Share this

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sometimes, you just need a little bit of comfort (food)!

Here in the Smith household, Monday nights in fall mean one thing - FOOTBALL!! And since I was fortunate enough to have the night off, and my week 1 fantasy win wouldn't be secure until my running back played (thank you, Morris!), I didn't want to be standing in the kitchen cooking when I could be sitting in the living room talking smack and watching my points. So.....dinner was going to be E-A-S-Y.  I wanted to throw something on the stove and occasionally check on it.  And since my parents, sister, husband and I just cooked, cut and froze 24 dozen ears of corn (yes....24!), I figured tonight would be a perfect night for chicken corn soup.  Now, here's something that you need to know about me and soup.  Soup out of a can = GROSS!  My husband found this out about one month into our relationship when he was sick and I asked if he wanted me to bring him anything.  He answered "chicken corn soup" expecting me to show up with a can.  Imagine his surprise when I showed up with bags full of ingredients and told him to give me an hour or so.  But, I digress....

One thing that baffles me is that many people are surprised when I tell them I make homemade soup all the time.  One person even confessed that she wouldn't know how to make soup if she wanted to.  The thing people don't realize is how easy it is!  If you can boil water, you can make soup.  I swear!  And chicken corn soup is one of my favorites.  Living in PA, this is one that I have eaten my entire life.  It is a big Pennsylvania Dutch recipe, along with shoo fly pie, whoopie pies, fastnachts, pork and sauerkraut, and chicken pot pie (the kind with the noodles.  The one with the crust is simply a chicken pie.  I don't care what you say, it's true).  And soup is so forgiving.  You can add and delete ingredients as you see fit.  As long as it tastes good, nothing is wrong!  Of course, I couldn't just make the soup.  My favorite thing to eat with any soup is homemade corn bread.  Consider this post a two for one!  First things first, though.  Let's make some soup!

PA Dutch Chicken Corn Soup
To make the stock:
Two whole bone in, skin on chicken breasts
3 Medium Carrots, cut in big chunks
1/2 White onion, skinned and cut in big chunks
1-2 T fresh parsley
1-2 t fresh thyme
Salt to taste

For the Soup:
5 pints of frozen corn.  Or you can use a couple dozen of fresh corn, blanched and cut off the cob.

And finally, let's make rivlets! (which are pretty much like little dumplings)
2 c Flour
Pinch salt
2 Eggs

Tools needed:
BIG pot
Gravy separator (optional)

To make the stock, add the chicken, herbs, salt, carrot, onion, and enough water to cover the chicken breasts together in a big pot and boil.  No, seriously.  That's chicken stock.  You want the veggies and chicken to flavor the stock, and, of course, fresh herbs to add even more flavor.  You want to boil it down until the stock turns a pretty yellow color.  Warning - at first it will be gray and pretty unappetizing looking.  This will pass, I promise!

Once the stock is pretty and yellow, turn off the heat and remove the chicken and set it aside to cool.

Run the stock through a strainer into a big bowl to remove the veggies.  You can snack on the carrots or throw them out, it's up to you.  I just tossed them.

 Let stock sit and skim fat of the top. I use a gravy separator (I promise if you don't have one of these you need one.  It makes life easy!).  Put stock back in big pot and cook over medium heat.

Not the most colorful, but boy is it good!
In the meantime, remove the skin from the chicken and pull meat off bone.  Either tear or cut into bite sized pieces and add back into the stock.  Add the corn and bring the entire mixture to a boil.  I turn the heat up a bit until it gets there, and then back it off to medium.

 Once the soup is boiling, make the rivlets.  Rivlets are pretty much like little dumplings.  No chicken corn soup is complete without these, in my opinion. To make the rivlets combine flour and salt in a bowl and crack eggs into the flour.  Mix with your fingers until flour is moistened, and just gradually sprinkle and stir mixture into the boiling soup.  If you need more salt at that point, add it!  Remember, soup is forgiving.  You can tailor it to your liking. And that's it!  I let it continue to simmer while I make the cornbread. (or for 5 minutes, or for an're not going to mess this up.  I cannot stress this enough).

Now, on to the cornbread.  Homemade corn bread is kind of like an addiction for me.  And my biggest complaint with cornbread recipes is it can end up being too dry pretty easily.  So I found and tried a couple corn bread recipes and then found one that was close to what I wanted.  Then I tweaked it.  My additions worked!  I came out with a moist, sweet cornbread that I ate with the soup, ate the next day for breakfast, ate as a snack.  I seriously can't get enough of this!

Sweet Corn Bread
1/2 c Canola oil
2/3 c Sugar
1 Egg
1 c 2% Milk (I like 2% because the slightly higher fat content makes the bread moist.  If you're feeling especially sinful, you could use whole milk. Just avoid anything less than 2%)
1 c Flour
1 c Yellow corn meal
3 t Baking powder
Pinch of salt

Favorite.  Thing.  EVER!
Preheat oven to to 400 degrees.  Grease an 8x8 inch baking pan or spray with nonstick cooking spray (I like Crisco).

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, egg, and milk.  Once that is well mixed, add flour, corn meal, baking powder and salt.  Stir together until just mixed.

Pour batter into baking pan and bake for 25 minutes.

Viola! Home made soup and corn bread, it really doesn't get any better.  It's comfort food at its finest.  And, I got to watch the game.

No comments:

Post a Comment