Sunday 3 March 2013

Middle-Eastern Chicken Soup

Eating certain foods, even their smell, has the power to take you back in time. There's the obvious dishes associated with certain countries and there's the more subtle - corn-on-the-cob, for example, will always make me think of childhood summers spent in Hungary, Spanish rosĂ© - of one particular, pebbly beach on Ibiza Island and a chilled, cut up Mars bar (this is the only way I ever eat a Mars bar now) takes me straight back to a tent in the Himalayas. This is precisely why I haven't eaten this soup in about 3 years, even though there was a time when it was one of my favourites. We used to eat it nearly every Sunday in my last long-term relationship,  the stock made from the bones left over from our lunchtime roast - sometimes this was chicken, more often it was game birds. Perhaps it was less often than that, and this is just how I've remembered that period. Either way, it has always reminded me of the sweet moments in that relationship, which I didn't want to be reminded of for a very long time. Now, I don't mind anymore
You cook the chicken carcass with an onion in a large pan of water for as long as you can - I usually manage 2-3 hours. Remove the meat and the onion from the pan and add the (rinsed) rice. Once the rice is cooked, season the soup well with salt and pepper and put any nice bits of chicken meat back in. Take it off the heat. Beat the eggs, add a spoonful of soup and carry on beating, then add some more. Keep doing this for a little white before adding the mixture back into the soup and beating all together - the idea is that the soup becomes creamy without the egg curdling in it. Finally, stir in the lemon juice and serve. I love sour things, so I may squeeze more lemon in, but I would suggest you start off with just the one and see how it goes. There isn't much that I don't love about this soup - it's comforting and creamy, wholesome and healing, it fills you up without making you feel stuffed


Chicken carcass
1 onion
100g rice
2 eggs
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

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