Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Is this vaawwdvill???

With S off at some boring conference and me back for a short while, I feel it is my duty to offer a timely, if not pictorially enhanced, post.

The title is, as those of you who have already checked MB's video on, entirely inspired in one of the memorable lines of this Wednesday's contribution. The recipe doesn't look half bad either, sort of an East Asian version of my grand-mother's chicken soup, but it screams for lime, or chili, or something acidic, don't you think?

And on that note, here is my grand-mother's chicken soup recipe:

Soupe the poule

1) buy a hen, preferably an old hen. apparently hens have way more flavor. Iwouldn't know how to tell a hen from a chicken or a rooster. Ok, maybe a rooster is obviously different, but once they're headless and featherless - how can you tell? You can tell by the flavor says my grand-mother, deaf to the circularity of her reasoning.
2) put the hen in a large pot, cover in water and add a bouquet garni and salt. Set to boil, then cover, lower the flame and walk away. The hen, being old, also needs to simmer for a verrrrry long time.
3) about an hour before you think this hen is done, add chopped vegetables : leek, celery, carrots, turnips, peas, green beans, whatever you have (forgive me, but this is literally how my grand-mother cooks - she has no recipes, it's all in her head, and she thinks it's silly to do it any other way. In her words, if you know how to cook, you just know. I know this doesn't help you, dear reader, but it's all I got).
4) once that hour has passed, take the hen out of the pot and let it cool, and set the covered pot out on a windowsill (these are the precise instructions) and let it cool, skimming the fat off the top as it congeals.
5) shred the hen
6) the next day, after you have skimmed as much fat as you can off the broth and added the hen back into the pot, reheat, and enjoy. You can add cooked rice (which is how today's MB recipe enters into this) or cooked short pasta (like orzo, fideo, or alphabet noodles).

I don't know if it's the hen or the windowsill, but if there is one thing this grand-mother does well, and does better than anyone else, it's chicken soup. Maybe one day MB can confirm the hen issue.

In the meantime, I hope everyone is enjoying the weather. We are having a prolonged summer in the Pacific Northwest - not exactly chicken soup weather - and how happy am I about that!

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