chicken and rice soup

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Being Chinese I hate to waste food. I roasted a whole chicken, and after carving it up, saved the carcass to make chicken and rice soup. They say chicken soup is good for the soul; well, it is also a good light supper with a salad on the side.

Chicken and Rice Soup
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes

For the broth:
1 carcass of whole roast chicken
1 small onion peeled
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 quarts (8 cups) water
1 tablespoon salt

For the soup:
1/2 cup carrot cut into cubes
1/2 cup diced celery, if desired
1 cup cooked rice
Scallion for garnish

Pick the meat off the bones of the carcass, cut meat into small dice, and set aside.

Put chicken carcass, onion, peppercorns, water and salt in a large Dutch pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce heat to a simmer about 45 minutes.

Slit open coffee filters and line a large strainer with them. Place lined strainer over a large heat proof bowl. Slowly pour the broth into the strainer and discard the solids.

Pour 4 cups broth into a medium sauce pan. Add the carrots and celery, if using,  and cook 5 minutes. Add the rice. Reserve the remainder of the broth for another use.

Spoon soup into bowls. Top with diced chicken and scallion. Serve right away.

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jamaican pepperpot soup with dumplins

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It’s winter in Bangkok, which means the temperature dips from a sweltering 30 degrees Celsius to a relatively mild 23 degrees. So naturally, my thoughts turn to a spicy soup from Jamaica to brace both body and soul. In texture a pepperpot is thicker than a soup but not as thick as a stew. It’s in between. We eat it with dumplins and a side of rice, but that’s up to you.

Jamaican Pepperpot Soup with Dumplins (adapted from Cooking the Caribbean Way)

Servings: 6-8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 60-75 minutes

2 lb stewing beef or pork shoulder, cubed
8 oz. salt beef, pork or bacon, chopped (I used bacon)
1 1/2 cups okra, chopped
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 bunch callaloo or spinach, chopped
2 scallions, chopped (I used 3/4 of a large onion, sliced)
1 lb yellow yams, sliced (I used 1 1/2 carrots, sliced)
1 coco or large potato, sliced
1 sprig thyme (2 teaspoons dried)
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Scotch Bonnet pepper, optional (I substituted 2 Thai chilies)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven, brown the salt meat in a little oil or brown the bacon until some oil is released. Add the meat and brown. Add enough water to cover, and bring to a near boil; simmer 30 minutes. Add yams or carrots and coco or potato. Simmer 15 minutes, then add okras, kale, spinach or callaloo, scallions or onions and simmer 15 minutes. Add 2 cups water to the pot. Add thyme, garlic, chili peppers, and salt and pepper to taste. Dumplins can be added to the soup. Stir and simmer another 15 minutes.

Mom’s Dumplins

2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup hot water
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

Put flour in a large bowl. Dissolve the shortening in hot water. Pour the shortening mixture into the flour and combine. Pinch off about an inch of dough and roll between your hands to make a cigar shape. Repeat until all the dough is used up.

Heat a small pot of water to boiling and add the dumplins in batches. When they float, they are done. Drain dumplins and add to the pepperpot soup. Continue until all dumplins are cooked and added to the pepperpot.

clear out the pantry! make butternut squash soup with coconut cream

butternut squash soup with coconut cream

Only four more days in New York! We’re going to Chicago for a week, then it’s off to Thailand. I’m trying to use up as much of the food I have in the pantry as I can. There was vegetable base, tomato paste, and the remainder of a can of coconut cream left over from last weekend’s Jamaican black bean soup. I noticed an orphan in the back of the pantry: a bottle of Guinness Stout. I ran out of time to try that new recipe for Chocolate Guinness Cake. So, I guess we’ll just have to drink it before we leave New York!

Butternut squash soup with coconut cream is slightly sweet but not too salty, deliciously satisfying and smooth. This is a great soup for a light summer supper accompanying a salad or a grilled cheese sandwich.

Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Cream
Prep time: 20 minutes (includes pureeing the vegetables)
Cook time: 30 minutes

2 tablespoons olive oil
2-6 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press
2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
1-2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
3 medium carrots, scraped and cut into inch pieces
4 teaspoons vegetable base
4 cups water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup unsweetened coconut cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Scallion and cilantro, chopped, for garnish (optional)

In a large dutch pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, squash, potato and carrots to the oil. Cook until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add water and vegetable base to the pot. Stir. Add the tomato paste and stir. Cook 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables can be pierced easily with a fork. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut cream. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook’s Note: Be careful with the salt because there is salt in the vegetable base and the tomato paste, so it’s important to taste the soup first before adding additional salt.

Use an immersion blender to puree the vegetables in the pot. Alternatively, put the vegetables and soup in a blender to puree them. Do this in batches. Serve hot garnished with chopped scallion and cilantro, if desired, and a sprinkle of sea salt.