I know, I know. It's summer and I'm talking about soup, but trust me. This is a good summer soup recipe! It has nothing to do with writing, but since we had one of those supermarket rotisserie chickens for dinner last night, this recipe's on my mind and I thought I'd share it. It's the addition of fresh avocado, lime and cilantro that makes this soup taste so summery to me.
My best friend, Cher, gave me this recipe long ago. It's simple, inexact, and very modifiable, so here we go.
After eating as much of the chicken as you like, cut or pick off the remaining meat and refrigerate. Then you're going to make a stock with the carcass (we really need a nicer word for it!). You can do this right after you've finished your chicken dinner or you can wait until the next day.
Put the carcass into a large pot, along with a quartered onion, a bunch of celery leaves and stalks, some chopped carrots, some mushrooms (I use the stems for the stock and save the caps for the soup) and a couple of bay leaves. Cover with water and/or low-fat, low sodium chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for a couple of hours. Strain all the solids out of the stock and refrigerate overnight or a few hours to let the fat rise to the top. (Or, if you've mastered one of those fat-removing gizmos, you may use that, but they've never worked for me). Now you have a yummy base for the soup.
- When you're ready to make the soup, skim the fat off the stock, then add the following:
-one large onion, coarsely chopped
-carrots, coarsely chopped
-any other vegetables you'd like--zucchini, turnip, potatoes, etc
-another couple of bay leaves
-salt and pepper to taste
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about fifteen minutes
- toss in a handful of rice and the reserved chicken
- while that's cooking, chop up a bunch of cilantro leaves, juice a couple of limes, and cut an avocado into chunks. Pour half the lime juice over the avocado to keep it from turning brown.
- when the rice is cooked, turn off the soup, remove the bay leaves, and stir in the cilantro and some of the lime juice (taste the soup--you'll be adding more lime with the avocado, so you don't want it to be too "limey" at this point.)
- ladle the soup into bowls and let people top their servings with the avocado
Serve with a crusty bread or corn bread.
Enjoy! And let me know if you have a prettier word than "carcass" to use in this recipe.