Saturday, February 23, 2008

WCC 25 -- Nigella's soup

This month’s Weekend Cookbook Challenge (#25) was hosted by Ani at Foodiechickie. As a theme, the task was to cook something created by Nigella Lawson. Now, I have two of Nigella’s books on my shelf, but I have never found the time to actually cook anything from them, so this was good incentive for me to either use ‘em or lose ‘em. With all the sweet-stuff I’ve been baking recently, I searched for something that met two requirements: it was a savory recipe and all ingredients were in my pantry. Since I’m a big soup fan, I decided to fix the cream of chicken soup from How to Eat, with only a few minor adjustments. The result was a delicious dinner, especially when paired with homemade bread and a salad.

Cream of chicken soup is not particularly photogenic, but it is very tasty. Be sure to check out the other

Cream of Chicken Soup

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 regular leek, white part only, sliced very finely

1 ¼ cups chicken stock

1 ¼ cups milk

2 bay leaves

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 6-ounce chicken breast

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

pinch of salt

pinch of ground mace

1 egg yolk

3 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream

Put 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy saucepan, melt it, and add the leeks, cooking until soft. In a separate pan, put the stock, milk, bay leaves, garlic clove, and chicken breast. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the chicken is just tender, about 10 minutes. A few minutes before the chicken is cooked, the leeks should be ready. Add the flour to the leek mixture and cook on low heat, stirring, for a few minutes.

Remove the chicken and pour the milk mixture into the leek mixture, stirring while doing so. Bring this mixture just to the boiling point, stirring occasionally. At the same time, shred the chicken breast, and add it the the hot milk-leek mixture. Add the salt and mace, and continue to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the remaining butter, and continue to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes.

Finish the soup in one of 3 ways: 1. Pour the soup into a blender, about 1 cup at a time and then pour back into the saucepan, through a strainer; 2. use a stick blender in the saucepan; or 3. leave as is, with chunks of chicken.

Place back on low heat to warm up, if necessary. Meanwhile, mix the egg yolk and heavy cream. Take the soup off the heat, and stir in the egg yolk/cream mixture. Season to taste.

Serves 1 or 2.

From: How to Eat by Nigella Lawson (page 143)

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