Thursday, July 23, 2009

Our Signature Recipe from Purgatory

Chicken Purgatory Soup

On a recent weekend I “grill roasted” a baby chicken (poussin) over a charcoal fire. I seasoned it with salt and pimenton dulce and laid it out over the wood coals, covered, where it developed a nice smoky flavor. There were leftovers.
I crafted this soup recipe to include three layers of “flame roastedness.” The other two are fire roasted tomatoes (Muir Glen) and a small green pepper blackened over a stove top burner. To these ingredients I added sliced okra and and red corn which I found at Whole Foods, but you can substitute white corn. I finished it with thinly sliced green onions and chopped cilantro. I plated it with long grain white rice.
I enjoyed this enough to make it the signature recipe for my blog.


1 tbs chopped shallot
2 tbs olive oil
¾ cup chicken stock
1 16 oz can fire roasted tomatoes (e.g. Muir Glen)
1 ear red corn (or substitute white)
1 smallish green bell pepper, roasted over an open burner flame
½ cup slice okra, fresh or frozen
½ green onion (green and white parts), sliced
Chopped cilantro, just a small handful
½ of one wood grill roasted chicken, meat from breast, thigh and leg (note: you can grill the chicken over gas, lid closed, but you won’t get the smoky flavor, and I won’t respect you in the morning. And you’ll spend another ten years in Purgatory).
Salt and pepper
1 cup cooked white, long grain rice

Begin by flame roasting the green pepper on an oven burner, turning frequently. When the skin is blackened place in a paper bag, rolled closed to steam. Or place the pepper in a glass bowl and seal with cling wrap. Both methods work fine. I keep small bags around to recycle just for this purpose.When the pepper is cool enough to handle rub the blackened skin away (it's okay if a little bit clings). Cut into strips lengthwise, and then into smaller pieces across the width.

By hand tear the meat from the chicken and shred by hand. Set aside.
In your soup pot heat the olive oil and add the chopped shallot. Cook until just translucent.

Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the tomatoes. Season with salt and a couple of grindings of pepper and bring back to simmering, uncovered.
Meanwhile, using a sharp knife, carve the kernels off of the corn and stir into the soup.

Add the okra, roasted pepper and stir everything together. Cook at a steady simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, allowing the okra to contribute some thickening.
About half way through cooking begin steaming your rice in a coved pan over low flame. Usually 18 minutes does the job.

Taste the soup for seasoning. It will need more salt and ground pepper. Add green onions and cilantro to finish. Cilantro can be added over individual bowls. See note.
When the soup has thickened but is still “soup like” remove from heat. Add the rice to individual bowls and ladle the soup over or around the rice. It’s ready to eat.
Notes to the cook: if you are feeding guests offer them the option of having their serving with or without cilantro. I love the stuff but I’m now convinced that some people are genetically predisposed to dislike it. It’s not an acquired taste.

I picked up a pretty nifty trick for scraping kernels from a corn cob from Michael Chiarello. If you have a bundt pan, invert it, place the pointy end of the cob into the hole in the tube. Scrape away. The pan will collect the kernels so that they are not flying all over the place.

If you like you can use a larger chicken, maybe a Rocky Junior.

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