Saturday, July 16, 2011

Warm and Hearty Mulligatawny Soup and Irish Soda Bread

Here is it!  (Finally!) The first of my Harry Potter meals, which I have now been eating since... last weekend?

But I've been a busy Bonnie.  Between work and play and cooking, there's hardly any time for blogging.  But now I'm drying off from this morning's SlutWalk and I can't do any cooking, as my oven is apparently on strike, so... here I sit, Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook open in front of me, ready to share.

And so, up first?  A delicious soup!

I very much enjoyed this soup.  The chicken was perfectly tender, the broth was delicious, and just... yes.  I would make it again (and remember to add the rice in.)

Warm and Hearty Mulligatawny Soup
from the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook
(Serves 6)

"The last day of Aunt Marge's visit, Aunt Petunia serves soup, which Harry manages to get through uneventfully before finally losing it and blowing up Aunt Marge (see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 2)."

2 tbs vegetable oil
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery ribs, finely chopped (I sliced mine, as I prefer to be able to see my veggies)
6 c. water
1 tart apple (I used a Granny Smith), peeled, cored, and diced
1 tbs curry
1 tbs salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 c. cooked long grain white rice (I... well, forgot this.  Whoops)
Shredded sweetened coconut, optional, for serving

Heat the oil in a large soup pot.  On high heat, sear the chicken on both sides until golden and crispy (approx 4 minutes).  Remove the chicken and set aside.

Reserve about 2 tbs fat.  Add onions, carrots, and celery, stirring over medium until the onions have softened (approx 4 minutes).  Add the water, apple, and spices.

Add the chicken back in.  Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes, until the chicken is deliciously tender.  Take the chicken back out of the soup, get rid of the skin and the bones, and cut the chicken up in to bite-sized pieces.  Return it to the pot.  Let it simmer until heated through.

At this point, you can use a wide spoon to skim the fat off the surface.  Then stir in the rice, unless you're me. Then you can forget the rice completely, and eat the soup without it.  If you want, sprinkle a small handful of coconut over each serving.

And, of course, nothing goes better than soup than some bread.  I tried out the Irish Soda Bread from the book, and, honestly... it wasn't my favorite.  I have another recipe that I've made several times that is just absolutely wonderful, and this just didn't quite compare.  It looks yummy, though!

Irish Soda Bread
adapted slightly from the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook
(Makes 1 loaf)

"Mrs. Weasley always seems prepared when it comes to food.  Harry can burst in on her in the middle of the night and she'll still be able to serve him a nice meal.  Fresh bread is part of it when Dumbledore brings Harry to the Burrow after taking him to Professor Slughorn's (see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 5)."

4 c. all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp salt
3 tbs sugar
1/2 stick (4 tbs) butter
1 large egg, beaten (or two eggs, separated, if you follow my lead as described below)
1 1/2 c. buttermilk *

*A tip on buttermilk: Don't have it?  No problem.  For every cup of buttermilk needed, you can substitute 3/4 cup milk and 1 tbs vinegar or lemon juice (I always use vinegar).  Leave out on the counter 15 minutes until curdled, or stick it in the microwave for about 20 seconds.

Preheat the oven to 425 F and grease and flour a 9 inch round baking dish.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and sugar.  Rub in the butter with your fingers until it is completely mixed in.  Stir in the egg and buttermilk with a wooden spoon until a dough begins to form.  

Turn onto a floured surface and knead briefly to bring it all together.  Form the dough into a round and dust with a bit of flour.  Place the dough in the prepared pan and use a sharp knife to score an "x" in the top.

This is not in the recipe, but I then beat another egg and brushed it over the bread to add more color and crispiness.

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 F and bake another 40 minutes until the bottom of the bread is a dark golden brown.

Cool completely on a wire rack.  Unless you're me.  Then you'll wait 5 minutes, break off a piece, and start eating.  Patience with food has never been my strong suit.

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