Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Chicken-Corn Soup

For our occasional Soup Nights in fall, winter and early spring, I try to make at least one offering that can be enjoyed by people with dietary restrictions (in the past, our guests have been Type 2 diabetics, celiacs, vegans, and people with food allergies). Here's one I put together for a guest whose doctor had taken her off onions, garlic and dairy products. It takes some extra prep work because dairy, onions and garlic are in many, MANY prepared foods. Despite the ingredient restrictions, I think it turned out pretty tasty.

CHICKEN-CORN SOUP

Cashew cream:
Get a package of raw cashews (Trader Joe’s sells them), dump them in a bowl, cover with water and let sit in the fridge overnight. Blend cashews and water very thoroughly, until the mixture reaches the consistency of cream. This keeps in the fridge for about a week.

Chicken prep:
1 whole raw chicken
your favorite gluten-free soy sauce (I used San-J Tamari)

Roast the chicken using your preferred method, basting with gluten-free soy sauce for a flavor boost. Let it cool a bit, pick the meat from the bones and reserve for later, and make chicken broth from the carcass (taking care not to add onion or garlic to the broth). Now forge boldly ahead with the recipe!

Soup:
3 cups frozen corn kernels
1 quart homemade chicken broth (see above)
2 T. Nucoa or other dairy-free margarine, or use oil
4 T. cashew cream (see above) or other dairy-free cream substitute
2 t. cumin seed, freshly toasted in a dry pan, then ground in a mortar
A good dash of nutmeg
A couple good dashes of cayenne pepper
Salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
Reserved chicken meat (see above)

Additionals/optionals:
cooked crumbled bacon (check that the bacon is gluten-free -- all bacon should be, but sometimes cross-contamination occurs in processing)
chopped chives (NOTE: some folks who can't eat onions also can't eat chives, so keep 'em separate)

In a medium stockpot, melt margarine. Add corn, chicken stock, cumin, nutmeg, cayenne and pepper and let it simmer until the corn is cooked. Transfer in batches to a blender and blend about 4 minutes, or until it’s really velvety smooth. Return to the pot and add chicken meat and cashew cream, and heat through. Salt to taste. Serve with bacon and chives on the side for diners to garnish as desired.

Feeds many.

The freshly-toasted and ground cumin and soy sauce give this soup a great savory note that offsets the sweetness of the corn and cashew cream. In fact, if I were to do this again I'd add more cumin, but try it this way first, then adjust to your taste.

By the way, guests who didn't have dietary restrictions also OM NOM NOMmed this soup until it was gone, so really, it's good.

Contributor: Suzanne Houghton