Sep 13, 2009

Sunday is Soup Day

Sundays were made for soup. They were also made for lounging around on the couch in your PJs, drinking coffee and reading the paper – but you can do all that while your soup bubbles away on the stove. Sunday is also a great day to entertain since you’ll have all day to cook and get ready leisurely. In my family, we always have dinner together on Sundays. It’s our time to catch up, talk about what’s going on and share a good meal. These days, not many of us still live in the same cities as our families, so why not treat your friends like family and invite them over for a Sunday Supper?

Keep it casual and easy – big bowls of soup, hunks of crusty bread, maybe a simple salad if you’re so inclined… just a comforting home-cooked meal to help everyone ease out of the weekend and get ready for the week ahead. This is one of my favorites:

Serves 8-10

1 whole chicken, 3-4 pounds, cut into 5-6 pieces
4 Granny Smith apples, coarsely chopped
4 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise to expose all the cloves
3-4 bay leaves
2” piece of ginger, coarsely chopped
2 TB black peppercorns
5-6 whole cardamom pods

4 TB butter
1 medium onion, peeled & finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled & finely chopped
1 large celery stalk, finely chopped
1 cup rice
3/4 cup red lentils
1/4 cup flour
1 tea ground coriander
1 TB garlic, minced
3 TB curry paste, yellow or red
1 1/2 tea salt
1 tea ground black pepper
Chopped cilantro for serving

Make the Stock:
Pull out the biggest pot you have and dump all the stock ingredients in it. Add enough cold water to completely cover the chicken and vegetables and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and gently simmer for one hour. The vegetables will be mushy and the chicken should fall off the bones easily.

Remove the chicken pieces from the pot, discard the skin and bones and shred the meat. Strain the stock and discard the vegetables and spices. If you want, you can let the stock cool and skim off whatever fat accumulates. But the fat adds richness, so I like to go ahead and finish the soup right away as is.

Make the Soup:
In the same large pot, melt butter over medium heat and add onions, carrots and celery. Cook ten minutes, stirring often until vegetables are soft. Add rice and lentils and cook two minutes, stirring constantly. Add flour, garlic, curry paste and about half a cup of the stock. Cook for two minutes, stirring to dissolve the curry paste and get everything evenly combined. Add the remaining stock (You should have 8-10 cups) slowly – about a cup at a time, stirring in between. Cook for about ten minutes or until rice and lentils are tender. Add shredded chicken, salt and pepper. When chicken is heated through, serve soup with chopped cilantro sprinkled on top.

Don’t feel like making your own stock? You can use store-bought stock or low sodium chicken broth – you’ll just need to tweak it a bit. While you’re sweating the soup vegetables, heat the broth in a separate pot and let it simmer with a piece of garlic and a few cardamom pods until you’re ready for it. When it’s time, simply scoop out the spices. You may want to add a peeled, chopped green apple in with the onions, carrots & celery – the sweetness is really great here, so you don’t want to loose it.

You can absolutely make this the day before – but it will thicken as it cools so you may need to add a few cups of water or stock when you reheat it gently. Not having people over? No problem. Just let the soup cool and divide it into single-serving plastic containers. Pop them in the freezer and you’ll have soup all season long!

1 comment:

Kate said...

I've never seen a soup like this before. It looks interesting!