A Wicked Scoff...Recipes and Food with Newfoundland and New England Influences.

This blog is dedicated to bring recipes, photographs, anecdotes, reviews and other insights on everything food related. As the name suggests, "A Wicked Scoff" will have a regional flare, a fusion if you will, of both Newfoundland and New England perspectives of the culinary world around me. Thanks for visiting and please come back often as updates will be frequent. Oh yeah, I also like tasting and cooking with regional beers. Expect a beer of the month, often paired with recipes.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Chicken Soup

One of the most satisfying meals in my mind is a steaming bowl of homemade soup. It warms you up on a chilly evening and is a cure for what ails you. Good soup was part of my youth, with a mother and grandmother who made great, classic traditional Newfoundland soup recipes, namely chicken and rice, turkey vegetable, pea soup, and beef and barley. I don't know how many times I saw Mom standing over the pot with a paring knife and an onion, slicing off small pieces and using her thumb like a cutting board. While not a technique I would use, I've seen many other Newfoundland "moms" using the same method. With results that were so good, who am I to complain.

This past weekend my wife and I spent the weekend camping and hiking in New York's Adirondack Park. We had a good time with friends living in Ottawa (one from Newfoundland, and even the camp site was owed by two Newfoundlander's...go figure), but by the end of yesterday on the drive home my mind was racing on what I wanted to cook and eat for supper. After two days of having a few glasses of rum, eating potato chips and hot dogs, all while battling a cold, I really needed something nourishing and satisfying. Soup was the answer.

Following the wisdom of James Barber (The Urban Peasant), I used what I had available in my fridge and pantry, kept it simple, and easy! I has 3 bone in chicken breasts in my freezer, staples of onion, celery and carrot in my fridge, and medium shells (pasta) in the cupboard, so with a few other ingredients, my quick chicken soup was made. Here is my recipe, but feel free to use what you have for substitutions.

Chicken Soup

Cook in a large Dutch Oven, over high heat, 3 bone-in chicken breasts with enough water to cover (water should be about 2 inches from the top). Chop and add one small onion, 3-4 leafy parts of celery ribs, one carrot, plus 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp of salt and a few grinds of black pepper, and 1 tsp of summer savory. Once the lot comes to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 45 minutes.

Remove chicken and allow to cool until they can be handled with bare hands. With a slotted spoon, remove vegetables from the stock.

To the cleared stock, add:
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 3 ribs celery, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
- 3 carrots, quartered and slice thin
- 1 small turnip, diced fine
- 1 large potato, diced fine

Simmer for 15 minutes.

In meantime, remove skin and bones from chicken and dice or shred with hands into large chunks/pieces. Once veggies have cooked for 15 minutes, add chicken and add 1/3 pound of medium sized pasta shells. Cook for an additional 8-9 minutes, until pasta is al dente. Be sure not to overcook the pasta. Add a bunch of chopped flat leaf parsley for colour and to brightnen up the flavour. Taste, and adjust seasoning by adding salt and pepper.

For me and my wife, this soup was just what we needed after a long weekend. It was savory, rich, flavourful, and extremely satisfying...everything a good bowl of soup should be. It was so good I just had another two bowls for supper tonight! Enjoy!

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