Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hitting the Spot

I don't know why, maybe because I'm feeling a little traumatized about going back to real life after the holidays or something, but I have been craving soup something fierce lately.  I attempted to sate this desire on Sunday, but the results were shockingly bad.  Paul asked what that "stench" was, I maintained that there was no stench, but of course secretly knew that the apartment smelled god-awful.

Note to self:  In future, do not waste a perfectly good rutabega and some dried fava beans on a recipe from an unknown food blog.  

Anyway, it was all very depressing and put me off of the soup idea for a whole day and a half.  But then, yesterday, the most wonderful chicken soup recipe landed in my inbox.

A bit of history:  Terry Paulding is a dear friend of my mom's (actually, really of the whole family).  She has always been a phenomenal cook, and maybe fifteen years ago or so, she decided to go to culinary school, and then upon finishing she started a catering company.  She eventually opened her own kitchen, out of which her company operates and where she, along with other talented food-types, also teaches wonderful classes and host various cooking events. 

I've always thought she should go on Oprah to discuss how to go about following one's life's passion.  But I digress.

Every month, she publishes a newsletter.  It usually discusses events at the kitchen, what's good at the farmer's market (this I always love...she discusses the markets I grew up going to with my parents so it's a nice connection, however small, to home) and includes a recipe of Terry's to try.

This month she must have read my mind, because her recipe of the month was a Turkish Style Chicken and Leek Soup With Yogurt, Mint and Rice.  I am totally obsessed with dried mint in soups, so I rushed to the store to pick up the ingredients and started chopping and sauteing the minute I landed in my kitchen.

Forty-five minutes later, I had the soup of my dreams.  It's no surprise to me, but the dish was fantastic.  Comforting yet light, aromatic without being too challenging.  The ultimate winter food. 

Turkish Style Chicken And Leek Soup With Yogurt, Mint and Rice

Serves 4-6

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 medium onion
2 large leeks
3 stalks celery
1 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup long-grain rice
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups whole milk plain yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon dried mint
Pinch of cayenne pepper or hot paprika

1)  Place chicken in a pot large enough just to contain it.  Add water to cover by 1/2 inch.  Add one teaspoon salt.  Boil over high heat.  Skim any foam from the surface, turn the heat to very low, cover and simmer for 3 minutes.  Remove pot from heat and let stand, covered, for 30 minutes.

2)  Meanwhile, quarter and slice the onion.  Trim and discard the dark green tops, and discard the leathery outer layer from the leeks.  Slice through each leek vertically and was them well, making sure you get all of the dirt out from between the leaves.  Slice them crossways into thin half rounds.  Wash and thinly slice celery.

3)  Choose a heavy bottomed soup pot, preferably 4-6 quarts, and add the olive oil.  Warm it over medium-low heat, and then add the vegetables.  Stir to coat with oil, then cover the pan and cook, checking vegetables and stirring frequently, until meltingly tender, about 10 minutes.

4)  Remove chicken from pot and let cool.  Add cooking liquid and the rice (if using Asian rice, be sure to rinse first) to the vegetables along with the additional 4 cups of broth, and cook for about 30 minutes, tasting for salt and adding it, along with pepper, as needed.  Meanwhile, shred the chicken.  Add the chicken shreds to the pot once the rice is cooked.

5)  In a medium-sized pot, mix together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of cold water.  Add the egg yolks and yogurt.  Bring slowly to a simmer, stirring constantly in ONE direction.  When the mixture is thickened, add it to the soup.  The soup can now be served.

6)  In a small frying pan, melt the butter.  When the foam has subsided, add the dried mint and cayenne pepper.  Fry for a few seconds, until fragrant.  Garnish each serving with a drizzle of the mint butter (I personally just mix it with the rest of the soup...I don't even have a dining table so feel a bit ridiculous garnishing things).

Note:  This soup is great reheated the next day, but don't boil it or the egg mixture may separate and curdle.


wambalus said...

I maintain the stench came from the rutabaga. One of the reasons I don't cook with it - too much of a cooked radish smell about it for me.

Persephone said...

Oh...that looks gooooood. I love Turkish food.

Laura said...

Yes, as do I. Maybe when I say that I love mint in soups what I'm really saying is that I love Turkish soups!

toni said...

Just discovered your blog, and am heading out to the store to buy the ingredients for this soup. I can already taste it!

Laura said...

Let me know how you like it...hope you like the blog!

toni said...

Laura - Just to let you know, it's delicious! I will be photographing it and posting about it, giving you and your blog a shout out.

Laura said...

Oh that's awesome, I'm glad it worked out. I'm sure your photos will do it much better justice than mine I'm using my Blackberry as a camera!

Tea said...

Wow, that looks delicious! Thanks for leaving the link on my site--I'll be back for more:-)

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