Thursday, October 25, 2007

Chicken Soup.....and the stack on my nightstand

Chicken soup simply had to be made this week - not only did I have a chicken carcass, but I also have a cold. I do not have a picture to share - for several reasons, but the main one being that the soup was not that pretty, quite dark actually. I used Nigel Slater's Roast chicken broth recipe from Real Cooking as a template.

I sauteed onion, carrots, and leeks in olive oil, then added the chicken carcass and browned it. Brandy and red wine are added at this point and allowed to cook until almost evaporated - this made the soup dark brown. I then threw in 4 cups of water, bay leaves, peppercorns, and some fresh thyme and cooked gently for an hour. The house smelled fantastic - as though I were cooking Thanksgiving dinner. After I strained it, I brought it to the boil and added a bit of sherry (Nigel's suggestion - this is a very boozy chicken soup), leftover chicken, some orzo and peas for color. It was delicious. Nigel suggests using ginger and mushrooms during the initial vegetable saute, which sounded wonderful, but I didn't have either.

I haven't finished any books because I keep starting new ones. Here is what I've got going right now:

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell- It's been a few weeks since I picked this up, but I definitely plan on going back to it.

This Time of Dying by Reina James- I noticed this in the Portobello Books catalog and found a copy at the library. I am enjoying it so far.

The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold- I was a fan of The Lovely Bones (despite that strange out-of-body-experience portion towards the end) and hoped that despite the negative press I've heard about this one, it might be a winner. I'm about 80 pages into it since I picked it up at the library yesterday and I can say it's dark. It's very dark.

The Air We Breathe by Andrea Barrett- This is the first book I've won from the Library Thing early reviewers program - I am thrilled! I only put my name in for a couple of books that I was really interested in and knew I would want to read right away. It feels very official! It came with a letter from the publisher addressed to me, not just 'Dear reader'.

I have my bookclub meeting tonight when we will discuss Water for Elephants. I cannot wait to see what everyone thought of it. I think we will also start emailing lists of each member's suggestions for next year, which I always look forward to.

16 comments:

Nan - said...

Having no chicken carcass :<) I wonder if a vegetarian version might be made by sauteing the veggies, and adding perhaps chopped potatoes, and a little vegan broth stuff I have, and then the thyme and pepper? What do you think?

I am about to join you in the problem of too many starts, though I am trying really hard to finish my Pym book first. The library has three books for me. A happy dilemma.

Danielle said...

I start too many books, too, and feel like I never finish anything either!! I checked out the Reina James book from the library, but it went back unread. I do plan on getting back to it--you'll have to post on it when you finish. I bought the Barrett book--I like her writing and thought it sounded good! Glad you got a book this time around--it's fun, isn't it!

Bookgirl said...

I can't wait to hear what you think of The Almost Moon. I liked The Lovely Bones too until the out of body experience. Ugh.

Feel better and enjoy your book group!

Tara said...

Nan, that sounds really good! I like the idea of the potatoes. Nigel suggested orzo, or any other sort of grain. I think mushrooms would be a yummy addition to a vegetarian version. You're reading a Pym bood? I'm looking forward to hearing what you thought of it!

Danielle, I know, you are in the same boat as me! I realized you had mentioned the Reina James book a while back - I have a notebook I jot titles into and where I heard about them from and was looking through it yesterday. It is fun to get an ARC from a publisher - I feel very official!

Bookgirl, thanks, bookclub should be fun, it's a nice group of women. It's nice to commiserate with you about the strange part in TLB.

Tara said...

Nan, I meant to say a Pym BOOK. Sorry.

Gentle Reader said...

I love North and South, and that chicken soup recipe sounds fantastic. Hope you feel better!

nutmeg said...

Yes. Yes. Yes. The ending of TLB just killd that book for me. I thought the ending wildly divergent from the earlier part of the book. BUT, despite that I have also bought her new one - the opening lines sucked me right in!

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, Tara!

Seems to be the season for colds, I had one too and so did both my daughters. Hope you are feeling better now? I like your version of chicken soup...I will have to try that the next time ( I will add the mushrooms and ginger too!)

Can't wait to hear what you think of "Almost Moon'. Is the tone very much like her previous one?

Congrats on winning "The Air We Breathe", that's great Tara and it does sound like a good read too!

Tara said...

Gentle reader, thank you!

Nutmeg, I completely agree with you about The Lovely Bones - and the opening lines of her new one.

Lotus, I am feeling better than I was - I hope you and your girls are doing better. My daughter usually gets the bug first and passes it on to me, I seem to suffer much more than her, though. The tone of Sebold's two novels is similar, in that they are both bleak - but this one is more so.

Karen said...

That soup sounds wonderful!

kris said...

Gosh, I almost want to get a cold just so I can have chicken soup right now!! That sounds wonderful - and I can almost smell it from your description. Hope you're feeling better!

Literary Feline said...

I'm curious too to see what you think of "Almost Moon". I've heard so many negative reviews and just came across a blog review that was very positive.

Tara said...

Karen and Kris, thanks!

Literary Feline, where was that - that you read a postive review? I know that Dovegreyreader enjoyed it.

Literary Feline said...

I read the review over at J's blog, Thinking About. . .. I will have to check out Dovegreyreader's review.

LisaMM said...

Our book club read Water for ELephants this summer. It was a hit with everyone, however our conversation never really took off. Kinda strange, actually, because we all really liked it.

Tara said...

LisaMM, yes, that's exactly how our conversation went. There was a lot of discussion about other things, but not much about the bookd despite the fact we all enjoyed it.