Chicken Soup for the Soul gives an indication of how important chicken soup is considered in some cultures. It is not just about the chicken. It is about a full-bodied yet undemanding nourishing broth. It often seems to be about nostalgia for a nurturing relationship and a cure for all manner of ailments. For me, it is the sort of soup that I want to eat in these cooler Autumn evenings.
For vegetarians, there is the challenge of making a soup which is centred around a carcass. I am not the only vegetarian to be fascinated by chicken soup. Many others have trodden this path before me. Susan, PPK, Erin, Mollie and Lindsay are just a few to share their versions. They use matzo dumplings, noodles, chickpeas and special seasonings. I have started to buy fried tofu puffs occasionally and thought they would do the trick.
Chicken Rice Soup that inspired me. I had to wait until the weather cooled to try it, but it has been niggling at me ever since I saw the recipe at the start of the January. Once I tackled it, I changed the recipe beyond recognition. I increased the vegies as well as using fried tofu. I was particularly pleased with the addition of celeriac. Often I don't know what to do with this strange knobbly vegetable but it seemed just right in the soup. I forgot about Katie's addition of mustard and cornflour. Maybe next time.
Katie's recipe directed me to make stock first and then the soup. Most chicken soup recipes call for the simmering of a carcass to make stock and then the adding of a shredded chicken. However vegetables do not seem to need to simmer as long as meat. So it is a mystery to me as to whether vegos need to make a separate stock for such soups.
bouquet garni of herbs from the garden is all the extra seasoning that is needed. Though I did wonder if some stock would have given depth of flavour. I have a bag of vegie scraps in the freezer to make into stock when I have some time. They include the scraps of purple carrots which I didn't think would give the soup the right look.
I need not have worried about the stock. E and I were very impressed with it. The combination of a bit of chewy tofu, nubbly rice and soft vegetables was just right. The broth was full of sweet vegetable flavour that needed seasoning to turn it into a savoury meal. The soup was satisfying without being heavy. Sylvia wouldn't eat it despite loving rice and tofu. She will share some of our meals but draws the line at soups and stews, not even convinced by the Soup Dragon in her favourite tv program the Clangers.
It was an evening full of nostalgia. Not only did we reminisce over dinner but we followed it by watching Turn Back Time: the High Street. We only got hooked towards the end of the series, unfortunately. It was fascinating the way it looked at the British high street in six different decades and how it has changed. This week was the 1970s. E loved seeing some of the food he had used to eat (Vesta, Angel Delight, etc). The shops made him remember Easy Rider (his favourite record store in Forrest Road, Edinburgh) and the Pakistani convenience store opening up near his Granny's house. Ah, memories!
I am sending this to Jacqueline for this month's No Croutons Required (an event run with Lisa). She has chosen a fun birthday theme (check it out) to celebrate her own birthday. My soup fits with the nourishing soup and rice themes.
Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Honest soup inspired by a Farmers Market
This time two years ago: Easter Nut Roast and Feasting
This time three years ago: The Nut Roast in History
Tricken Rice Soup with Celeriac
inspired by Thyme for Cooking
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions
- 2 stalks celery
- 3 large carrots
- 4 medium parsnips
- 1 celeriac
- 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 8-10 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- bouquet garni - I used bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, parsley (and would have used sage if I had it)
- 180g fried tofu puffs, chopped
- 3/4 cup rice (uncooked)
- seasoning, as required
- chopped parsley, to serve
Add 8 cups of water, salt and bouquet garni. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes until vegies are soft. Throw in tofu. At this point I left it overnight, but that is optional. Add rice and simmer for about 15-minutes until it is cooked. Add more water if needed. Remove and discard bouquet garni.
Check seasoning. Mine benefited from some more salt and black pepper. Ladle hot soup into bowls. Serve with a sprinkling of finely chopped parsley. Soup keeps well for 2-3 days but the rice will absorb a lot of the water.
On the stereo:
The Bells Shall Sound Forever: a tribute to Current 93: Various Artists