Saturday, May 2, 2009

From leftover chicken to spicy Asian-style soup

We had friends over for dinner one night and cooked a whole chicken that had been marinated in lemon and parsley. There was quite a bit of meat left on the bird when we were through (four hearty meals and two lunches later: $12, organic, free-range, definitely worth it), and I didn't want to waste the tastiness of the marinade, so I threw the chicken in a pot and boiled it into stock with leftover meat. I didn't want to make the same old chicken soup, so I scrounged around online for something different. I had almost all of the ingredients on hand, but had never made anything like it before. I love anything with peanut butter, but add these flavors and I'm in heaven. Our friend from South Africa brought back a red pepper paste: Hot & Sweet Mazavaroo. I want to use it, but I rarely find the right occasion. The mazavaroo worked quite well in this soup as a substitute for chopped red chili pepper.

Malaysian Lemon Peanut Chicken Soup

1 3 lb chicken (you can use leftover carcass)
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp red pepper chili paste (or if you have mazavaroo on hand...)
2 cans of coconut milk
2 chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 diced red pepper
1/2 cup sliced cabbage
3 tbsp ginger, in slivers
2 tbsp chopped garlic
2 cups of water
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp peanut butter
3 scallions; sliced
1 tbsp fresh coriander/cilantro; chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Make stock out of a leftover chicken carcass: this is always going to make better soup than cubed or canned stock. Sautee ginger, garlic, red pepper, mushrooms, carrots, and cabbage in olive oil sprinkled with turmeric. Add the tender, spiced vegetables to the chicken stock, along with the lemon juice, peanut butter, and coconut milk. Add red pepper chili paste, mazavaroo, or any other type of spicy seasoning to your liking--remember, it will get hotter as it cooks and sets. When the soup has simmered for at least 40 minutes, you can serve hot with scallions and fresh cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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