Monday, December 08, 2008

Perfect Winter Soup

It's cold and windy where I live, definately soup weather! I love making soup and usually it's a weekend activity, because I love the whole process and like to do it all from scratch, including making stock or the broth. But, when you don't get home from work until 6 pm and you MUST have real soup, there's always a way to find shortcuts in the kitchen and still have a great warming meal. You'll have this on the table in about 40 minutes or less. Gosh, now I sound like Rachel Ray!

Chicken Corn Soup with Rivels is a traditional, hearty Amish soup that warms you body and soul. I learned to make this soup at a church soup supper in Rosedale, MD. It's got quirky little Rivels, that I just adore. They're like random bits of noodle dumplings floating in your soup, but tons easier than making old fashioned noodle. This recipe perfectly divides in half, important to know if your family is only 2 people like mine. This is one chewy soup. Let's get cooking!

Shortcut Chicken Corn Soup

1 store bought rotisserie chicken,meat removed or about 2 cups of cooked chicken
1 pk (20-oz) frozen corn
3 qt chicken stock ( 2 boxes of good chicken broth/stock )
8 tablespoons butter
1 sm onion; peeled, chopped
4 ribs celery,sliced thinly
1Bay Leaf
2 cans (17-oz) creamed corn

Ingredients for Rivels
2 Eggs; beaten
2 c Flour
1 pinch Salt

Soup Garnish
4 Hard boiled eggs; peeled & diced or sliced
1 tb Chopped parsley

Instructions for Chicken Corn Soup with Rivels
In a large soup pot, melt the butter. Add in the celery and onion and cook slowly until softened, but not browed. If you don't already have hard boiled eggs, get them started now. Or wait until you decide if you really want them and do them micorwave style at the end. I'll tell you how later. Add the broth and bay leaf. Simmer broth and vegetable about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Add the package of frozen corn kernels.

Time for Rivels!
Rivels are pretty straight forward and I don't think anyone can mess them up! Not even the most kitchen challenged. In fact, this is the perfect, no fail soup!

Here's the Rivel ingredients again.
2 Eggs; beaten
2 c Flour
1 pinch Salt
Stir the flour and salt into the beaten eggs. It's going to be dense and gluey, but that's ok. If it's really dry and you don't have nice clumps of dough forming like in the picture, add just a teeny bit of water. You don't want it wet, but it does need to clump. It should get too messy for your spoon and you start thinking you should have done this with your hands. That's good! In fact, that is just when the dough is perfect! Get those fingers in there and work out your frustrations.

Now the fun part..... with your broth just simmering, grab up a handful of rivel dough. Roughly pinch off little bits, no larger than an inch, and drop them into the soup. I like them best when I've somewhat flattened the little rivel before I've dropped it in, so it's like a fat noodle chunk. They kind of look like clouds in your soup.
They only take a couple minutes to cook depending on their thickness. If you like a little more chew to your soup, make rivels a bit thicker.

Adding the rivels really thickens the soup, keep your heat low so you don't scorch the bottom or have your broth cook off! Almost done. By the time you've added your last rivel, it's time to add in the cans of creamed corn and the chicken meat.
Now you've got to consider this garnish business. The soup if perfectly fine right now. In fact its significantly better than just fine. The traditional garnish is a bit of sliced or diced hard boiled egg and a sprinkle of fresh parsley. I almost never have fresh parsley, so you know that's not going to be on the top of my soup. But I do like the egg finish.

The Viking does not like hard boiled eggs, so it hardly seems like the electricity and water it takes to hard boil 1 egg is worth the effort. I do mine in the microwave. Have you ever tried it? Just crack your egg into a microwavable cup, I usually use a measuring cup, and nuke it for between 25 and 30 seconds. The egg pops right out and you can chop up all the egg garnish you want!

Taste the soup for seasoning, you may want to add a bit of salt. I always add pepper and a splash of Tabasco.Usually the stock and canned corn is salty enough for me, but I do sometimes add about a teaspoon smoked paprika, but that's just me and not at all traditional to this soup.

Of course, if you were lucky enough to find this on your kitchen counter when you came home from work with thoughts of soup on your mind, then the ideal garnish becomes apparent. Who wants to come have dinner at my house?

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