How thrilled was I when Amanda came for an impromptu visit to Philadelphia a few weeks ago? Trekking all the way back to hometown (Lancaster) from Montana, she managed a day trip out to Philly and, despite the rain and cold, we managed to cover some serious ground around the city before settling into a hearty cupful (or two) of this soup for lunch.
I was showing her my cookbook collection when it dawned on me we should make something from the Mennonite Community Cookbook that my Mom had bestowed upon me. Bring our Lancastrian heritage to the city! Chicken corn soup is a pretty popular dish around our area—the Solanco fair, an epic mess of tractors, cows and raffle tickets with no amusement park rides in sight, sells it to the line of customers bending around a parked food truck—and it was the most sobering, disagreeable day outside. There was no question.
I expected this venture to be both time-consuming and difficult, but it was neither. Perhaps because we only used chicken parts, instead of a whole (we were cooking for three), but the chicken cooked quickly, and, between the two of us, the hardboiled eggs and dough came together efficiently and mostly without any mess. The resulting dish was as gratifying to eat as it had been to think about all morning. There isn’t really a replacement for homemade chicken broth, and the slightly oiled liquid was ridiculously flavorful.
Now, if only I can convince her to visit more often so we can delve into the troves of hometown recipes we both grew up with…
CHICKEN CORN SOUP
(via the Mennonite Community Cookbook)
½ chicken (I used 4-5 drumsticks, bone-in)
2 quarts water
½ medium onion, finely chopped
½ cup chopped celery
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen corn
2 hardboiled eggs
½ cup flour
Dash of milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook chicken slowly in two quarts of water, until tender. Remove chicken pieces and slice meat from the bone, chopping into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
Add corn and bring broth to a boil. Add chopped celery and onion and continue to cook for five minutes. While cooking, hard boil eggs (cover with water in a small pot and boil for ten minutes. Remove eggs, run through cold water, and peel.) On a plate with rounded edges, mix flour, ½ of the raw egg and milk, using a fork to rub together into dough pieces the size of a pea.
Five minutes before serving, add celery, onion, egg and dough pieces. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve extra hot!