Friday, November 20, 2015

Lemon Chicken Soup

 For cool fall days not much beats a pot of homemade soup to warm you to your core. This week is one that called out for something hot, soothing and delicious, so Lemon Chicken Soup is what I cooked up for the family.

Lemon Chicken Soup
8 cups of homemade chicken broth is best or substitute with store bought
2 cup Orzo
3 cups shredded chicken
2 - 3 lemons for juice and jest
3 large eggs
salt and pepper to taste
Parboil one whole chicken and shred or pick up a precooked rotisserie chicken at the grocery. You will use approximately three cups of shredded chicken.
Pour eight cups of chicken broth into a large pot and let come to a boil.  Add two cups of  Orzo and allow to cook for about five minutes.  Reduce heat to simmer and add the shredded chicken to your pot.  In a separate bowl break open three large eggs and whisk.  Juice 2 - 3 lemons (remove any seeds) and add to the eggs and whisk mixture together.  Reserve some of the lemon zest from the lemons to add to the soup.  Temper your whisked eggs by taking one cup of the hot chicken broth and add it slowly to your egg and lemon mixture a little bit at a time whisking as you add the hot liquid.  Now you can slowly add your eggs to the pot of soup.  Allow to simmer for about 25 - 30 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.

 Enjoy your hearty bowl of lemon chicken soup!

What is your favorite soup?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Chicken Mull - A Southern Favorite Comfort Food

Graphic Courtesy of FPTFY
When I was a child we lived in the city and most of my father's birth family lived in the country.  They lived a couple of hours away but we visited often.  I loved going to my uncle Ed's and aunt Ethel's house around meal time because my aunt Ethel was a wonderful southern country cook and you were bound to be fed delightful, made from scratch, home cooked meals.

I giggle when I recall how she would busily, but happily, be running all around in the kitchen and would bring out about every pot, pan and dish she owned in preparation for her feasts.  There would be multiple runs to the root cellar and to the pantry, which was filled with her home grown and home canned fruits and vegetables. She was delightful!

Cast iron or stainless steel pots and pans and skillets filled her kitchen.  And her kitchen cabinets held mostly common ironstone dinnerware.  She had no fine china or silverware.  But every inch of her home was filled with love and her kitchen was filled with the best home cooked food you would ever want to put in your mouth.  And when you were there you knew you would not leave hungry!  

Most of the rest of my father's family lived near to my aunt and uncle and sometimes they would all just gather there when we came to visit. Come mealtime all of the women folk would gather in her huge country kitchen to help prepare the meal. It was a wonderful time in the kitchen and some of my fondest memories of my father's family were made right there in my aunt Ethel's kitchen. 

One of my favorite dishes that my aunt Ethel made was a dish called Chicken Mull.  I know that this is a southern dish and many of you may have never heard of it.  I also know the name of this dish is not a very appetizing sounding kind of name!  But it is a really good and satisfying and is a simple dish with not a lot of ingredients.  It's a family favorite comfort food for a cool weather, snuggle up kind of day. 

my version of my aunt Ethel's chicken mull
Ingredient list:
1 whole chicken (cooked and shredded) and the liquid that you cooked your chicken in
1 12 ounce can of evaporated milk
12 - 16 ounces of whole milk
if more liquid is needed add an additional quart of homemade or store brand chicken broth
2 tablespoons of butter or margarine
1 - 2 stacks or sleeves of saltine crackers
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a large pot cover one whole chicken with cold water and add some salt and pepper and cook until tender.  Once the chicken is done and fall off the bone tender, remove it from the pot and place it  on a plate.  Save the liquids left from cooking the chicken.  Allow the chicken to cool enough to handle so that you can remove the chicken and shred it.   Once shredded, place the chicken back in the pot
and add 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine, and if needed add a quart of homemade or store bought chicken broth, a 12 ounce can of evaporated milk and 12 to 16 ounces of whole milk.  Allow to come to a rolling boil.  Once a rolling boil has happened, take your stack (or two) of saltine crackers and break them up and add them to your pot.  Allow to boil for just a few minutes and then turn down to low heat allowing the crackers to cook a bit and absorb some liquid into them.  Season to your taste with salt and pepper. 
This recipe is very forgiving.  If you want it thicker add more saltines or less liquid.  Want it not so thick?  Just add more liquid.