Sunday, February 10, 2008

Rachel Ray's Stoup

We made several changes to the recipe that Rachel Ray makes Chicken Cacciatore Stoup; Stoup because it is thicker than a Stew, and thinner than a Soup. We replaced the chicken breasts (about one pound) with mock chicken, we used Yukon Gold (yellow-fleshed) potatoes rather than russet, we didn't add the 4 ribs celery hearts (because we didn't have any), we used Ontario Merlot rather than dry Italian red wine (it was what we had on hand), we used regular crushed tomatoes rather than the fire-roasted ones it calls for (does anyone know where one can find fire-roasted tomatoes?), and we used vegetable stock rather than the chicken stock it calls for. Basically, we made a vegetarian version of her recipe. It still tasted quite good. We had it alone, with rice and with noodles as a spaghetti sauce. All worked well.

Rachel Ray's Stoup
Adapted from a recipe by Rachel Ray
1 package mock chicken, 270 g
Coarse salt and black pepper
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1-inch squares
4 portobello mushroom caps or 16 crimini mushrooms, sliced or chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered lengthwise, then thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered lengthwise, then thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup Ontario Merlot red wine (eyeball it)
1 can diced tomatoes (15 ounces)
1 can crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)
2 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary (3-4 sprigs), finely chopped
1 cup basil or arugula or baby spinach leaves, shredded or torn

Heat a deep skillet or a medium soup pot over medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons olive oil and the chicken. Season it with coarse salt and pepper.

While the chicken cooks, chop up the veggies.

When the chicken is evenly and lightly browned all over, about 3-4 minutes, remove it to a plate and reserve.

Add another tablespoon of olive oil. Add the potatoes to the pan. Cook a couple of minutes, then add in the mushrooms and onion and cook another couple of minutes. Add in the peppers and garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper.

Add chicken back to the pan. Toss it with the vegetables. Add red wine to the pan and deglaze it, picking up drippings. Add tomatoes and stock to the stoup and stir to combine. Stir in rosemary and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook, 8-10 minutes.

Turn off stoup and ladle into shallow bowls. Top with basil (for a sweet finish and to balance the spice in the soup) or arugula (for a peppery finish) or with spinach (for a woodsy finish). At the table, pass grated cheese for sprinkling on top of the stoup and bread for mopping up the bowl.

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