Thursday, December 10, 2009

Egg Drop Soup

This has got to be one of the easiest soups known to man. With 3 basic ingredients (2 if you're my husband) and very little time, you can whip this up as an accompaniment to a larger meal or serve as a light lunch by itself.

Egg Drop Soup
Total Time: 10 minutes

4 cups chicken stock
2 eggs - beaten
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
salt to taste
powdered ginger - optional
green onion tops - sliced thinly - optional for garnish
soy sauce - optional - for garnish

1. Bring stock to a boil - add a bit of ginger if you like.
2. Mix cornstarch with 4 Tablespoons water and stir until smooth.
3. Pour cornstarch into stock - whisking constantly - until thickened.
4. Stir the thickened stock in one direction and pour the eggs into the swirling liquid so that they cook into thin ribbons.
5. Salt to taste and ladle into bowls. Add green onion and soy sauce to the top of each bowl, if desired.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Maque Choux Soup

Maque Choux Soup
Maque Choux (pronounced mock SHOE) is a Native American dish that was snagged and flavor boosted by the Cajuns. Most often I've seen it listed as a side dish, but in some areas it's also served as a soup.

I made the traditional version for to be included in a recipe section for Disney's The Princess and the Frog. If you hit that site and click on 'community' and then 'cooking' you'll find seven of my Cajun-inspired recipes there.

I took that recipe and turned it into a colorful soup. There are several things to keep in mind when making this:

1. Cut all the vegetables into a small dice - just larger than the corn kernels so that everything will cook uniformly.
2. You don't need bacon in this, but it adds a smoky dimension that I really like.
3. Other than the first boil to bring it up to temperature, do NOT boil this soup. A simmer is all that is necessary.
4. A beurre maniér is achieved by kneading together 1/4 cup all-purpose flour with 1/4 cup unsalted butter. In fact, the name means 'kneaded butter'.

Maque Choux Soup
Printable Recipe
Ready In: 50 minutes
Serves: 8

4 ounces bacon - diced small (freeze for a few minutes to make slicing easier)
3 cloves garlic - minced
1 Tablespoon minced shallot
2 stalks celery - diced small
1 cup red onion - diced small
1 cup each red, yellow and green pepper - diced small
3 cups fresh corn or frozen sweet corn
6 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves or 2 Tablespoons fresh
1 bay leaf
2 cups peeled, seeded and diced tomato
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups half and half
beurre maniér to thicken

1. Saute together bacon, garlic, shallot, celery, onion, peppers and corn until they start to 'sweat', or leach juices.
2. Add stock, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Add tomato and cook for 10 minutes more.
4. Remove bay leaf, pour in half and half and thicken with beurre maniér by pinching off small pieces and whisking into soup. Once all the thickener is added simmer gently for 10 minutes until thick and smooth.

*Note- Beurre Manier is French for "kneaded butter". It consists of equal parts four to butter. Combine flour and butter and knead until well combined. Add a small amount at a time to a simmering liquid and whisk until smooth. Add more as needed.