I don’t want to brag but this soup is something you really ought to experience. Not just taste it but experience it totally. Savor the aroma, enjoy the texture and the subtle flavors.
This new recipe did not exactly come by accident. You know, the way I rummage through the fridge and combine whatever is available. See, I’ve been having hyperacidic bouts for the past couple of days. Too much red meat, I guess, and not enough veggies. So, I wanted something light for lunch today. Light, in the sense that everything in the dish would be easy to digest but still filling enough so I wouldn’t feel too deprived.
I used a whole chicken to make this soup dish. I boiled it, unchopped, to make a good broth. When the meat was cooked, I cut off the thighs and legs and grilled them for the kids. The rest went into the soup.
This soup doesn’t cook in a jiffy since the chicken has to be simmered for quite a while to make a flavorful broth for the base of the soup. But the waiting time is worth it. I wish I can describe the aroma that permeated the kitchen during the last ten minutes of cooking. :) Whetting the appetite with the aroma of food has never been more true.
- To make the broth :
- 1 whole chicken about a kilo in weight
- 1 whole onion
- 1 whole garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 5-6 peppercorns
- 1 bunch of leeks
- To complete the soup :
- 3-4 tbsps. of olive oil
- 2 large white onions
- 6 plump tomatoes
- 3-4 celery stalks
- 1 head of cabbage
- 2-3 tbsps. of finely sliced black fungus or wood ears, locally known as taingang daga
- 3 tsps. of sliced fresh basil leaves or 1 and 1/2 tsps. if using dried
- 3 tsps. of finely sliced fresh parsley or 1 and 1/2 tsps. dried parsley flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
Place the chicken in a large casserole and cover with water. Add the whole garlic, onion, peppercorns, bay leaf and leeks. Bring to a boil, skimming off scum as it rises. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for an hour and a half to two hours or until the chicken is cooked through. You may need to add more water since you will be needing about 6-8 c. of broth to complete the dish. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate and cool. Strain the broth and set aside.
Pull the chicken meat from the bones and shred coarsely. Discard the bones.
Finely slice the two onions. Dice the tomatoes. Trim the celery stalks and slice as thinly as you can. Cut the cabbage into quarters, cut off the hard core and shred the leaves coarsely (about half an inch wide).
If using dried black fungus, soak in lukewarn water for about 20 minutes to rehydrate before cutting.
Heat the olive oil in a casserole. Add the sliced onions and cook over medium heat until limp. Add the diced tomatoes and continue cooking until the tomatoes soften a bit. Add the shredded cabbage and cook, tossing, until the leaves wilt a little. Pour in the broth. Bring to a boil. Add the shredded chicken, basil, parsley and black fungus. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for ten minutes.