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March 2002 Issue
Soups to Warm the Soul
by Philip R. Gantt
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Welcome to Seasoned Cooking and to Phil's International Flair!

In line with this month's theme, I have decided to present a selection of my favorite soup recipes. One or two of these may be repeats with slight variations. However, newer readers of Seasoned Cooking may find these recipes quick and useful.

The first recipe, Chicken and Dumplings, in a favorite with the kids. This is a warm, hearty, stick-to-your-ribs kind of soup. I think of it as a meal in itself. Although preparation takes a while, it is well worth the effort. This soup is great for cool weather as it will warm the kitchen as well as your stomach.

The Spring Soup recipe is timely for the season. With spring upon us, fresh vegetables are in abundance and the market price of asparagus is lower than it will be during the remainder of the year. This soup is light, simple, and quick to make.

Egg Flower soup is a Chinese favorite. This is an economical and easy to make soup. Serve this as a prelude to rice and a stir fry dish for a complete Chinese-style meal.

The recipes presented this month are from my yet to be published cookbook, Phil's Family and Friends Cookbook. Feel free to email me at with your comments and requests.

Now, on to the recipes!

 

Chicken and Dumplings

  • 1 whole fryer chicken, cut into pieces
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced (with leaves)
  • 1 medium size onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
  • Thinly sliced carrot for garnish (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
Place the chicken pieces in a large pot with about 2 quarts of water or enough to cover. Bring the pot of chicken to a boil over medium heat and let boil uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour (longer if you need to add any water). Skim the top of the broth as necessary during the boiling process. If you reduce the heat before removing the chicken, you should be able to remove most of the fat by skimming the broth. Remove the chicken, when cooking is complete, with a slotted spoon and allow to cool. Turn off the heat temporarily and put the vegetables and seasonings into the broth.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones. I do this with a cleaver, however you can also use a fillet knife to get most of the meat separated from the bones. If necessary, cut the chicken meat into bite sized pieces and return to the broth. Next, turn on the heat to medium and bring the soup to a simmer.

While the soup is heating, prepare the dumplings as follows: Mix the Bisquick with the milk in a mixing bowl to make a dough. Once the soup is simmering, carefully drop a tablespoon of dough into the soup. The dough will rise with the heat and some of it will dissolve to thicken the broth. Continue adding tablespoons of dough until it is all used, forming dumplings in the process. After all of the dumplings have been added, simmer for 10 minutes and then add 1 tablespoon of butter. Cover and simmer an additional 10 minutes. The butter and covering seems to cause a reaction with the broth and dumplings that thicken and smooth the texture of the soup. Garnish and serve hot!

As a variation, add one thinly sliced carrot to the soup.

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 90 minutes
 

 

Spring Soup

This is a simple, yet elegant, attractive soup which can be served with a variety of main courses. This is also an economical soup. The only requisite is that you use fresh ingredients.
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 3 asparagus spears, sliced diagonally 1/8" thick
  • 20 Chinese peas, sliced diagonally 1/8" thick
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced diagonally 1/8" thick
  • 1 green onion, sliced diagonally 1/8" thick
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the chicken broth in a pot. If you are using canned chicken broth, add an equal portion of water. One can of broth plus one can of water will make enough soup to feed 4 people. Bring the broth and water to a boil. Add the sliced asparagus, peas, squash, green onion and seasonings to the broth. Serve immediately.

Variations: Try adding a few sprigs of fresh chopped coriander (cilantro), or some fresh chopped parsley as a garnish. Some fresh sliced mushrooms are also a good addition. This basic soup allows for innovation. Use your imagination with this soup, and use what happens to be fresh.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes
 

Egg Flower Soup
This is probably one of the simplest soups that one can prepare, and one which requires the least amount of time. The variations on this soup are many, and a few hints are provided to deter one from making this recipe boring should one decide to serve it more than one day in a week.
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 egg
  • 1 chopped green onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Empty can of chicken broth into a small pot and add one can of water. Heat over medium heat until the broth just begins to simmer. Reduce the heat to low. Crack the egg into a bowl and beat slightly. Gently pour the egg very slowly into the simmering broth in a circular pattern. Allow the broth to return to a simmer and then gently stir. Add the green onion and seasonings and serve.

Variations: A few leaves from a celery stalk or some chopped water chestnuts will add some variety to the soup. Watercress in place of the green onion will turn this soup into a delightfully different dish.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes


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