Thursday, November 19, 2015

Chicken And Rice and Hot and Sour Soup For The Ailing.

Rosie never gets sick.  She doesn't even remember the last time she was sick, if at all.  The streak is over.  I have succumbed to the recent germs in my house emitted from people less healthy than I.  My head feels like a large rubber band is tightly wrapped around it.  My throat hurts. My ears are bothering me.  My eyes are stinging and burning and very tired.  My voice is raspy.  I'm all congested.  I have fits of coughing and sneezing.  I have chills and a FEVER.  And my eyelashes hurt.  Rosie is not a happy camper.

Rosie needs sustenance.  Tout de suite.

I wanted something soothing and, more importantly, something I didn't have to make.
I guess you know where this is going...

My first thought was to call The Saltbox Café, right up the road, hoping their Crab Bisque would be the soup de jour.  It wasn't; however, they had a Chinese soup with pork, which I've never had before or even seen on the menu.  I wanted that soup.  I really wanted that soup.  I turned to Mr. Hawthorne who just looked at me and said, "You going out in this crap to get a carton of soup?"  (It's been pouring all night and day and I'm loving it.)  "No," I said, "You are, because I'm sick."  Mr. H.: "Ain't gonna happen."


So, that's how I ended up making a kick-ass Chinese Chicken and Rice Hot and Sour Soup.
It soothed my soul and made me a better person.
 I went down to the utility room to my walk-in dead-on-its-last-legs freezer.  Mr. Hawthorne has amassed two full-sized freezers downstairs, along with a refrigerator/freezer.  This is in addition to the refrigerator/freezer in the kitchen upstairs.  Issues, has he.

I emerged with a quart of my glistening, sparkling, jewel-like chicken consommé.
 Rosie's Chinese Chicken and Rice Hot and Sour Soup
1 quart chicken consommé
1 chicken thigh, thinly sliced while slightly frozen, sprinkled in abundance with soy sauce
1 TB unsalted butter 
1 TB peanut oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1-inch cube of ginger, peeled and finely sliced
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 TB soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal 
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup frozen peas
1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns, ground
dried red cayenne pepper, thinly sliced
scallions, sliced
Kosher salt, to taste

In a medium saucepan heat the oil and butter over medium high heat.  Add in the chicken strips in a single layer and sear on the first side.  Toss in the garlic and ginger, turn the chicken over, add some more soy sauce, and cook the second side.  Set aside.

Combine consommé, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, carrots, and celery.  Cook over medium heat until carrots are tender.  Add in cooked rice.  Throw in frozen peas at the end just to heat through.  Add Szechuan pepper and season with salt to taste.  

To serve, ladle soup into bowls, add chicken strips, garlic, and ginger, and top with sliced cayenne pepper and scallions.

And the flavor only intensifies...
Next day I served it with a few squirts of Sriracha sauce.
Most excellent.

I loved this.
It warmed both my innards and my heart.
Soup can do that.

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