Curried Chicken & Cider Soup

Well, it happened - the inevitable stress cold/miserable case of seasonal allergies. Regardless of which it is, there are some crummy feelings circulating in my body, and while I'm not doing much cooking of my own as a result (in conjunction with the mountains of work a la the "stress" part of stress cold), I do have a soup recipe that is in my freezer waiting for my sniffly self to reheat. I wish I could tell you that I'm a little bit more excited about this fact, but I'm not such a fan of this recipe. It's missing something, and has a weird something else, and maybe lots of people out there would fall in love with it...but it has been very hit-or-miss each time I've taken some out of the freezer to eat.

Curried Chicken Cider Soup sounds exotic and complex enough for my fickle taste buds, but there's something in the flavor - it may be too sweet, or maybe it needs a base with more flavor than just water. Whatever the case, I'm sharing it with you not because I think it's an epic failure, but because I genuinely believe that there are people who would really enjoy it. It's very fall-like, and I have to admit that adding some sour cream to it and using it as a mix-in for pasta was much more palatable for me. So again, I'm thinking that it just needs a little creative adjustment.

As far as actually making it goes, it's involved. This is no crockpot recipe where you can throw a bunch of ingredients into your pot, turn it on and come back 10 hours later with dinner ready. There's chopping and blending and mixing, but I was still able to complete it in an afternoon. I paired it with some nice, crusty bread the first time around, and made the note that it was simple, but potentially underwhelming as a main course. So, take that as you wish. And if you like apple cider, ginger, chicken, and the like, give this a shot - it may be my quirky eating preferences just don't align with this recipe.

Curried Chicken & Cider Soup, courtesy of Rachael Ray's Everyday magazine
Yield: 4 servings, which sounds about right to me
The Ingredients
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
salt and pepper (do it - add the salt; I didn't, but maybe that's my problem)
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 C apple cider
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-in. chunks
1/2 head of cauliflower, coarsely chopped - about 4C
1/2 rotisserie chicken, skin and bones discarded and meat shredded

The Method
1. Add the olive oil, onion, ginger and 1 tsp. salt to a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally and cook until softened, roughly 5 minutes.
2. Add the curry powder and cumin, stirring for another 3 minutes. Stir in the cider and scrape the bottom of the pan.
3. Add 4C water and the sweet potatoes, bringing to a boil before adding the cauliflower and lowering the heat to a simmer. Continue cooking until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
4. Using a blender, puree the soup in batches. When finished, return to the pot and stir in the chicken. Cook until warmed through, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

So you see, it's simple enough to make and it isn't that it tastes bad. There's just something that I can't quite put my finger on - it could be too much chicken (I used 3C of frozen cooked chicken from my roasted chicken earlier in the year), or not enough pureeing. It's more of a texture thing than a flavor thing, I think, though the flavor needs a little something, too. Again, maybe just add some salt or use a low-sodium broth instead of some or all of the water.

I'm sorry for the lackluster delivery! I feel like I usually come gushing to you guys about the most super awesome meal I just made and how you absolutely need to try it right. now. Hopefully this hasn't discouraged you, at least not too much. I promise I'll come back with something I can endorse more enthusiastically next time. I do have a cookie exchange for my dietetic association coming up, so that shouldn't be too hard - you know how I love cookies!

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