MOROCCAN CHICKEN SOUP WITH CHICKPEAS AND VERMICELLI (for ten)
For the chicken stock:
a whole roasted chicken, meat removed, shredded and reserved
2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight
1 large onion coarsely chopped
5 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
For the soup:
3 cups cooked chicken meat reserved from the stock
4 ounces vermicelli crushed into bits with your hands
½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
½ cup chopped cilantro
5 lemons, cut into wedges, for serving
1. Place the chicken carcass in a stockpot with salt and water to cover by 1 inch (about 3 quarts). Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Skim any scum that rises to the surface of the stock.
2. Add the chickpeas, onion, tomatoes and some pepper and simmer, covered, for 1-1/2 hours, until the chickpeas are soft. Add the ginger, cinnamon and salt when the chickpeas begin to soften.
3. Lift out the chicken carcass and discard the skin and bones.
4. Add the chicken to the pot along with the vermicelli, parsley and cilantro. Add more water if needed, bring to a simmer and cook a few minutes until the vermicelli are tender (about 4 minutes from when the water returns a boil). Serve hot, accompanied by lemon wedges.
- If you want to thicken the soup before serving: Either beat 3 eggs with a ladle of the broth from the soup, then pour this into the soup, stirring vigorously for a few seconds, but not letting the soup boil (or the eggs will curdle). Or, add 4 tablespoons flour mixed to a light cream with a few tablespoons cold water, stir vigorously, then simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
- If you want to make the soup with an uncooked chicken: Rinse the uncooked bird under cold tap water, remove any excess fat and and any giblets stashed in the cavity, and place the chicken in a pot with 1 tablespoon salt and water to cover by 1 inch (about 3 quarts). Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, partly covered, for 30 minutes. Transfer the chicken from the pot to a plate and set it aside until it is cool enough to handle. Discard the skin, remove the meat from the bones and shred the meat. Return the bones to pot and continue with step 2 of the recipe. Once the meat has cooled completely, cover and refrigerate it until you’re ready to finish the soup.
- If your leftover chicken carcass doesn’t have enough meat on it to finish the soup: Buy 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts from your grocery, salt them and add them to the stock after you’ve removed and discarded the carcass in step 3. Reduce the heat to medium and poach the chicken until the juices run clear, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon to a plate to cool, then shred it. Proceed with step 4.
- This is a good use for leftover djaj m’ammal bil keskou (Moroccan roasted chicken with cinnamon honey glaze)
adapted from Claudia Roden, The New Book of Middle Eastern Food