Sunday, 3 May 2009

Childhood memories-Chicken soup, true comfort food

Whenever I'm feeling a bit down or unwell I always crave something that will make me feel warm inside.



When I was a child, I always spent my school holidays in Portugal. The first few days were filled with coughs and sneezes as my body adapted to the change in temperature.

The Portuguese have a sure cure for this- a clear chicken soup, with added mint and lemon.
The combination, truly delicious and comforting.
I found myself craving that today, and although I didn't stick to the original recipe which asks for home-made Chicken stock, it turned out just as delicious.
A true childhood memory.

What about you, what childhood foods do you crave for?



Chicken with Mint, Rice and Lemon
adapted from "The Food of Portugal"
Canja

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into thin wedges
4 parsley sprigs
4 strips lemon zest (the colored part of the rind), each about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide
1 sprig fresh mint
2 quarts rich chicken broth
1/3 cup raw rice, cooked separately by package directions*
3-4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint
salt, to taste
1/8 teaspoon white or black pepper

Garnish:
A small sprig of mint and some lemon if you like

Simmer the chicken breast with the onion, parsley, lemon zest, and mint sprig in the chicken stock in a covered heavy saucepan over low heat 30-40 minutes until cooked through. Remove chicken breast and cool. Strain the broth through a sieve and return to the pan. Boil the stock uncovered 8-10 minutes to reduce slightly. Meanwhile, cut chicken breasts into large julienne, and add to the broth along with the cooked rice, lemon juice, chopped mint, salt (optional- I didn't need any), and pepper. Heat 2-3 minutes. Ladle into soup plates, float a mint-sprigged lemon slices in each portion, and serve.

*I cooked 1/3 cup raw, white rice in 2/3 cup boiling water (in a small covered saucepan) for about 15 minutes or until all water was absorbed.

2 comments:

  1. I crave my mum's Queen of Puddings. If you haven't tried it, it's a base of breadcrumbs baked in custard, then covered in the best quality jam (raspberry is good), then topped in light meringue.

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  2. We make this in Spain! Sopita de Arroz as my grandmother calls it! Delicious!!

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