Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chicken Fennel & Rice Soup for the soul

My name is Jady and I am a recipe addict! Or I should say.. was.

A few months ago, after a recent move I made the decision that it was time to sell a rather large cookbook collection I've had for over 25 years. Why was I saving recipes from twenty five years ago? Cooking styles have surely changed over these years that more than half of the bookmarked recipes were for things I would never make any more. I was thrilled to find a wonderful cookbook dealer who assured me, my library of 900 treasured books would all go to good homes.. Of course before I made my decision I had to go through them all one more time because there was one favorite recipe that I couldn’t be without. Enough already! Admittedly, this is how a recipe addict thinks, but in addition to my favorite recipes I got into the habit years ago, of sticking family recipes into my books as well, along with family pictures that were very special to me. They just brought an instant smile or warm remembrance of a special event that called for a certain recipe, whenever I reached for my books.

My daughter came to visit in the midst of all this madness and suggested that I put my favorite recipes on to the computer, but I couldn't even begin to fathom the length of time that would take, and what if I forgot to do backups? Well it ended up taking me 3 weeks to go through each & every book, sort the keepers and separate the ones I would part with.

Yes, I still have a very nice collection, but now actually manageable, and space in my new kitchen. I've been slowly putting some of them into computer files.. but it's just not the same for me. I actually prefer having a book with my hand scribbled marginal notes from years ago in it.. There definitely are memories connected with them and as I gazed at my faded writing and that smudge of cinnamon and butter encrusted on the pages, I’m transported back to that time years ago when I baked my first apple pie for my own daughters during the holidays. And yes, what about all those hand written recipe cards with recipes from my mom’s collection, my Nonna's recipes brought from Naples? Uncle Pete's famous lobster pie recipe? Auntie Ella's arancine or baccala salad. I’ll always hang on to those. Whenever I make Ma's delicious apple pie I get out that recipe card, even though I know it like the back of my hand. My newest cookbook, a birthday gift from my daughter, Top Chef-The Cookbook, with an inscription.. ‘this will just be a start to your new collection of cookbooks :) Bon Appetit’. So whether old or new, collecting cookbooks and recipes will always remain in this addicts life!
A fabulous read you may find here by Marcella Hazen I read on fellow bloggers site,Andy's Diner clearly hits home.. I too am my familys cook, and darn proud of it!

I started this post with the intention of sharing a favorite soup recipe ”Chicken, Fennel & Rice' but obviously my thoughts went off in a different direction. Let’s just blame it on the flu I have been fighting for the past week! Because of this, very little cooking has been done here, but it’s given me the chance to thumb through my recipe boxes and to make one of my favorite soups when feeling a bit under the weather. This is a soup that won’t just let you stop with one bowl. A rich flavorful broth, with a hint of anise from the fennel.. and rice for body.

¾ cup chopped fresh fennel
½ cup diced onions
¼ cup celery, diced
½ cup washed & sliced leeks
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ diced red or orange bell pepper
½ diced green pepper
½ cup dry white wine
2 TBLS Sambucca
8 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
½ tsp ground anise seed
fresh thyme leaves
a splash of tobasco sauce
sea salt & lots of ground pepper
a cup of chicken, cooked and diced or fennel & garlic sausage (casings removed)
1 cup rice

Saute fresh fennel, onion, celery and leeks (and chicken sausage if using) in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add garlic, red and green peppers, wine and Sambucca. Simmer for 5 minutes.. then add chicken stock, ground anise seed, sea salt & ground pepper. Bring it all to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the rice, cooked chicken and simmer another 20 minutes. Serve very warm with lots of crusty bread. Just what the doctor ordered! Enjoy.


Anonymous said...

What's that I see over there Jady? Mafia's cookbook?! I'll have to find that one!
Feel better..PLEASE! That lovely soup will help for sure.
I do the same with little things tucked in my cookbooks. I still like the written word on real paper..just like you said.
Buon natale sweety!

YankeeSoaper said...

Thanks Maryann! Feeling better each day.. finally. A nice little addition to your cookbooks gf.. Mafia cookbook. Add it to your letter to Santa bloke lol!

Anonymous said...

,,,and Santa brings it..just like that! With a twitch of his red nose! It's magic, I tell ya! Magic!
Lots of love,
Maryann xox