Dear Jeanne: Would you please work your magic on my favorite soup? This is my mom's recipe, and it's loaded with good Midwestern fat! Thank you! — Anna Hecker, Fresno, Calif.

Dear Anna: I think you will be very happy with my revision. It has all of the flavor of your mom's recipe with far fewer calories and much less fat and sodium. It is a great recipe for the new year!

WILD RICE SOUP

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup flour

3 cups chicken broth

1 cup water

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 cup half-and-half

3 cups cooked wild rice

1 cup chopped cooked ham (optional)

1 cup finely chopped carrots

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon white pepper

1 1/4 teaspoons curry powder

1/3 cup dry sherry (or 2 parts apple juice, 1 part sherry vinegar)

Saute onion and celery in butter. Add flour to form roux. Cook 5 minutes (do not brown). Combine broth and water, and slowly add to roux. Cook on medium heat and stir until thickened. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.

Makes 6 servings.

LOW-FAT WILD RICE SOUP

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 cup minced onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

3 cups fat-free chicken broth

1 cup water

1 cup finely chopped carrots

3 cups cooked wild rice (about 1 cup raw)

1/3 cup extra-lean ham, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon white pepper

1/3 cup dry sherry (or 2 parts apple juice, 1 part sherry vinegar)

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 cup fat-free half-and-half

1/2 cup reduced-fat grated cheddar cheese (optional)

1. Place the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and celery, and saute, adding small amounts of chicken broth if necessary to prevent burning, until softened, about 5 minutes. Then add the chicken broth, water and carrots, and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 more minutes.

2. Add the wild rice, ham, salt, curry powder, white pepper and sherry, and simmer for another 5 minutes.

3. Dissolve the cornstarch in the half-and-half, then slowly stir into the hot soup. Stirring constantly, thicken the soup by bringing it to a boil. Serve with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese if using (adds 15 calories).

Makes 6 cups.

Each serving contains approximately: Original Recipe: 457 calories; 27 gm fat; 79 mg cholesterol; 1,020 mg sodium; 36 gm carbohydrates; 15 gm protein; 3 gm fiber. Revised Recipe: 185 calories; 2 gm fat; 4 mg cholesterol; 408 mg sodium; 31 gm carbohydrates; 7 gm protein; 3 gm fiber.


Jeanne Jones is the author of 33 cookbooks, most recently "Cooking From the Cupboard" (Rodale Press). For more information, you can go to her Web site, jeannejones.com. Send your recipe for revision to: Cook It Light, Deseret Morning News, P.O. Box 1212, La Jolla, CA 92038. Please include a stamped (63 cents), self-addressed envelope. © King Features Syndicate Inc.