Wednesday, 22 February 2012

EAT SOUP!

No Soup For You!
Show me the man that can make me a delicious bowl of soup and I'll show you the man who's gotta hold of my heart forever!

Soup is all about pleasure for me, the smell, the warmth, the luscious, lingering feel across the tongue,  it's a nutritional love-bomb.

With well- made soup you can stuff the kids full of the latest superfoods and they'll hardly notice it!

Starting with a great stock makes all the difference, but we don't always have the time, so don't think of it as cheating if you use stock cubes, pre-prepared stock or just plain water, just as long as you invest in great vegetables and legumes. If you are using meat in your soup, you luck out because all the cheapest cuts benefit from the slow steeping in stock.

Another must-have is a decent sized saucepan with a lid or stock port and a large slowcooker is perfect, you can set and forget.

I don't really use recipes for soup, but it's alway lovely to get inspiration for some I may not have thought of before.
So many to choose from but here is one of my favourites, my version of "Jewish Penicillin" with a slightly oriental bent and a quote from a very talented Mexican, go figure....

"When a baby comes you can smell two things: the smell of flesh, which smells like chicken soup, and the smell of lilies, the flower of another garden, the spiritual garden." Carlos Santana

Chicken Soup

1 plump chicken, 1.5-2kg ( size depends on your pot,it can fit snugly but you'll need enough room to have about 8cm of water covering the chicken )
3 star anise
A finger -length of root ginger, sliced into a couple of chunks
1/2 to 1 cup of light soya sauce or tamari
3 or 4 spring onions
1/2 cup of short grain rice
water

Trim any excess fat from the chicken, usually tucked into the cavity, but leave the skin on, lots of flavour. Put it in your pot and cover with cold water. Add the ginger, star anise and the sliced white part of the spring onions, you'll use the green part finely sliced to garnish.
Gently bring the pot to a barely rumbling simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Put the lid on or use aluminum foil to cover and allow to cool. When cool, take the chicken out and strain the stock .
Chill and skim off any fat. Remove the meat from the chicken and shred,discard the skin and use the breasts for something else.If I have time I add the bones to the stock and simmer again for an hour otherwise I freeze the carcass and use again at a later date, plenty of flavour still left in dem bones!
To finish,put the stock into the clean pot, add the rice and half the soya sauce, bring to a simmer until rice is just done, add the shredded chicken, adjust the seasoning,more soya and add the sliced spring onions, serve in warmed soup bowls. A little slick of sesame oil is nice to finish with.


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