Archive for the 'soup' Category

Golden soup of chicken, ginger and greens

Saturday, January 9th, 2016

For dinner tonight, I made a soup, adapted (mostly in proportions and a little in technique) from this recipe: cold-fighting couscous chicken soup.

I was attracted by the name – I still have this stupid cold and wish devoutly for anything to improve it – and by the combination of chicken, turmeric and ginger, which sounded warming and wholesome.

The resulting soup was turmeric-golden (despite the seeming brownness in the photo below), savoury and warming. I’m still coughing but I feel somewhat less revolting, at least for now.


IMG_1736


olive oil
1 onion, quartered and sliced
2 carrots, cut into 1 cm dice
2 sticks of celery, cut into 0.5 cm dice
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 inch thumb of ginger, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon turmeric
150 ml white wine
1 cup home-made chicken stock
2 cups water
1/2 cup moghrabieh
2 chicken thigh fillets, each cut into two or three pieces
1 small bunch chinese broccoli (or other green), quite finely chopped
juice of half a lemon
chili flakes
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Heat a good dash of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery, and cook for about 8 minutes, until they are golden and softened. Add the garlic, ginger and turmeric, and cook for a further minute or two.

Deglaze by tipping the wine in on top of the vegetables and scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the stock, water, moghrabieh and chicken, and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes, then remove the chicken.

Keep simmering the soup until the moghrabieh is al dente. Meanwhile, use two forks to roughly shred the chicken. A couple of minutes before you are ready to serve the soup, add in the chinese broccoli, shredded chicken, lemon juice and chili flakes. Simmer until the broccoli has wilted and warmed through. Season to taste.

Makes two very large servings.

German-ish potato soup for a chilly Easter Sunday

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

Beautiful blood moon last night! I think that might have been the first lunar eclipse I’ve seen. Can that be true, after 40 years? But I can’t remember seeing others.

The easter break has been lovely so far. Dumplings with the lab on Thursday night. Mexican feast at Heather’s on Good Friday. Veg Out markets on Saturday morning, where I went a bit crazy buying early autumn produce. I spent the afternoon making chicken stock, cleaning and marinating beef cheeks, and roasting pepitas, poblano peppers and tomatillos to make a green mole to eat with chicken on Saturday night.

This grey and chilly Sunday morning, I read, went to the gym, then came home and made a potato soup for lunch. It’s warming and filling, and has set me up for a quiet afternoon of reading and maybe doing a little bit of editing for work. And tea. I foresee lots of cups of tea in my near future.


Vaguely germanic potato soup

olive oil
1 onion, peeled, quartered and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cubed
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
2 leeks, trimmed and chopped
3 rashers of smoked bacon from happy pigs
4 or 5 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1.5 cm cubes
a quarter of a head of cabbage, chopped
half a nutmeg, grated
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
2 cups of chicken stock
2 cups of water
1 bay leaf
sea salt and black pepper
splash of white wine vinegar
half a bunch of flat-leaf parsley, fairly finely chopped
2 dessert spoons of creme fraiche

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, leeks and bacon, and cook, stirring fairly frequently, for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened and slightly coloured.

Add the potatoes, cabbage, caraway seeds, nutmeg, chicken stock, water and bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for about half an hour, until the vegetables are soft. Add a splash of white wine vinegar about half way through cooking.

Take the pan off the heat, and remove the bay leaf. Use an immersion blender (or a potato masher if you don’t have one) to blend about half the soup. This should give you some body in the soup without making it a puree. Add the flat-leaf parsley and creme fraiche, and stir through over low heat for a couple of minutes to combine.

Serves 4-6, depending on hunger and presence or absence of bread.

Chicken soup for the virus-ridden body

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

Tedster has a bad cold, and I’m still getting over one. So for lunch today I made a chicken, barley and vegetable soup, packed with all the things I crave when I’m feeling like this (garlic, ginger, a little chilli, green leaves, chicken stock). The soup is quite thick, densely flecked with green, and smells and tastes like comfort.

A good part of the deliciousness of this soup derives from the chicken stock. There is no way that I would have the energy to make my own chicken stock when I am snotty and streaming-eyed and feel like crap. But thanks to my smug devotion to making gigantic cauldrons of stock once every couple of months and freezing it, I don’t have to. I can just snuffle my way over to the freezer, extract as many ziplocks of stock as I need, and prop myself up against the counter while I chop vegetables and throw things in a saucepan.

The recipe for the soup is immediately below. For full smugness, see the recipe for cauldron-sized quantities of chicken stock further down.


Chicken, barley and vegetable soup

1/2 cup pearled barley
500 g chicken thigh fillets
olive oil
1 large golden shallot, chopped
1 leek, quartered and finely sliced
2 carrots, diced
1 stick of celery, diced
1 thumb of ginger, peeled and finely minced
1 head of garlic, peeled and very finely minced (or put through a crusher)
glass of white wine
~3 cups of home-made chicken stock
zest of a lemon
a pinch of chili flakes
a smallish bunch of English spinach, stemmed and chopped
a bunch of parsley, stemmed and finely chopped
salt and pepper

Bring a couple of cups of water to the boil in a medium saucepan, and add the barley. Simmer until soft, skimming off any foam during cooking.

