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on the downward side of the age mountain.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Soup to Warm Your Bones

One look at the upcoming weather sent visions of chicken soup to my mind’s eye. I couldn’t wait for the happy sun to disappear under a blanket of grey clouds. First I had to start my broth base. I save as many random chicken bones and pieces as I can in the freezer to start my broth. I throw the frozen mess into a large le creuset pot along with a mirepoix, (large pieces of celery, onion, and carrot) thyme, parsley, garlic and boxed chicken broth. I like to use the boxed broth-it jump starts the flavor. After cooking the base until the chicken meat falls off the bones and the neck bones crumble with a pinch, I chill it overnight so the fat rises and can be skimmed off.

Call me a sissy but I hate to fondle cold meat. Squishing ground meat for meatloaf makes my fingers ache just thinking about it. The same is true with cold slimy chicken. After skimming the fat I warm the base until it is comfortable to plunge my digits in and commence to separate the meat from the bones and vegetables. It’s tedious but the happy wag from our dog’s docked tail keeps me filling the bowl for his breakfast.

Strained and golden, the broth is ready to turn into a soup. Originally I was going to do the usual; chicken vegetable with a medley of summer’s end vegetables undulating in the crock pot. This morning is another day and looking over at the pyramid of tomatoes cascading across the counter I realized I should branch out. Scurrying downstairs to my study I grabbed Splendid Soups by James Peterson Bantam Books CO 1993.

Page 394 held the answer to my soup du jour dilemma, Chicken Soup with Garlic, Saffron, Basil, & Tomatoes. I skimmed the ingredients and found I was only missing 3; leeks (a mixture of shallots and mild onions will suffice), turnips (no problem I’m not wild about them) and crusty French bread (everything bagels from Yom Kippur would step in). In a nod to France I grabbed some flageolets to substitute for cannellini and some chanterelles to ramp up the mushroom category. Then I stopped short. The recipe was for 4-8!I didn’t want that much sitting around for us. I used a little trick that works for me when making soups. I grab the size pot that will hold enough soup for us and use it for measurement. When it is full of all of the ingredients (in rough proportions to the recipe) the amount of soup made has been contained to a reasonable amount and I haven’t made vats. I fiddled and fondled until perfection was achieved!

I must say this turned out to be a sterling soup! Mixing in a portion of the saffron garlic added a creamy element and fresh garlic flavor. The basil cream gave a fresh herb flavor. All in all this would be a great entertaining dish or after skiing soup. All I need now are a few more friends or lessons in skiing!

I will give you the list of ingredients but you will have to mold the soup around your palate and larder. Have fun & Happy Eating!
Bouquet garni
Chicken broth
Olive oil
Heavy cream
Cannellini beans
Saffron & Garlic Mayonnaise
French bread
Soup is made from leeks, carrots, turnips, mushrooms, bouquet garni, and chicken broth. Poach chicken in this, shred. Add peeled and seeded tomatoes make green sauce with basil olive oil and heavy cream. Make saffron & garlic mayonnaise stir some in soup save some for garnish add rest of ingredients sans bread. Put bread on the bottom soup on top with saffron garlic mayo and basil cream.

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