Aside from the obvious usage, dry soup mixes provide a brilliant base for a whole host of dishes, allowing creative chefs to save time, whilst still putting their mark on a meal. Country Range Tomato Soup Mix is a perfect example and can be utilised in so many different ways, as Michael Gillies, lecturer in catering at South Eastern Regional College, demonstrates.
1. Malaysian style chicken
Mix the soup mix with oyster sauce, soy, garlic, ginger, sugar and chilli. Marinade overnight and roast as normal.
2. Mussels with tomato and chilli
Using the soup mix as a sauce base, make a tomato and chilli sauce, steam the mussels in white wine then add the sauce and serve with chopped fresh coriander.
3. Scallops with brassicas and carrots
This is a more ‘restaurant’ dish and we used the tomato base mix as a dressing. This time the coral from the scallop was dehydrated and blitzed. It was then added to the tomato base along with other aromats and thickened using agar agar. Pan-fry the scallops and serve with cauliflower, broccoli, carrot textures and the tomato and coral dressing.
4. Macaroni with tomato and basil
Again, the soup mix is used as a sauce base and made a beautiful tomato and basil sauce. We used Country Range Macaroni and breadcrumbs for the dish and simply gratinated it under a grill.
5. Tomato and cheddar cheese quiche
Use the soup mix in the quiche base by mixing it with the eggs for a deeper tomato flavour. Sundried tomatoes, Parmesan and Cheddar were added before baking in an oven.
Country Range Soup Mixes 2.25kg tubs:
• Scotch Broth
• Thick Chicken
• Thick Vegetable
About Michael Gillies
South Eastern Regional College (SERC) catering tutor Michael Gillies studied at the Northern Ireland Hotel and Catering College and then progressed to a BA Hons in Culinary Arts at Ulster University.
He started his career in local hotels and restaurants on the bustling North Coast of Ireland before taking off and travelling around Europe and the Middle East to master the culinary skills of the trade. On his return to Northern Ireland he took up a number of senior chef positions in hotels such as the 5-star Merchant Hotel in Belfast, The Lough Erne Resort, Enniskillen, and the multi award-winning Shu restaurant on Belfast’s chic Lisburn Road.
Michael now works as craft catering lecturer at South Eastern Regional College passing on his knowledge to aspiring young chefs, and he tutored a team in the 2016 Country Range Students Chef Challenge, making it through to the final.
He was recently awarded the Medal of Excellence from City and Guilds for his work in delivering the college’s cookery programmes as well as the Cherry Grainger prize from The Worshipful Company of Cooks of London.