Soup mixes used in testing were provided by Camp Traditions.
Five soup mixes from Camp Trains are designed to be used with wild-game components to provide tasty meals in hunt camp and at home. These mixes are produced by a Minnesota company and are best considered soup bases to which the cook adds meat and other components to produce hearty soups for up to eight diners. The foil-lined packages contain dried components which could keep for years in a pantry or camp food box.
Presently offered are Chile, Potato Garlic, Cheese, Wild Rice and Beef Barley mixes.. All are improved by adding one finely diced onion, salt and pepper. I also used a variety of meats and some fish in these soups. When I cooked the soups, I found it very useful to employ a wisk to insure break-up and through mixing of the dried components. I like my soups a bit thicker than these recipes cook, so I also added more rice, potatoes or beans. Using a pressure cooker reduced the cooking time to about 40 minutes.
Wild Rice. Although this mix might be used with any fowl or mild-tasting meat, I used leftover meat from a Christmas swan. I also added 1/4-cup of regular rice, 1 finely diced onion, 1/4-teaspoon of dill weed, additional salt and black pepper to fill out the soup. The end result was a thick, filling soup. Other things that would work well include wild turkey meat, goose meat, quail, dove, prairie chicken and other grouse. If no wild meat was available, chicken might be substituted. The amount of meat is not critical and about a pound would be appropriate.
Cheese Soup. There is a blend of cheeses in this mix. To it I added a pound of my homemade Italian deer sausage, a cut-up onion, two stalks of celery, and would have also added broccli, but I did not have any on hand. Almost anything could be put into this cheese base and it would work because of the heavy flavors of the cheeses.. Because the sausage was already seasoned, no additional salt or pepper was needed in this soup.
Garlic Potato. After a fairly steady diet of fowl and deer, I decided that I would use this to make a fish chowder. I used about 1-pound of frozen fish, one diced onion, three small peeled and diced Irish potatoes. salt and pepper to produce a potato based chowder. After thawing the fillets, I diced them and added them to the water and soup base. Once the soup started to cook I tasted and added some salt and black pepper.
Like the other soups this was also cooked in a pressure cooker for about 20 minutes. Pressure cooking helped to insure that the dried components in the soup were fully re-hydrated and that the additional potatoes were cooked.
Chili. Midwesterners don’t know how to make a good Chili. Some of the necessary ingredients were in the mix, but I found it needed 1-tablespoon of Chili powder, 1/2-teaspoon of crushed red pepper, 1/3 of a green bell pepper, one medium diced onion and a can of dark red kidney beans. I browned a pound of deer meat with the onions and bell pepper and added this to the soup before pressure cooking.
Using a pressure cooker allowed the pre-cooked dried beans to re-hydrated and the remainder of the components to blend.
Beef Barley. One pound of lean ground deer was browned along with one diced onion. This was added to the soup mix along with one 14-oz. can of stewed tomatoes, one cut up Roma tomatoes, 1/4-cup of rice, salt and pepper. The soup was then pressure cooked for 20 minutes. I liked the result. The soup is still thin enough to qualify as a soup. but I like the rice-thickened soup better.