[Editor's Note: Kettle Cuisine has since discontinued their line of frozen soups. You can read more about their decision by clicking here.
Twenty years ago, doctors told Jerry Shafir that his baby daughter, Kate, had celiac disease.
In 2007, when the FDA recommended a standard for gluten free foods, Shafir, who owns Kettle Cuisine, applied his expertise in the soup industry and experience in the celiac disease community to develop gluten-free versions, so Kate and everyone on a gluten-free diet could enjoy the same delicious, hearty and nutritious foods that other people take for granted.
The result was an impressive line of 10 different soups, chilies and chowders, six of which we tried – and loved: New England Clam Chowder, Angus Beef Steak Chili with Beans, Tomato Soup with Garden Vegetables, Thai Curry Chicken Soup, Chicken Chili with White Beans, and Chicken Soup with Rice Noodles. The soups are 10 ounces each and serve one person.
Taste, mouth-feel, aroma and ease of preparation surpassed expectations.
Here is our review...
Packaging. The boxes are attractively designed and easy to read. We like how they say gluten-free in plain sight on the front, bottom, back and top. (Anything that makes gluten-free grocery shopping easier is a good thing in our book.) Dairy-free, vegetarian are also listed when applicable. Each soup comes in its own recyclable bowl covered by a film of plastic.
Ingredients. The first thing you notice is that you can actually read and understand the ingredients. Chicken, rice flour, carrots, potatoes, water, sea salt – Kettle Cuisine uses the same ingredients that you would buy if you were making your own soup at home. No preservatives. No artificial colors. No MSG or artificial flavors.
Heating. The soups come frozen, so you have two choices for heating: the stovetop or the microwave. For the stovetop, warm the soup container upside down under hot water from the faucet (with the plastic still intact!). In a few seconds the frozen soup will separate from the container. Set aside the bowl and place the frozen soup puck in a pot. Cook on medium, stirring continuously for about 15-20 minutes. For microwave heating, just pop the plastic soup container in the nuke box, tear back the plastic cover a bit and set it on high for 3-4 minutes. (Our microwave needed 4.) Wait another minute, stir, and chow down. We stove-topped the New England clam chowder (because microwaves seem anti-chowder). We nuked the rest. The microwave was faster, way easier and just as tasty. No clean-up is a big plus.
The Taste. Ok, to tell you the truth we did not expect to find gourmet soup in a frozen package. Well, we are happy to report we were wrong, as gourmet is exactly what we got. Kettle Cuisine is restaurant-quality.
Before we get to the taste, let’s talk about the aroma. As the soups heat up, whether in the microwave or on the stove, wonderful smells fill the kitchen, enveloping you and giving you a hint of the good things to come.
The taste is where Kettle Cuisine really shines. The flavors are robust, well-balanced, and totally satisfying. The chilies are spicy without overwhelming the flavor. The New England clam chowder was just plain wonderful – creamy, thick and hearty with large pieces of clams. The same goes for the meats in the other soups and the veggies in the Tomato and Garden Vegetable flavor. You can identify the ingredients by look, feel and taste.
Nutrition.These soups, chilis and chowders are nutrient-dense. High protein, high fiber, low fat – you have a choice. Calories range from 110 in the Tomato and Garden Vegetable to over 300 in the Angus Beef Steak Chili with Beans. Looking for high protein? The Chicken Chili with White Beans has 25 grams. Fiber? You get a whopping 32% in the Angus Steak Chili. On a diet? The Chicken Soup with Rice Noodles has just 3 grams of fat and the Tomato Soup with Garden Vegetables has only 3.5 grams, while also providing 30% of your vitamin A. And while the New England Clam Chowder may not be low fat, it is the creamiest, BEST tasting chowder we have ever had and still provides 13 grams of protein.
Convenience. The soups are frozen, so they will stick around awhile in the freezer – if you can wait that long. They are individually packaged in single serving sizes, making them great for a quick lunch at home or for bringing to a friend’s party to make sure you have something to eat. Just 4 minutes in the microwave and they are ready to eat. No extra ingredients required. They come in a recyclable bowl. You supply the spoon and the appetite.
Manufacture and Gluten-free Safety. Working from their USDA commercial kitchen in Chelsea, Massachusetts, Kettle Cuisine’s 140 employees make their food the same way you do. They choose the finest, all-natural ingredients and hand-prepare their vegetables and meats. They cook in small batches, adding each ingredient at just the right moment.
Kettle Cuisine owner, Jerry Shafir, makes sure his soups are as safe for you as they are for his daughter. The gluten-free soups are prepared after a thorough sanitation process and before any gluten-containing foods are prepared. Strict cooking procedures have been instituted to make them safe for people with gluten sensitivities, intolerances and allergies. Cooking of gluten free soups is segregated. All batches are tested for gluten down to 5 parts per million. This is the lowest that any national celiac support organization requires. In addition, they are certified by the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO).
- Restaurant quality taste and texture. These soups, chilis and chowders are hand-prepared from the finest natural ingredients. The result is superior, gourmet food. See Kettle Cuisine's well-deserved list of rewards.
- Certified gluten-free by the Gluten Free Certification Organization (GFCO).
- Batch tested to 5 parts per million (15 ppm lower than the GFCO requires.)
- Naturally raised chicken and beef. No antibiotics. Chicken are raised on vegetarian feed.
- Organic, vegetarian and dairy-free varieties.
- High protein, high fiber and low fat options.
- Easy to make – All you need are a microwave and a spoon.
Where to Buy. Kettle Cuisine sells in supermarkets across the country, so you can find Kettle Cuisine single-serve gluten-free soups at your local grocer. For a retailer near you, visit their store locator.
Kettle Cuisine Contact Information:
Mail: Kettle Cuisine 270 Second Street Chelsea, MA 02150
Telephone: Consumer Line: 877-302-SOUP