For our family Christmas dinner, we had chicken relleno. Not just any chicken relleno but one stuffed with rice seasoned Spanish paella style. And I announced that to the whole internet before the chicken went into the oven. I also promised a recipe.
But there’s going to be no recipe because the stuffing didn’t come out as I expected. The rice did not get cooked through — despite the fact that I had soaked it for six hours prior to cooking. The grains were swollen after having absorbed so much water and they still did not cook properly. We had to scrape out the stuffing, transfer it into a bowl and I microwaved the paella-style rice for ten minutes while we sat staring at the empty cavity of the perfectly cooked chicken. It was torture having to wait like that.
The good thing is that despite the not-so-pretty presentation, Sam declared that it was delicious. She’s a tough critic so I knew I was getting the lowdown. I still have a jumbo chicken in the fridge and, maybe, I’ll make another rice-stuffed chicken relleno for the New Year’s Eve using parboiled rice this time.
So, there’s the rice stuffed chicken relleno on Christmas Day. Perfect from every angle until I started cutting the bird. At least I have this photo for posterity’s sake.
Now then, the soup… The chicken was deboned and I saved the bones. Last night, I used them to make this wonderful soup. A variation of the chick pea (garbanzo) soup, this version has chick peas and potatoes which were pureed together. The result is a smoother soup with a better consistency. The procedure is also simpler as there is no sautéing and the butter is only added toward the very end.
Recipe: Chick pea and potato soup
- Lots of chicken bones
- about 10 c. of water
- a whole onion, peeled and halved
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed and peeled
- 1 tsp. of peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 300 g. of potatoes, peeled and diced
- a can of chick peas, drained
- melted butter
- finely sliced onion leaves (scallions, spring onions)
- crisp fried shallots
- Put the chicken bones in a pot. Pour in enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, skimming off scum as it rises. Add the onion, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaf. Season lightly with salt. Cover and simmer for about half an hour.
- Turn up the heat. Add the potatoes and chick peas to the pot. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for an hour.
- Fish out the chicken bones and bay leaves, and discard.
- Scoop out the chick peas, potatoes, peppercorns, onion and garlic and put into the blender or food processor. Add about a cup of liquid. Process until smooth. The mixture will be thick.
- Pour the puree back into the pot with the rest of the broth. Bring to a simmer. Season with more salt, as needed.
- To serve: ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle about a tablespoonful of melted butter on top and sprinkle with onion leaves and crisp onion slices.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 40 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 6 to 8