Friday, August 26, 2016

Olympic Food Part 2 - "'Round the World Cooking Library, Latin American Cooking" - Brazilian Chicken Soup

Date I made this recipe:  August 17, 2016 – the Olympics, continued

'Round the World Cooking Library – Latin American Cooking – Recipe contributions by Susan Bensusan
Published by 'Round the World Books Inc.
© 1973
Purchased at Barnes and Noble Used Books – Roseville, MN
Recipe: Chicken Soup (Canja) – p. 21

So the Olympics continue (we are now up to track and field) and the race (pun intended) was on to find a Brazilian cookbook.  I could have sworn I had one but it turns out that all I have are a few Latin American cookbooks that include Brazil.  Well, some is better than none, right?

Recently, a cousin asked me what places I have traveled to (I have traveled a lot) and South America/Latin America and Brazil still remain on the "to do" list.  But I have been to Portugal, and Portuguese sailors were the ones who settled in Brazil so that counts, right?  (I'll discuss Portugal in my next post.) 

Since I am a singer and a musician, I had several "Brazilian" song ear-worms running through my brain during this time.  First was the song I mentioned in my previous blog, "I Go To Rio," but this next one is probably the granddaddy of them all – "Brazil" -composed in 1939 by Brazilian Ary Barroso, and made famous by several people including Frank Sinatra, Xavier Cugat and Antonio Carlos Jobim, whose other hit, "Girl from Ipanema," remains extremely popular world-wide.  I don't think anybody would care if I did a little samba (dancing) while in my kitchen, would they?  No.  Final answer.

Because of that Portuguese influence, Brazilian food differs slightly from the rest of South America but this recipe for Chicken Soup is not one that goes too far off course from what we in North America know.  This soup though, uses onions, leeks, and chives and I cannot say I've ever seen chives used in a chicken soup recipe before but I liked it and all the flavors blended well together.

Actually locating the soup recipe in this cookbook though, was no easy feat. Recipes are first listed by name in alphabetical order in English and so you'll see "Almond pudding (Mexico);" "Almond sauce (Mexico);" "Avocado dip (Mexico)" and so on.  The list repeats in Spanish and then recipes are broken out by type of dish and so, for example, soups are listed as follows:  "Avocado soup (Mexico);" "Barley Soup" (Columbia); "Bean Soup (Mexico);" "Black Bean Soup (Venezuela)" and so on.  And so finding all the Brazilian dishes for further consideration took a minute or two but the search was rather fun.

Happily for you then, the list contains quite a few Brazilian entrees, salads (lots of salad), soups, sauces (can I just say I was surprised to see a recipe for Brazilian "curry sauce?"),
tortillas/pancakes, and so on, so if soup doesn't do it for you, something else might.

Brazil's most famous dish – feijoada, i.e. " black bean stew" – was also included but I passed on making it as the first ingredient up was "smoked beef tongue."  I probably could have left it out but then I would have also needed carne seca (dried beef), and two pounds linguiça, a Brazilian/Portuguese sausage.  I could have substituted chorizo for the linguiça but decided to scrub the entire thing.  (But then I found out that a St. Paul butcher shop called – appropriately – Meat Shop – is going to start offering linguiça this coming week – hooray!) (Still not making feijoada though.)

By the way, the weather cooled off and became rainy when I made this soup and so thanks to Mother Nature for cooperating on that front.

Let me also add that this cookbook is part of a series – 'Round the World Cooking – which I have been slowly but surely collecting.  Right now, I have five of the 16 cookbooks in this grouping.  A collector's job never ends.

As to the recipe, please note the following:
1)     I erred on the side of under-salting rather than over-salting the soup but even so, I thought this dish was a little bland.  Not a lot, just a little.  You can fix that easily with your own salt and pepper shakers.
2)     My rice came close to being too mushy.  It didn't matter in the least when eating it, but I just wanted to put that out there.  The recipe says "20 minutes" but that is too long.  Check as you go.
3)     By the time this dish was done, there was hardly any broth and so there went the "soup" portion of our program.  No worries—just add water when you reheat the leftovers.
4)     The carrots I used were purchased that day and they added a sweetness that I loved to this dish.
5)     The onion/leek/chive combo was interesting but man, those leeks made my kitchen smell all night and into the next day.  Oh well, if the recipe calls for them, the recipe calls for them!

"But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln...."

"Coma bem!" ("Eat well")

Chicken Soup (Canja) – 4 to 6 servings
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 (2 ½ pound) chicken, cut into serving pieces
6 cups water
1 sprig parsley
2 carrots, sliced
1 leek, sliced
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup rice
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped

Heat the butter in a large saucepan and sauté the onion until softened.  Add the chicken pieces and sauté until lightly browned on all sides.  Add the water, parsley, carrots, leek, chives, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, cover and simmer 35 to 40 minutes until the chicken is tender.  Strain the broth into a clean saucepan and skim off the fat.  Remove the skin and bones of the chicken and cut meat into 2-inch pieces.  Bring the broth to a boil.  Add the rice and stir once with a fork.  Lower the heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes.  (Ann's Note:  at 20 minutes, my rice was nearly mush.  I say check back in 10 minutes and then work in 5-minute increments.)  Add the chicken meat and cook 5 minutes more.  Stir in the tomato and serve.

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