Friday, July 3, 2009

East Meets West Chicken Soup

All great cultures have some sort of chicken soup. I think it's a mom thing.

A few days ago, we were kind of down. My mom was still in Hong Kong and over a week of cooking dinner every night was starting to be a drag for my sister and I. Seriously, we’d get home after five and dinner was expected at 6:30. We averaged three dishes a night (veggie, meat, and mystery) plus rice. And my dad hates the smell of cheese and onions, and refuses to eat bread so that eliminated most western foods. Sadly, he shot down the idea of Cheeseboard pizza.

One of the reasons I like chicken soup is that it’s super easy. I had two chicken breast bones left over from rosemary parmesan chicken and Chicken Salad Havarti Wraps. So I simmered the bones in a pot of water with a few stalks of celery and half a carrot. I’m not much of a carrot fan. I stripped the meat off the bones so it wouldn’t dry out and returned the bones to the broth. I also had half a chicken breast. My sister doesn’t like actual chicken in her soup.

Forty-five minutes later, the broth still tasted a little thin. I usually like to sauté some ground turkey to thicken the soup and I also let it simmer for a few hours, but time was in short supply so I added some canned chicken stock that my co-chef had used in that night’s egg custard. It helped a little. In the end, we had to utilize my mom’s secret soup weapon: salt pork. I’m not sure what the Chinese name is, but the meat label says, “Open Plu,” whatever that means. For some reason, there’s something in the salt pork that just screams, CHICKEN!!!

We also added these lovely rice ovalettes. You don’t have to cook them separately, and they also don’t drink up all your soup like other pastas.

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