Friday, July 11, 2008

Warm Summer Soup

When you do think of summer soups, the chilled variety often comes to mind. But you don't need to completely write off warm soups during the summer months. Instead of soups that have been slowly simmered for hours, warm summer soups should be light and refreshing, with crisp, almost raw veggies.

Last night I made the following chicken soup, which is more like a salad in a bowl with warm broth.

(Serves 2)

1/2 cup of barley (or any other grain such as rice or couscous)
1 onion
1 stalks celery
3 carrots
1 teaspoons olive oil
1 chicken breasts
10 whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
4 button mushrooms
2 scallions
4 radishes
1/2 red pepper
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Salt and pepper

Steam barley in 2/3 cup of boiling water.

Rough cut one onion, one carrot, and one stalk of celery. In a medium-size pot sauté the onion in olive oil for about a minute. Add the carrots and celery and sauté for another minute. Add the chicken breasts and cover the contents of the pot by two inches with water. Add peppercorns and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Poach the chicken for twenty minutes skimming any film off the top of poaching liquid.

While the chicken is poaching, finely chop the remaining carrots along with all of the scallions, mushrooms, red pepper, and radishes. When the chicken is opaque all the way through, remove it from the liquid and set aside to cool. Strain the poaching liquid and discard the vegetables. Set the liquid aside.

Put the pot back on the stove. Add the poaching liquid and season soy sauce and pepper, and bring back to a simmer. Shred the chicken. Assemble ingredients in a bowl as follows: barley on the bottom, then chicken, mushrooms, carrots, peppers, radishes, and scallions. Pour hot broth over everything, and serve.

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