Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Chicken and corn soup


In a large pot place one whole chicken and whatever chicken trimmings you have hanging about from other culinary adventures/disasters – wings, necks, bones, carcasses – a few slices of green ginger, a few whole star anise, 6 peppercorns, a few cloves of garlic (unpeeled and slightly bashed about) coriander stems, tops of spring onions, parsley stems, a few bashed up lemongrass stems, a quartered lime or lemon and a teaspoon of salt. Add a glass of white wine, think twice, and drink it yourself rather than waste it in the stock. No one will taste the difference and you will feel more creative.

Pour over cold water to the top of the pot and place on the heat. Let it come to the boil and when it does, turn down to a simmer and skim it a few times with a large spoon to get rid of the grungy bits of foam on the surface. This gets rid of all the muck and fat and stuff that comes out of the chook and you get a clearer stock. But it’s a horrible job so have a glass of wine.

Simmer for 90mins – 2 hours … not an exact thing, but try not to let it go past the 2 ½ hr mark or it will get a little bitter. Cool it a bit (the stock, not you) and then take out the chicken carefully (doesn’t matter if it breaks up a bit but rescue the chicken meat from the liquid). Then strain the stock through a fine sieve lined with a chux superwipe (or hand crafted French muslin if your name is Packer or Murdoch) remembering to have something to catch the strained liquid, unlike my friend Dave who once tipped the whole lot down the sink and had to start again. Straining it will give you a nice clear stock. So clear it reminds you of a glass of white wine. Good idea.

Leave the stock in the fridge to cool, taking off any remaining fat that solidifies and rises to the surface. While in the fridge, notice how lonely that last glass of wine looks in the bottle. Help it to be reunited with its friends.

Attack the chicken and discard the skin and bones and shred the meat with your fingers. Become one with your inner Viking. I’m sure Vikings drank wine or something too – go for it.

Put enough stock for you and however many freeloaders are lobbing in to your house coz you’re such a fab cook, plus some extra for leftovers to take to work the next day. Stuff it – you’re hungry now after all that wine so use the lot. Bring up to the simmer and add a can of creamed corn, 2 tbsp of finely julienned ginger (or do it yourself if julienne isn’t about), a little slosh of sesame oil and some shredded chicken meat. Chop some spring onions fairly finely without adding the tops of your fingers or fingernails. At this stage, not as easy as it sounds. It’s hot near the pot so some cold wine will help. Add some soy sauce to the soup – f*(k that stuff comes out fast! If you’ve really got the munchies cook some Chinese noodles to add to the soup bowls too.

To serve, add the spring onions at the last minute and add fresh chilli and soy to taste. Yum. Optional extra is to add some chopped ham or even nicer some diced Chinese BBQ pork. Well done. Have a glass of wine.

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