Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chicken Soup: A Vegetarian's Experience

I've mentioned that I am a vegetarian, which is the basis of this blog. I also admit to cooking for large numbers of people on a fairly regular basis, and especially when you're away from home you need something to take you back. One night in particular several guys from our student group in Moscow came to our dorm to attempt blini (Russian buckwheat pancakes). I had a whole chicken and some odds and ends around the kitchen and seeing as the blini weren't going as planned, I decided to try something new that would cure them of their homesickness.

What you need:

1 whole chicken, no innards, thawed
about a gallon of water
1 large onion, diced
4 tbsp fresh sage leaves, chopped
3 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp dried basil
3 bay leaves
3-5 tbsp salt, depending on taste
a few grinds of black pepper
1 lb spaghetti, broken into "2-3 inch pieces
3 cups shredded cabbage (optional)
sour cream

I never touched the raw chicken. It freaks me out. I don't even want to know what flesh feels like in that state. I will eat things made with broth but as far as the actual meat is concerned I usually pawn it off on someone else. I know, I'm weird. Anyway, I put a large stock pot with the gallon of water on to boil and stick the chicken in whole (after rinsing very well, of course). Add the salt, set the pot to simmer and put the lid on -- then just let that sucker cook for two to four hours. When you come back to it, lift the chicken out and allow it to cool for a few moments. Put the onions, spices, pasta and cabbage (if you're using it) into the pot and bring to a low boil. Pull bite sized pieces from the chicken and place in a bowl, adding them all once the chicken is bare. Put the lid back over it and boil for approximately 10-12 minutes. Take off the heat and pour into bowls. Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top and a shot of ice cold Russki Standart to get the authentic experience.

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