“Soup breathes reassurance, it offers consolation; after a weary day it promotes sociability … there is nothing like a bowl of hot soup, its wisp of aromatic steam teasing the nostrils into quivering anticipation” (The Soup Book, 1949). Soups have been around for a very long time perhaps, as long as cooking, and it’s understandable why; boiling a pot of water with herbs, spices, veggies, pulses or meat and voile you have dinner on the table tickling your senses, I guess that attitude has been there since fire. And did you know the word “Resturant” actually comes from soup. Soup was a casual just your regular dish until when the French actually turned it into gourmet. In the 1500’s a bowl of broth was sold in France that was concentrated and inexpensive called a “resturant” and in 1765 a Parisian entrepreneur decided to open a shop specifically speciizing in these hearty soupy bowls. People took to the idea so much that resturant became associated to a place where you prepare, sit and eat food. The rest is ofcourse history.
As the time of year approaches when the. summer heat retreats and gives way to autumnal breeze and winter chills, it’s what the soul of the season is that leaves everyone yearning: Soups. The dreary winter nights and chilly days inclines you to warm up your house and yourself with the wafting mouth-watering aromas of brewing soups laden with spices and fresh herbs and fresh vegetables. My love for winters comes with my love for soups as my home is filled with tantalizing aroma of it hanging so thickly in the air, you could almost take a bite out of it and as I sit down to gulp it all down, I can’t help but savor the goodness that is a bowl of soup. It’s savoury, hearty, warming and glossy sight wraps around you in a lusciosuness that you would almost deem as a cosy blanket.
I have a thing for soups, See! for me it’s always an entreè and that is why it has to be fulfilling and satiating. I am not one of those who have soup as an appetizer, No – I love my soups as mains for my dinner and that is enough to keep me satisfied. I admit though, come winters, I am stewing soups every other day. It’s just s shame I don’t get to blog them as often as I want to. Today, it was an extremely chilly day in UK and it demanded a warm earthy soup with vigorous and robust flavours. One that as you sip, you feel your being being wrapped around the warmth of it and a soup that would punch your taste buds awake. This Chicken Corn and Mushroom soup is exactly that.
I grew up in a household where this soup was very common and very much loved. i think I am right when I say that this soup is the favourite soup of the people of Pakistan. If we had a national soup, it would be hands down Chicken Corn Soup. Every winter the most of the soup we had was the Chicken Corn soup or the Hot and sour soup and let me tell you, I never got tired of them then and I can never have enough now. Yes, I have altered my mother’s Chicken Corn soup recipe by adding mushrooms to it but it’s still a reminiscent of my childhood winters back growing up in Saudi Arabia.
The Soup is pretty simple and basically cooks itself. The best bit about the soup are it’s side condiments, hot sauce, soya sauce and chopped green chillies soaking in vinegar. Put a side of bread croutons and soup crackers and it’s a meal that stuffs you good. Also, when you add the corn to it, it’s best to coarsely grind them in a blender to extract the full corn flavour in the soup and a pop of bits of corn in your mouth every other mouthful if like a like a little flavour boost pop.
Traditionally, as I have had it all my life, it’s basically boiled chicken broth spiced with salt and pepper and sauces like hot sauce, soya sauce and pickled green chillies with a beaten egg swirled in and cornflour to thicken the soup. I vouch for it being amazing in its simplest form if you would like to make it that way. However, what I have done differently is I have added sauteed onions and mushrooms to my broth to give it a little more vigour and depth of flavour. It really uplifts the soup. Another important top for an extremely flavourful soup is to not use boneless chicken when making it, always use chicken on the bone. It makes a huge difference believe you me. All the scrumptiously dominant flavour comes from the juice a of the bone and so I highly recommend and prefer chicken on the bone.
There are a number of ways you can serve this, with garlic bread, cheese toasts, croutons, crackers and I even served it with a caramelized onion and rosemary foccacia, the recipe of which I will be uploading soon. All in all, any kind of bread goes exceptionally well with this. Also, if you not a spice lover go easy on the pickled green chillies because they are tiny to look at once chopped and soaked in vinegar but it’s an explosion of heat once they pop in your mouth.
Dive right into this threaded textured satiating bowl of a soup. It will warm you cosy any winter day.
1. Chicken on the bone — 1 kg
2. Mushrooms chopped — 14-16
3. Onion chopped — 1
4. Corn coarsely blended — 1 cup
5. Chicken stock cube — 1
6. Salt — 1 tsp
7. Black pepper — 2 tsp
8. Hot sauce — 4 tsp
9. Soya sauce — 4 tsp
10. White vinegar — 4 tsp
11. Corn flour dissolved in water — 4 Tbsp
12. Egg beaten — 2
13. Bread croutons To serve
14. Prawn crackers To serve
15. Green chillies in vinegar To serve
16. Oil — 2 tbsp
17. Water — 8 cups
a. In a cooking pot, add oil and saute the onions and mushrooms until soft. Do not brown the onions.
b. Add the washed chicken pieces and add water.
c. Once the chicken is boiled, take out the chicken pieces and shred them off the bones. Discard the bones.
d. Add salt, chicken stock cube, shredded chicken, coarsely blended corn, black pepper, hot sauce, and vinegar and soya sauce to the soup and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
e. Beat the egg and carefully incorporate it in the soup all the while constantly stirring the soup. It will give the soup the threaded texture.
f. Dissolve corn flour in water and add to the soup. Let it cook for a couple of minutes and add more if desired.
g. Serve the soup with croutons, prawn crackers and soup condiments.
~ Other Winter recipes you might like ~