Friday, December 2, 2011

Mulligatawny Soup

Mulligatawny is Kramer's favourite soup in the infamous Seinfeld 'Soup Nazi' episode. "No soup for you!" This classic golden coloured Anglo-Indian soup, which translates literally as 'pepper water' in Tamil, is an accurate description, because it's a wonderfully spicy soup with a big personality. Perfectly balanced and intoxicatingly fragrant, this luscious curry-flavoured dish combines an aromatic blend of Indian spices, garlic and chicken simmered to perfection in a fragrant broth of diced leeks, carrots, celery, apple and potato thickened with rice, yoghurt and heavy cream. Hearty, delicious and absolutely divine, Kramer isn't the only one who adores this soup. It's pretty hard to resist. 

Mulligatawny Soup
Serves 12

2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground cloves
4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 cup unsalted butter
pinch of cayenne pepper
4 lb chicken, whole or breasts & thighs only, cut into serving pieces
4 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 large onions, chopped
3 carrots, diced
2 leeks, thinly sliced - white part only
11 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup rice, uncooked

2 tart apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup plain yoghurt
2/3 cup heavy cream
chopped cilantro, for garnish
Naan bread, optional

Combine the garlic and the spices (cumin, cloves, curry powder, ginger, cayenne pepper and garam masala) then set aside. 

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and sauté until lightly brown on all sides. Transfer the chicken to a large pot, cover and set aside.

Drain all but 1 tbsp of fat from the skillet and add the celery, onions, carrots, leeks, and the garlic-spice mixture and blend well. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are tender, about 6-8 minutes. Then add to the chicken.

Stir in the remaining chicken stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring just to a boil, then cover, lower the heat and simmer 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the rice to the soup and continue cooking 15 minutes. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, tear the meat into bite size pieces, discarding the bones and skin.

Return the chicken to the soup and blend in the apples and yoghurt. Simmer another 10 minutes. Degrease soup if necessary. Stir in lemon juice, and then the cream. Ladle into warmed soup bowls or a heated tureen, and serve garnished with some chopped cilantro and a basket of warm naan or crusty bread on the side.