Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lemon Chicken Rice Soup with Braided Sesame Bread

Soup, yes once again.  I guess I can't get enough of it.  Chicken, lemon and thyme - how can you go wrong?  Pair that with amazing fresh baked bread and you're transported to a cozy little place - especially if you're sitting on the couch under a quilt watching The Walking Dead.  Yes, I can still eat with all that decapitation going on. 

My freelance photography gigs are really picking up.  Food photography and people.  That being said, I've been applying for part time work to supplement.  My last full time office monkey job was at a kid's mental health centre.  I was the clinical records department.  Although I respected what the centre did, I felt as though it sucked the creativity out of me.  After 6 years there (the last 2 years trying to talk myself into leaving) I did indeed finally give notice and left.  My co-workers had a 'farewell/wedding shower' for me. It turned out that my last day there was 2 weeks before my wedding.  That little party was pretty emotional for me.

I had a job interview last Friday.  An admin position for an eye surgeon, specialist.  It was the most casual, strangest interview I've ever had.  It was the receptionist who interviewed me.  It was one of those jobs that I knew I could do in my sleep.  She was supposed to make her decision yesterday.  I did not get a call and the job was re-posted again on the job board I originally saw it on.  I guess I'm confused.  Anyone else feel this frustration?  I mean a piece of paper (resume) is not the sum of who a person is.  I also felt I did great during that strange interview - I did all my research on this dr. and knew his credentials, how many surgeries he's ever done etc.

Anyway, I'm wondering if I should re-apply again on Monday, or would that be weird?
Cooking is therapy, so I made soup and bread.

Lemon Chicken Rice Soup
recipe adapted from The Best Simple Recipes

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 a medium onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 6 cups chicken stock  (if not homemade use reduced salt chicken stock)
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped parsley to garnish (optional)
In a large dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the chicken, brown and give it some colour, remove to a bowl.  Add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery.  Sweat for approximately 5 minutes.

Add about 1 cup of the chicken stock, bring to a boil and scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.  Add the thyme, bay leaf and the remainder of the stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 30 minutes or so.  (Add in the chicken and rice the last 15 minutes of simmering).

After soup is finished simmering, whisk the egg yolk with the lemon juice.  While whisking add a ladle of the soup to the bowl with the egg yolk and lemon juice.  Whisk the lemon mixture into the pot and reheat for about 2 minutes.  Remove the bay leaf and add the chopped parsley (if using).

Serve with.............

Braided Sesame Bread

  • 4 3/4 - 5 1/4 cups all purpose flour (I used unbleached)
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (not rapid rise)
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk, beaten
  • sesame seeds
In the bowl of a Kitchen-Aid mixer, add 2 cups of flour and the yeast, whisk and set aside. 

In a saucepan add the milk, sugar, butter and salt.  Stirring, heat until warm 115 F and butter almost melts.  Add the milk mixture and the eggs to the flour mixture.  Beat with the paddle attachment on low speed for about 30 seconds to incorporate.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for an additional 3 minutes on medium speed. 

Switch to the dough hook.  Knead on medium speed for approximately 5 minutes while adding in enough of the remaining flour until a moderately stiff dough forms that is smooth and elastic.  ( I ended up using about 4 3/4 cups of flour.  I find that a good indicator that more flour needs to be added is after a few minutes of kneading the dough is still sticking to the bottom of the bowl).

Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased glass bowl - turn to coat the dough with the oil and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in a warm place to double in size, approximately 1 hour.  (as usual, I let it rise in my oven which is turned off but with the oven light on).

After the dough has double in size, remove to a lightly floured surface and gently press down to remove gas.  Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces.  ( I weigh the full dough and then divide by 3.  Weigh each of the 3 balls).   Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.  Roll each portion of dough into a rope about 18" long.  Place the ropes on a silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet spaced 1" apart.

Starting in the middle, loosely braid the ropes, press the ends together to seal, tuck ends underneath the loaf. Cover and let rise for approximately 30 minutes.  (Again, I do this in the oven).  Remove loaf from oven after 30 minutes and preheat oven to 375 F.

Brush bread with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until the bread sounds hollow when you tap the top and it is golden brown.

Remembrance Day 2012

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

No comments:

Post a Comment