not too long ago a lot of companies were taking the msg OUT of their products because of so many people having problems with it. I don’t have a problem with it to my knowledge but tried to avoid it anyway. Then all of a sudden the companies slipped it back in. What is up with that?!
    🙁

  4. Margo on September 25, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    To add to Heather’s soup substitute, I’ve seen this in one of my cookbooks (Simply in Season). I haven’t actually used it because I don’t use condensed soups often, but it sounds like a real convenience.

    Mix and store in fridge:
    2 c. dry milk powder
    3/4 c. cornstarch
    1/4 c. chicken or beef bouillon granules (NO MSG, obviously!)
    1 tsp. dried basil
    1/2 tsp. pepper
    2 tsp. dried minced onion (optional)

    To use, combine 1/3 c. mix with 1 and 1/4 c. cold water in small saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until thick. Substitute for 10 ounce can of condensed cream soup.

  5. Heather on September 25, 2007 at 8:14 am

    Food sensitivities certainly turn you into a label reader. My son has a problem with red dye #40, fun.

    That’s a great tip about the soup, thank you.

  6. Teresa on September 25, 2007 at 6:52 am

    My kid is sensitive to MSG–makes her hyper and mean. I don’t do a lot of casseroles, but find that Campbell’s Healthy Request cream of mushroom doesn’t affect her. It doesn’t have MSG in it, which is how they lowered the sodium content.

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