Monday, 12 November 2012

Eating for a broken ankle: Grandma chicken soup

Now that the other half is home from hospital, I have spent the last week trying to make sure he is fed with something other than frozen waffles and microwave burgers when I'm at work. Not that there's anything wrong with frozen waffles and microwave burgers... well, actually there are a million things wrong with them, but even so, neither are going to assist in the speedy recovery of a boy with a broken ankle.

So, I decided to have a go at making what we call 'Grandma Soup' - a traditional Jewish chicken soup which is Hill family legend. We used to drive over after church and sniff as we walked up the driveway to see if she had made it for Sunday lunch, and if she hadn't we'd sulk for the rest of the afternoon. Obviously noone can actually match the way Grandma makes it (Dad tried a couple of times but opted for fishing out the bones rather than straining the liquid, earning it the rather unappetising title of 'body part soup') but I thought I'd give it a go.

Usually you would start with a broiling chicken (Grandma roasts it off afterwards), but I had a bag in the freezer containing the crown and wings of two chickens left over from the butchery course, so I used those. The result was fairly close to Grandma's and very yummy - and hopefully helped the other half a little in his efforts to recouperate. It certainly helped me for lunch the next day.

George correctly noticed I'd put far too much rice in. Pah.

Grandma chicken soup

1. Take a broiling chicken or the crown of a chicken which has had the legs and breasts removed, and put in a big pot along with an onion chopped in half, a few carrots chopped into chunks, some fresh herbs - parsley, thyme - whatever you have, a couple of bay leaves, a handful of peppercorns, and if you're me and can't help yourself, a clove of garlic and a chili. Cover with water and simmer for 3 hours.

2. Remove the bones and strain the liquid through a fairly fine sieve. Put back on the heat and add some rice and chopped cabbage, and if you like you could also add the carrots back in. Don't do what I did and go mad with the rice - it's supposed to have a bit of rice floating about, not resemble a watery risotto. Grandma often adds some pasta or dumplings instead of the rice - I don't think it really matters, as long as there's something to bulk it up a little.

3. Heat through until the rice is cooked and serve.

I am going to send Grandma the link to this blog - oh yes, I have a very technologically advanced Grandma - and I'm sure she'll correct me on where I've gone wrong, but I was pretty proud of myself. There's something very grown up about making your own soup from scratch. *Pats self on back and grins smugly*...

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