Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Chicken Masala Soup (Recipe 6 - Le Creuset Challenge)

Chicken Masala Soup
I have been daydreaming about making this soup for nearly a full term human pregnancy at this point. 6 months, right? KIDDING. I know it's a year. But seriously, since reading The Moonstone this summer (more on that later), and honestly, even a bit before, I felt like I needed to try a totally different flavor profile that I'm not too familiar with: Indian food! I like Indian food, especially things involving bright green peas, deliciously roasted cauliflower, anything chickpeas, and anything involving more spices than I have fingers to count on. However, I hardly ever remember to get it when thinking about eating out, which is both my own fault and a damn shame. Anyways. I digress! I got an idea for this soup when a smarter friend than I mentioned it was her favorite Indian food dish; naturally my brain was like "Hmm, I wonder if I can make that, and double wonder if I can make it as a soup!?" Spoiler alert, yes. Yes, you obviously can, or else I wouldn't be writing a post about having made it. Anyways. I have big, future plans involving bringing back my Dinner Train Book Club dinner party for The Moonstone with this recipe, but first I need to actually make said moonstones. Don't worry, I have a plan for those too. Stay tuned...probably until forever, but stay tuned nonetheless - it'll hold me accountable to actually make moves to make them happen (and let me know if you want to read with me!)

Onto the pressing matter: this soup is actually delicious. I know I say that about all the soups, but I really mean it this time. I'd go as far as to too my own horn and to say it's one of my best recipes. Try it, and let me know if I'm right or if I am right. Though there are more ingredients than there are grains of sand on a tiny beach, they combine to make something scintillating. Having no clue how to make any Indian food (I'd never cooked with garam masala before, can you believe that?), I read up a lot on other recipes, and this is adapted from many places with recipes for Tikka Masala, Chicken Masala, etc., including but not limited to The Soup Addict, The Smitten Kitchen, Serious Eats, and Eating Well. All are different, include different ingredients etc. I had the full intention of using coriander, as many recipes do, but that plan was thwarted when I realized I had three jars of cumin and no jars of coriander. I didn't notice. Anyways. That's enough out of me. Make this warm, warming soup wherever you are wintering, and day dream about India with me, why don't you?

Chicken Masala Soup
Chicken Masala Soup
Serves roughly 6-8

1.5 lb skinless chicken
½ tsb ground cumin
½ tsp cumin seed
½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp curry powder
¼ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp ground pepper
¼ tsp kosher salt

1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 medium/large onion, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 serrano pepper, seeded and diced small
3 tsp garam masala
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp tumeric
1 Tbsp tomato paste
28 oz canned diced tomatoes in juice
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
32 oz low sodium chicken stock
15 oz chickpeas
8 oz fresh spinach
15 oz frozen peas
salt & pepper to taste
½-1 cup Greek yogurt to serve


1) Combine chicken rub spices and rub onto chicken to coat.  Cover and let sit for at least one hour in the fridge.  
2) Preheat the oven to broil.  Broil chicken for approximately 15 minutes until darkened and the juices run cool - bonus points for blackened bits.  About halfway through, turn the chicken over.  Remove from the oven, let sit for 8-10 minutes, and chop into small, bite-sized pieces.
3) In a large Dutch oven or Le Creuset over medium, melt coconut oil and saute onion for roughly 5-7 minutes or until translucent.
4) Add garlic, ginger, pepper, and spices and saute for 3 minutes.
5) Add tomato paste, tomatoes with juice, and 1 Tbsp cilantro, stirring to combine occasionally.  Cook for about 5 minutes.
6) Add chicken stock and bring to a vigorous simmer (but not a full boil to prevent burning).  Cook at least 15 minutes at said vigorous simmer to reduce the liquids a bit.
7) Remove from heat and blend until mostly combined using an immersion blender.  It’s okay if some chunks of tomato or onion remain!
8) Put back on heat, bringing back to a low simmer this time.  Add chickpeas, cooking roughly 3 minutes.
9) Stir in the diced chicken, cook for a minute or so.
10.  Add spinach to the top of the pot, do not stir, and cover the pot for about 3 minutes to let wilt.
11) Uncover and add peas, remaining 1 Tbsp cilantro, stirring to combine, and cooking for roughly 5 more minutes.
12) Taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper.
13)  Serve with a generous tablespoon dollop of Greek yogurt per portion if you know you will have leftovers, or, stir in ½ to 1 cup of Greek yogurt if you will be serving all of this immediately.
14) Go back for seconds.
Chicken Masala Soup: roasted rubbed chicken process

Chicken Masala Soup: a watched spinach will never wilt!

- Use this chicken rub any time - on the grill, on it’s own, not in soup, etc.  It’s really simple, really delicious, and really, really easy.  
- Use the chickpea can (rinsed out, duh) to measure out your 15 oz of frozen peas! Always add them last to maintain their vibrant flavor and even more vibrant green color, instead of fatigue green (gross).  
- Vegetarians: sorry.  BUT.  I got to thinking while doing this, and would like one of you to try the following.  In lieu of chicken/chicken stock, use veggie broth, 1 extra can of chickpeas and peas, and/or roast some cauliflower with the spices and a small dash of oil.  Please let me know how it turns out!
- Again - if you plan to save some of this for later, especially for freezing purposes, do not add the yogurt to the pot directly.  Cream soups never, ever, never defrost in an attractive or appetizing way.  This is why I recommend adding the yogurt directly to individual portions - allowing people to add to their personal preference too!
- I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I'd say any skinless cut of chicken will work, even if it is on the bone.
- Pair this with nan, roti, or other tasty Indian flat bread.  It would also be great with a crisp white wine or cold beer!

Chicken Masala Soup

Chicken Masala Soup:
Once you add in the yogurt, just you try and wait to take a picture before devouring it.
It's impossible

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