Sopas

30 07 2012

(A draft from a couple of weeks back)

I WOKE UP to an overcast Saturday musically scored by the rumbling of rolling thunder.

Even here in the land of virtually perennial summers, the “seasons” do change.  And even before I started to notice heaven’s percussions in play, I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night lately, needing to pull the sheets up to my chin.  Half-awake, I would need to check if I did remember to turn off the air-conditioning.

When there is a coolness to the breeze that hits your face, it would be great to warm up the body and the soul with a hearty bowl of really good soup.  With a little free time this weekend – something that has become more of a luxury – I decided to make my signature Chicken Macaroni Soup.  We simply call it “sopas” where I come from.

My sopas (chicken macaroni soup), here with a generous grinding of black pepper fresh from the mill

As a young urban professional, I have subscribed to the wisdom of the 30-minute meal (Rachael Ray’s), the five-ingredient fix (Claire Robinson’s), the semi-homemade (Sandra Lee’s), the express (Nigella Lawson’s), and the five-ingredient five-minute meals (Rocco DiSpirito’s), but there are just some dishes that are better left untouched by any sense of “hurry” or “rush”.

My Chicken Macaroni Soup is one of these.

I start with homemade chicken stock.  In a pot that is deeper rather than wider, I throw in either a whole fresh chicken or a few “chicken bones” which I would get for about a dollar each at the grocer behind my block.  These are the carcasses – the whole bone left behind after a chicken is dressed.  In the pot, I will throw in the holy trinity of aromatics – cut-up celery hearts, peeled whole carrots, and a peeled whole onion with the root end intact – and a whole head of garlic, this one left unpeeled.  Dependent on my mood, I may or may not add dried thyme.  (I find that for Asian dishes, it would be better to leave off the thyme.)  I cover everything with water and bring the whole thing to the boil.  I let this simmer for about two hours.

The “holy trinity” of root aromatics – carrot, onion and celery.

 

The pot where all the magic happens.

 

Now that’s a deliciously looking golden broth!

 

In a separate pot over low heat, I slowly sauté a diced white onion, allowing it to sweat and become sweet without turning even a touch of brown.  I help this process by a sprinkling of a pinch of salt.  Once the onions have broken down, I add three cloves of finely minced garlic.  Then I add the shredded chicken meat from the carcasses I used for the stock, as well as a half a pound (to a pound) of (sometimes diced, most times shredded) chicken breast.  After a few turns in the heat, the chicken meat gets seasoned with a tablespoon of fish sauce and a ladle of the stock, and allowed to simmer.

I allow the diced onion to slowly sweat, break down and become sweet. I usually make a finer dice than this.

 

I add chicken breast to the saute. Sometimes I dice it, like with this batch but usually, I shred already cooked chicken breast. The latter is made by adding boneless and skinless chicken breast to the stock pot in the last 25 minutes of simmering.

 

Cooked elbow macaroni. I prefer the big ones!

 

After the chicken meat has become tender, the rest of the stock is added and brought back to the boil.  I then tumble in cooked macaroni (I used about 400 grams this time) and diced carrots (the ones that were in the stock pot).  One more return to the boil and then I add a can of evaporated filled milk.  I turn the fire off.  And the soup is ready to be served!

The “sopas” is ready to be devoured!

 

This is always within reach when I enjoy my “sopas”.

 

I have my sopas with lots of steamed white rice, here also enjoying a generous dash of freshly ground black pepper!

 

I always make a huge batch because the leftover just gets even better!

 

The batch I made was so good I just had to share it with my friends and neighbors Cecille and Glendz.

 

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved

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2 responses

30 07 2012
sybaritica

That *is* a good looking broth…. I’ve never tried adding ecaporated milk before. That sounds interesting.

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29 08 2012
Kialeh

You can write a cooking book XD

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