Fowl (or Why I don't have a Food Blog)

Today is a beautiful (beautiful! listen to those birds! enjoy that sunshine!) day. Amelia J slept all night until 5.30am when Big-P did some of his gentle cajoling and got her back to sleep until 7. I call him the Baby Whisperer. Last night I clanked to bed wearing my full Toddler Body Armour, ready to dig in and sit out the midnight fury but we all just slept and slept and slept. Of course, from experience we know we can’t be too smug and too comfortable as it could have just been one of those freak occurrences while the troops regroup, but it has made such a huge difference to my mood.
I am so cheerful that I can happily report on yesterday’s culinary experiences. Yesterday I was so thrown that I didn’t even mention it.

While in a kind of sleep deprived stupor, I decided we all needed some good old fashioned comfort food and I set out to make Chicken Soup with Rice from a book called Jewish Italian Cooking by Mira Sacerdoti (Hill of Content, 1992). How more comforting can you get than Jewish Italian chicken soup with rice?? So I bought a whole chicken to put in a pot and gently simmer until it was nice and tender. The chicken was too huge for the pot so Mum and I decided that we would just chop it up and put the pieces in to bubble away. Things were going well – I skimmed the surface until it was clear, added the rice until it was soft and then added the vegetables to give it delicious flavour. Then I left it to cook away. I returned a while later (I don’t know how long it was, three quarters of an hour? An hour? Two?) to find a disgusting thick grey-white sludge with dark bones, both large and tiny, gristly and sharp floating around in it. It was like something the Triplets would cook up in The Triplets of Belleville if their thing was chicken and not frogs.

Not to be beaten and thinking of the utter waste if I ditched it at this stage, I hauled out what chicken I could from the thick mess and moved to the next stage of “put the rice with the chicken pieces and a little broth through a sieve or puree in the food processor”. The rice had melded into the general mire so there was no “putting with” possible, but I pulled out as many of the little tiny deadly bones as I could and hit blend and, after a little crunching of the missed bones, a thick white paste rolled around in the processor. I decided to take the huge amount that was left in the pot and put it through a sieve so I could at least save the little broth there was. I mixed the white paste back in with this broth and felt utterly disgusted.

After commenting quite rightly that it looked like glue, Mum sipped a little from a spoon and said it tasted like thick, intense, pureed chicken. Hardly a surprise. I tasted it and tried not to gag. You know how (if you are not a vegetarian) your mouth can become kind of dry when eating a little bit of chicken breast? Think a whole soup that does that. Ughhhh… full body shivers of repulsion.

It is now sitting in a jar in the fridge and I can’t even bear to look at it. Perhaps we can use it as some kind of base for a chicken sweet corn soup or maybe add some… ew… something… I don’t know. I can’t even contemplate it. I’m not that cheerful.

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14 Responses

  1. too bad you couldn’t use the soup to make a sort of dumpling with.
    My mom always cooks her rice seperately then adds it to the soup about 10 minutes before she serves it. The rice gets the flavor of the broth and it doesn’t go all gooey.

  2. says:

    sorry to hear about the rise and fall of your chicken soup. but i have to say i came home from work yesterday to a warm house and the delicious aroma of vegetable soup. my gorgeous flat mate had decided to spoil me… yah for winter and soups and warm stuff in general.

  3. says:

    I take it you don’t have a dog!

  4. No but how I wish we did! Mum just forced it on us for lunch… and we all ended up flushing it down the toilet.

  5. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses when it comes to cooking…pity when it sounded so nice too.

  6. ahhh! so it worked!(the crib banshee thing, not the soup)


    I was thinking about what someone else wrote on the 7th – that good sleep habits are a gift for your child.

    D’s mother was a bit of a softy and D was (and still is) a terrible sleeper. I wonder if his problems as a baby and a child have anything to do with it – not that I’d ever mention it to my mother-in-law. I think she has enough mother guilt (don’t we all?)

  7. I think your pumpkin pie compensates for the soup! (See how impressed I was…Im still thinking about it.)

  8. says:

    Life’s too short to keep cooking “learning experiences” in the fridge until they turn fuzzy.
    The mistake, I think was to not separate the process of making stock from making soup. Roast a chicken, trim off the meat (what you don’t eat for dinner, lunch, etc) saving a cup of small pieces for later. Put the bones in a stock pot with all the moderately good wilty veg you haven’t used recently (celery, carrots, carrot tops, mushrooms, etc), an onion with cloves stuck into it, a couple bay leaves, and a dozen wole peppercorns. Cover with lots of water, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for three hours. Pour through a strainer or cheesecloth and you will have plenth of salt-free stock for making your soup. Dilute as needed. Freeze what you don’t use. If you don’t eat whole birds, just take the bones from cooked (or uncooked birds) and freeze them until you have enough to make stock from.

  9. I would think this might make a tasty wallpaper paste. Parchance a chance to do wome *interesting* paper mache? (insert accent graves)
    The best choice, me thinketh, is to cook the rice before you add it to the soup, else the starch and all-that-is-riceness gets sopped up in all that-which-is-chickeny.

    Maybe this is JewishItalian glue?



  10. I think the rice did you in. It seems to work better when you add the rice to the soup later. Try it again…I think your next batch will come out a lot better. That is the cool thing about cooking. It is all about experiementing and having a good time with the process.

  11. Hurray for sleep!

  12. says:

    I love it that someone else has these well intentioned cooking disasters. And the whole time I just think, “But where did I go wrong ???”.

  13. I am always ‘experimenting’with food on my family…which they claim to love about me…Sometimes, disasters just happen. I throw those away, food and recipe together, and vow to try again another day.Only way to live.

  14. says:

    We call it “Daddy Magic.”