Monday, December 17, 2012

Thai coconut chicken soup

One rotisserie chicken goes a long way. I bought one last weekend and we had it four ways: a Friday night dinner of drumsticks and fries with Swiss Chalet sauce from a package, then chicken breast and arugula baguette sandwiches for lunches, then homemade chicken stock and the rest of the meat to make this soup!

Thai coconut chicken soup

4 cups chicken stock
1 400-ml can unsweetened coconut milk
2 small red chiles, finely sliced and no seeds
1 lemongrass stalk, cut into long pieces
3 Tbsp fish sauce (or soy sauce, but then omit the salt)
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
pinch of salt
6 cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded 
juice of half a lime
3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Bring the chicken stock and coconut milk to a boil in a stock pot.

Reduce heat and add the chiles, lemongrass, fish sauce, ginger and salt. Simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Add in the mushrooms, chicken and lime juice. Simmer for five minutes. Remove the lemongrass and sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Fish chowder with onion and cheddar scones

Our parents took turns staying with us after the babies were born. They cooked for us and we were so thankful because we had no time to feed ourselves. After a week of gross hospital food, home cooking tasted incredible! They're all great cooks. This soup is among my favourites from those early days with newborns. It's my mom's recipe and it's delicious, filling and comforting.

You can use any fish but it's best to do a combo of sturdy fishes (halibut, tilapia, monkfish, lobster, etc.) and delicate ones, like haddock and sole. The sturdy fishes hold together to add chunkiness, whereas the delicate ones fall apart and add to the texture of the broth. My mom added a small piece of smoked fish, which took the flavour to an even deeper dimension. I recently made this again with onion and cheddar scones from Joy of Cooking.

Fish chowder

olive oil for frying
two medium onions, finely chopped
three celery stalks, finely chopped
torn celery leaves
two medium carrots, finely chopped
small new potatoes, I used one bag of "little gems", quartered
assorted fishes — haddock, turbot, B.C. perch, small piece of smoked haddock, cut into chunks
evaporated milk, one can
milk (same amount as evaporated milk)
herbs — two bay leaves, basil, herbes de Provence, oregano
one carton fish or chicken stock
one Tbsp flour, or enough to thicken the broth
salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot on medium heat, fry the onion, carrot and celery stalks in oil until soft. Add the potatoes, pepper and herbs (save the salt for the end as you might not need it).

Add the fish or chicken stock and enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes and veggies are soft.

Add the evaporated milk and milk, bring up to a simmer, then add the fish. Stir often to prevent burning in the bottom.

Pour a little bit of extra milk in a lidded container and add the flour. Fasten the lid tightly and shake to dissolve the flour. (If lumpy, pour into pot through a sieve.) Simmer until thickened. Add celery leaves and salt to taste. Stir continuously to prevent burning and serve when thickened.

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