Saturday, March 1, 2014

When It's Really, Really Cold ......

When it's really cold, colder than usual, even record breaking cold temps, there is nothing like a bowl of your favorite soup.  I make a lot of soup, and I've made many, many different kinds of soup.  I took a dish from my childhood, Chicken Paprikash, a Hungarian kind of stew, and turned it into a soup.  My own version of Olive Garden's Tuscan Sausage and Kale Soup and a silky pureed carrot soup with tarragon of my own creation for my vegetarian friends, are some of the stand outs.  Hmm, some day I should try and take an inventory of the different soups I've made over the years.

I used to do a monthly Soup Night October through March each year and invited approximately 30 people each month.  I did that for about 6 years.  I often made two kinds of soups for my guests.  One "featured" soup, and another for those who preferred a vegetarian bowl or weren't a fan of the "main" soup.  I love having people at the house and it was the perfect, casual, easy prep way to have as many people as I wanted.  I even had a "guest chef" a couple of times when someone else wanted to feature their own favorite soup recipe.

I came across this soup recipe about a year ago and I wanted to try it. It sounded like it would be really delicious and so comforting.  Sweet Corn and Chicken Soup.  I can't claim that it's my recipe, but I've made it often enough I don't need the recipe any more. The name of the soup is somewhat deceptive.  It's so much more that corn and chicken!  It's a recipe I found at Food Network TV from Arti Sequeria, and Indian girl, whose recipes are mostly Indian cuisine.  I don't know what drew me to the recipe, but it may have been all the ginger. It also has egg drop in it which I love! At the time I saw her make this on television, I had only recently discovered how much I loved fresh ginger in recipes.  So I set out to get what I needed to make it.  I made it on a Saturday afternoon because I could see it would take a while - a couple of hours to get it together because everything is from scratch.  It requires poaching chicken gently with warm and savory spices and vegetables.   Lots of sliced ginger perfumes the broth, and then more fresh grated ginger is added later.  

The recipes calls for canned cream corn.  Canned vegetables are not something I use much. Each season I buy several dozen ears of local sweet corn, blanch it and cut all the kernels off to freeze for the winter.  I thawed and slightly warmed some of the corn, added some of the stock from the simmering soup then used my stick blender to make my own creamed corn to add to the soup.   It's really the only change I've made to the recipe, unless I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breast.  Using chicken on the bone is essential to make a rich and hearty stock. The canned corned is perfectly acceptable if that's what you prefer to use.

One other note about the recipe at the site: As I read the instructions I noticed that it says to add the Ginger-Garlic Paste.  This ingredient is not on the ingredients list.  So I just pressed two cloves of garlic into the soup at the point where instructions said to add the ginger-garlic paste.   Tweek as you please, more ginger, more garlic, whatever you like.
So if you want to try this lovely soup, I have two pieces of advice.  Read the recipe all the way through since there are several steps and it helps to do them in order.  Secondly, make it when you have the time at home while you are doing other things.   If you like this soup as much as I do, you will feel like the time you spent making it is worth every minute.  This is the 5th time I've made it.  I never tire of it and I'll make it again and again.

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