Unroll the thigh fillets and cut each into a couple of pieces. Heat a good glug of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add half the chicken pieces. Let them cook on one side until they’re becoming golden and they unstick themselves from the pan, then turn them and repeat. Remove them from the pan and set aside to cool. Repeat with the rest of the chicken. Don’t worry that the chicken isn’t cooked through; that’ll be taken care of later.

In the same large pan, add more olive oil if needed (I didn’t), then add the shallot, leek, carrot, celery, ginger and garlic. Sweat them all over a low-medium heat for 7-10 minutes, until they’re softened and starting to get a slight touch of colour.

While the vegetables are sweating, shred the cooled chicken with your fingers into bite-sized pieces.

Deglaze the large saucepan with the white wine (or use water if you’d prefer). Let the wine reduce, then add the chicken stock and a pinch of chili flakes. Zest a lemon into the pan. Add the shredded chicken, then bring it all to a simmer.

The barley should be tender by now. If there’s lots of water left in the barley pan, drain it then add the barley to the soup; if there’s only a cup or so of water left I just tip it all straight into the big pan.

Simmer the soup for 5-10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked, the carrot is tender, and all is well. Add a little more water if things get too thick for you. Stir through the spinach and parsley, and let them wilt. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Eat.

Serves 4-6.





Chicken stock

Depending on how much water you add, how long you simmer, etc, this makes about a couple of litres of stock.

1 kg chicken necks
1 kg chicken frames, hacked up with a cleaver to break the bones
Any chicken carcasses you’ve saved from roast chicken, also hacked up
3 large onions, peeled and roughy chopped
4 carrots, each cut into a few pieces
half a bunch of celery, roughly chopped
2 fresh bay leaves
a dozen black peppercorns
a good handful of parsley from the garden

Add everything to a very large pot, and cover with cold water. Slowly bring it to a low simmer. Keep it only just simmering for 4-5 hours, stirring every now and then.

Let the stock cool a little for ease of handling, then strain it through a colander into a large bowl. Discard the bones etc.

Line a sieve with cheesecloth like a normal person, or be like me and never think to buy cheesecloth and just use a linen handkerchief instead. Wet the handkerchief/cheesecloth with water, then use it to line a sieve. The handkerchief should stick up over the top of the sieve – you don’t want stock to sneak over the edges of it. Place the lined sieve over a clean large bowl, and slowly tip the stock through it. You may need to stop and rinse off the handkerchief halfway through the process if there’s a lot of sediment in your stock.

Once the stock is clear, leave it in a big bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a plate, and put it in the fridge overnight. The next day, the stock will have jellified and be covered with a layer of fat. Scrape the fat off, and then the stock is ready to be used or frozen.

I spoon 1-cup portions of stock into mini-sized ziplock bags, briefly submerge the bags of jellified stock in warm water to melt so they can flatten for easy storage, seal them after expelling as much air as possible, then freeze them flat.

I can pack a couple of litres of stock into a smallish section of the freezer and always have it on hand for soups, stews or risottos. I LOVE IT. Not that much effort, a billion units of satisfaction and enjoyment.

Miso soup with soba, tofu and vegetables

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

I’m writing this up not because I think it is anything novel or authentic (it’s not), but for two other quite different reasons. First, I want to remind myself how easy this kind of soup is, given the usual contents of my pantry and fridge. The only things here that I don’t always have on hand are the steamed butternut and the silken tofu, both left over from the laksa we made last night.

Secondly, I was struck by how thoroughly this soup held my attention while I was eating it. Many of the soups I eat are pureed or at least relatively homogeneous. This one is very different. It’s full of bits and pieces of things of varied sizes, shapes and textures, that must be handled in different ways – the broth is spooned up, the tofu nudged onto the spoon and brought to the mouth, the noodles fished for with chopsticks and slurped, the pumpkin and mushrooms held between the chopsticks while bites are taken. When I eat this kind of soup, my mind doesn’t drift, but stays focussed on the food and the action and sensations of eating. This is something that I think is worth cultivating.

Broth
3 cups water or light stock
2 heaped dessert spoons miso paste, or to taste
a dash of tamari

Things to go in the soup
120 g soba noodles, cooked, drained and rinsed
6 small pieces butternut squash, steamed till tender
10 small cubes silken tofu
6 dried shiitake, rehydrated in hot water
4 pieces dried black fungus, rehydrated in hot water
2 handfuls baby spinach leaves

Finishing
coriander leaves
sesame oil
chili flakes

First make the broth. Bring the water or stock to a boil, then remove from heat. In a small bowl, mix a little of the hot water with the miso until it thins out, then add this to the rest of the water. Mix, taste, and add more miso if necessary. The broth is often improved by a scant dash of tamari at this point, too.

Into each of two large bowls, put half the cooked noodles, pumpkin, tofu, shiitake, black fungus and spinach leaves. Gently pour the miso broth over, half into each bowl.  Sprinkle with coriander leaves, a few spots of sesame oil, and a pinch of chili flakes. Eat at once.

Serves 2.