Sunday, May 3, 2015

Moroccan Chicken Rice Soup !

   Although out in California,we are experiencing balmy Spring weather,I would imagine that in other parts of our country,there are still chilly days and nights,when a hot bowl of soup still warms the tummy ! This recipe for Moroccan Chicken Rice Soup has been a favorite in my family since my three daughters were wee little ones,especially when one of them was laid up with a cold and I carried a warm bowl up the stairs to her in bed.We fell in love with the variety of herbs and spices that are called for, which makes it so different from the more subdued versions of chicken noodle soup found in America.I found the recipe called Chicken Soup with Vermicelli in a fabulous cookbook called "Mediterranean,Over 300 Sun-Drenched Recipes."I changed the original recipe,omitting the parsnip,sometimes the chicken,adding celery,potato,and substituting brown or wild rice instead of the noodles,although I love linguini noodles in it ! In Morocco,usually the most senior female of the house,uses a whole chicken for this soup. It is a good recipe to double and freeze half, for a future dinner,or to take to a loved one who is sick.
                              Moroccan Chicken Rice Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion,chopped
2 chicken legs or breast pieces,
   halved or quartered (optional)
seasoned flour for dusting
2 carrots,cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 parsnip,cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (optional)
2 stalks celery,cut into 1 inch pieces
2-4 small potatoes,cut into 1 inch pieces
6 cups chicken stock
1 stick cinnamon stick
a good pinch of paprika
a pinch of saffron strands
2 egg yolks
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
5 ounces vermicelli,or linguini,or 1/2 cup brown or wild rice
salt and ground black pepper
   rustic bread,to serve

   Heat the oil and butter in a large cast-iron enamel or steel pan. Fry the onion 3-4 minutes until softened.(If you don't wish to add the chicken,you can leave the next step out.) Dust the chicken pieces in seasoned flour and fry gently until evenly browned.Put the chicken on a plate. Add the vegetables to the pan.Cook over low-medium heat for 3-5 minutes,stirring frequently until the vegetables are 1/2 cooked. Remove the vegetables to the plate.Add the stock,cinnamon stick,paprika,salt,pepper,and the rice.
   Bring the soup to a boil with the rice,cover,and simmer for about 40 minutes,until the rice is cooked. Add the vegetables to the pot and cook until they are tender.While the soup is cooking,mix the saffron with 2 tablespoons of boiling water or the broth.
   Beat the egg yolks with the lemon juice in a separate small bowl.Add the chopped parsley and cilantro.When the saffron water has cooled,stir it into the egg and lemon mixture.
   Skin,bone,and chop the chicken into bite-size pieces.You can also skin the chicken and leave the pieces whole.
   Reduce the heat and stir 2 tablespoons of the broth into the egg,lemon and saffron mixture.Then stir this mixture and the chicken into the soup. Cook over very low heat for 1-2 minutes.Taste to see if the soup needs more lemon juice,paprika,saffron,salt,or pepper. Adjust the seasonings and serve with a green salad and rustic bread !
  ( If using noodles,they can be added at the same time as the vegetables and cooked as long as the package says.)
   Eat this Heavenly soup by candlelight with a loved one,your family,or by yourself along with a good French movie like La Gloire de Mon Pere !
             Que Dieu Vous Benise et Bon Apetit.....God Bless You and Happy Eating !

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