Monday, November 2, 2009

Chicken Soup (A Canadian version of my mom's recipe)

My mom is from "The Islands", namely the Dominican Republic. She came to Canada in the 1950s and has been here ever since. When I was a little girl, she used to make this soup and everyone loved it. We lived in an inner city neighbourhood and my mom was the best cook around. The neighbours would come over for a bowl and she'd make some for the few Dominican ex-pats that there were in Canada in the 1970s. My mom's in a long term care facility now and no longer cooks. I make this soup from memory and always bring her some when I can. I'm documenting it so my daughters' will have this recipe and to share this soup with others. It's great comfort food and helps me when I'm on chemo.

Keep in mind this is not an exact science. My mom was always short on money and this was a great way to feed lots of people with whatever you had on hand.

My mom always put in Yucca/Cassava and green banana. Mine is the Canadian version and will leave it out.

Chicken Soup with Dumplings
(makes a big pot)
Printable Recipe

Chicken pieces (4-8 pieces will do)
3-4 large carrots, thickly sliced
5-6 medium sized potatoes (yellow or russet is fine) cut in chunks
1 large onion (whatever you have on hand - I used a yellow onion) cut into chunks
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 stalks of celery, sliced.
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 to 1 tsp poultry seasoning (to taste)
2 tbsp powdered chicken broth (use cubes or liquid broth - the idea is to enhance the chicken flavour)
1/2 green pepper, diced (seems odd but I love the subtle taste it adds to the soup once it's cooked)

Optional vegetables:
Green banana
Butternut squash
Green peas

1. Fill a large pot with cold water (I add about 8 cups of water) and bring to a boil
2. Meanwhile, remove skin from chicken pieces (in true West Indian style, my mom would leave the skin on)
3. Wash and season the chicken with salt and pepper. You could do this first and leave the chicken in the fridge until it's time for the pot.
4. Prepare the celery, green pepper, garlic and onion.
5. Once the water comes to a boil, drop in the first piece of chicken. Wait until the water comes back to a boil before adding the next piece of chicken, etc. I find this keeps the water clear and you don't need to skim anything off the top.
6. Add the celery, green pepper, garlic and onion to the boiling water.
7. Add the chicken broth, poultry seasoning
8. Bring the heat to low and cover the pot. Let the chicken simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. It's done when the chicken meat falls off the bone.
9. At this point I strain the soup and remove the bones and leave just the chicken meat (Canadian version) in the pot. My mom wouldn't have bothered with this. I guess part of the enjoyment of the meal is to pick the chicken off the bones when you're eating the soup.
10. Before you continue, taste the soup and adjust the amount of salt, pepper, garlic, etc. until it tastes "seasoned enough".
11. Add the carrots and the potatoes. At this point you can add optional vegetables. My mom often added green peas (for colour and to use up what was in the fridge), cassava and green banana.
12. Cover the soup and cook until the vegetables are done.
13. Taste the soup again before serving. You may need to add more salt, poultry seasoning or chicken powder.
14. About 20 minutes before eating the soup, prepare and add the dumplings. Use your favourite recipe if you wish. I just love the way the dumplings thicken the soup.
15. Pour into a large bowl and enjoy!

I've added the recipe for dumplings that I use. This isn't my mom's recipe but it comes pretty close.

1 cup All purpose flour
2 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Butter or margerine
1/2 cup Milk

Stir flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together in medium sized bowl. cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in milk to make soft dough. Drop by spoonfuls into boiling soup. Cover and simmer 15 minutes without lifting lid. Serve. Makes about 6 dumplings.

No comments: