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Saffron Cream of Chicken Soup


Kashmir "Mogra Cream" saffron grows in a remote valley in the Himalayan mountains and is the world's most expensive spice by weight. Fortunately, most recipes don't require very much so it is not expensive to use. When it is added to chicken stock it works magic and lends a golden tint. The stock is best made the day before serving. The soup is then quickly prepared and may be served as a first course to a pork roast dinner. If Kashmir saffron is difficult to find, try Spanish saffron in this soup.

Chicken Stock

    1 cup sliced heart celery stalks with leaves
    2 cups chopped yellow onion
    teaspoon ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons chicken base
    1 cup hot water
    1 whole chicken
    1 teaspoon dried basil

Cream Soup

    Chicken stock
    1 cup water
    2 cups fat-free milk
    cup frozen corn
    1 tablespoon coarsely chopped red bell pepper
    1 tablespoon dried parsley
    Pinch crushed Kashmir saffron threads

    Pinch sweet paprika

    ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground Tellicherry peppercorns
    1 tablespoon butter
    ⅔ cup chopped cooked chicken breast
    cup all-purpose flour
    ⅓ cup cold water
    cup whipping cream
    Seasoning salt
    Freshly ground Tellicherry peppercorns
    Fresh parsley sprigs

1.  Stock: Turn a 6-quart crockery cooker onto high heat; add   
     celery, onions, pepper, chicken base and hot water.

2.  Place chicken on vegetables and sprinkle with basil. Insert
     the meat thermometer. Cook 6-8 hours without lifting the lid.

3.  When the temperature reaches 185
, the stock is done. Place         
    chicken on a platter. Take the chicken off the bones and save
     for the soup. Dark meat can be used in another dish.

4.  Strain hot stock into a heat-proof dish and refrigerate  
     overnight or until the chicken fat rises to the top, scrape off.

5.  Soup: Re-heat chicken stock in a 6-quart Dutch oven. Add  
     water, milk, corn, bell pepper, parsley, saffron, paprika,         
pepper and butter. When simmering, add chicken pieces.

6.  Mix flour with ⅓ cup water and add in a little of the chicken
     soup. Stir warm flour mixture back into the soup. Stir until 
    thickened. Taste soup and season with salt and pepper if needed.

7.  Add cream and stir well. Garnish with parsley.

     Makes 6 servings


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