Thank God for soups! I love them, don’t you?
All you need here is some winter vegetables and a chicken. I used canned pumpkin, and some taro root from the neighborhood supermarket. Taro is similar to potatoes in taste, just with a more pronounced flavor.
Taro root is popular in Lebanon and the Middle-East. It is called kolkass in Arabic.
If you want to avoid peeling and cutting it, it is available at Middle-eastern grocers frozen and already cut up.
It is a simple but filling soup, based on a chicken cooked in its broth, some pumpkin purée and the taro (aka colocase) cut up in chunks. Flavored with turmeric and onions.
- 1 small chicken or a few chicken parts, about 2 to 3 pounds
- several onions, chopped
- 2 cans of pumpkin
- Seasonings: salt, bay leaves, 1 Tablespoon of turmeric, 2 garlic cloves, white pepper, paprika, a dash of cinnamon *and whatever else you fancy at the time)
- 1 or 2 lemons
- 1 1/2 pounds of taro roots or a bag of frozen and cut up taro (colocasia)
- 1/2 cup of whipping cream or several packets of kiri or any other creamy spread cheese (optional)
- Clean the chicken by rubbing it with a cut lemon. Rub some oil on it (sesame, olive, canola, corn). Season it with salt, pepper, turmeric and cinnamon all over. Heat a pot and when it is hot, place the chicken in it fry it in the pot all over till golden throughout. Add 6 cups of tap water (depending on the size of the bird, adding more if necessary), the bay leaves, the chopped onion, garlic cloves and bring to a simmer. Simmer the chicken in its broth for one hour or until it is cooked and tender. Turn off the heat, cool a bit and drain.
- Collect the broth in the pot. Cut the chicken pieces in small segments and discard bones and skin. Set aside. Peel the taro root (use gloves) and cut in chunks, placing the chunks in the chicken broth.
- Place the pot over the stove, bring to a steady simmer and add the pumpkin. Stir a bit and let it simmer until the taro are cooked, about 15 minutes. Add some cream at this point and simmer for another 15 minutes or so, tasting the soup to adjust the seasoning. Add the cut-up chicken pieces at the end. Serve warm.
TIP: If you decide to peel and cut the taro in advance, make sure to wear gloves and place the chunks in a bowl of water in which you will squeeze some fresh lemon juice.
Feel free to play around with the spices in this soup; with both these vegetables and chicken, pretty much anything goes!
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