Thursday, October 28, 2010

Soup Weather...

Whenever I get stuck, I find myself in the kitchen. Sometimes the simple acts of preparing a meal can unlock the obstacles. There's something freeing about setting to a task and just allowing your hands to move of their own accord. Cooking engages the senses. Sight. Smell. Taste. Touch. They combine to produce something that will nourish both the body and the soul.

Today has been a great big flop as far as getting things done. I needed to achieve some small act. I needed something to combat the darkness, creeping in earlier and earlier each day. I needed a bowl of chicken soup.

I roasted a chicken earlier in the week with some carrots, onions and celery. I set aside some of the "mirepoix" for soup tonight. I deboned the remaining chicken and put the bones, skin and fat in a stock pot with water. I set the mixture to high heat until it reached a rapid boil and then set it to low to simmer, covered. (If available, you could add a few lime leaves. Just don't forget to remove them.)

Meanwhile, I pulled the chicken into smaller bite-sized pieces and tossed with a tablespoon of olive oil. I then coated the chicken in melody of seasonings. I used garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, ground red pepper, salt, ground black pepper and a dash of curry powder. This is set aside so that the chicken can absorb all the flavors.

In a large pot, I melted down two pads of butter and added a dash of olive oil. To the oil and butter mixture, I added a few spoonfuls of minced garlic and two big hunks of peeled and slivered fresh ginger root. The ginger really turns up the heat in this soup. Move the ginger and garlic around on medium heat for about five minutes or until the edges of the garlic start to turn golden. Add a cup of white wine. Pour in the roasted carrots, onions, and celery. Coat the vegetables in the garlic, ginger wine mixture. Strain stock and add to the vegetables. You'll want to cook this down until the stock has thickened and the vegetables are completely soft. This takes about 30 minutes.

Once the soup based has thickened, add the chicken. It's important to add the chicken last. Since it's already cooked, it just needed to be heated up. Cooking it for much longer will make the chicken dry and rob it of the flavors it has been soaking up. So don't overcook! The soup should be quite thick at this point and VERY spicy!

Prepare your bowls by filling them halfway with room-temperature creamy coconut milk. The coconut milk will help sweeten the dish and balance the heat of the spices and ginger. The coconut milk will also add liquid and make it more soupy and less stewy.

I like to serve this Asian-inspired chicken soup with lots of sliced baguette bread on the side to sop up whatever the spoon misses. The bowls are guaranteed to come back clean.

13 comments:

taralinda said...

Yum! This comfort soup and a lil' pinch o' patience will heal you right up! thank you for the recipe! ;)

Andrew Thornton said...

To bring out a floral note and to enhance the spices, a squeeze of lime will do wonders. I prefer the mellower version, but sometimes when I'm in the mood for a kick, I add the lime juice. The citric acid reacts with the spices to create a flavor explosion!

Marcia DeCoster said...

oh gosh, I want to make this soup right now! Perhaps I can make it when I get back to Melbourne. Please be gentle with yourself, recovery is a slow process, surgery takes so much more out of us then we are aware. That along with the worry depletes ones reserves. I have no doubt that in time you will regain your stride, but it likely cannot be rushed.

Courtney said...

Well, I know what we are having for dinner tonight! Thanks Andrew. Hope you are a bit better every day.

Michelle said...

This looks scrumptious! I'm jones-ing for some squash soup right now...add a dash of Greek yogurt on top with a sprinkle of asiago cheese and some crumbled bacon...yummy!
Take care....
Michelle

Alice said...

Ahhh, comfort food! It looks so yummy!

Yesterday I saw a bowl of clam chowder posted on a freind's blog, and it had my mouth watering. In the evening I asked my husband to pick up so Progresso healthy clam chowder, some crusty bread, and the makings of a salad. I should have known better as he came home with Campbells CHUNKY chicken corn chowder and some crackers. What a downer. It was nasty. That will teach me to have him go to the store for a decent meal.

Now my mouth is watering for your soup.......

Anna Lear said...

Such a lovely post (as always), and I'm reading it just after setting some beef-vegetable stew to simmer and experiencing the same sense of un-blocking you describe. I felt a bit depressed when I walked into the kitchen, and uplifted and energetic when I walked out. It continues to amaze me how such simple things can magically lift us up... So keep on cooking, and healing, and writing....

AJ said...

YUM! I'm going to share this post with my husband and make puppy dog eyes at him until he agrees to make a batch (shouldn't take long, he's a soup addict). Thank you for sharing your recipe... I'd say that negates any failures to get other things done.

It's still pretty warm here in AZ, so I've had to pretend that it's cold enough for soup. We had sweet potato bacon soup last night :)

rosebud101 said...

Oh, that sounds absolutely delicious!!!

Jean said...

This is an excellent recipe. Where did you get it? I have to say, you are ONE GOOD COOK! And that is coming from someone who used to get up in the middle of the night, bake bread(it took hours), and draw pictures and write about boys I was pining for back in the 60's, in my "secret journal". I had a very satisfying solitary life. :)

xox jean

Jenny Steinbeck said...

Wow, this sounds so good. I am adding it to my stack of recipes to try!

Kimmie said...

Have you ever tried dried limes? Find them in the middle-eastern section of the market. They are wonderful! Just pop one or two in the pot while its going, then take em out before serving, like you would with leaves.
Mmm. now I'm hungry!

Andrew Thornton said...

Dried limes sound delicious. I'll have to pick some up the next time I'm in a big city. My local – rural – BiLo will most likely not carry them.