Dad always started meals with soup. Piping hot soup like this Chicken Soup with Rice and Vegetables with the steam floating from the large bowl was a mainstay at the table. Dad sat at the ‘cabecera’ (say ‘kah-beh-se-rah’), the head of the table, while the soup bowl was on his right, between him and me. Mom sat on Dad’s left. The soup, like the rest of the dishes was served family style. We passed the food around the table and each one spooned their servings on respective plates. Large oval platters of meat, seafood and vegetables, mounds of steamed white rice and the huge bowl of soup were at every breakfast, lunch and dinner.
(Photo of my Nilagang Manok, Filipino Boiled Chicken Stew. I used the leftovers for this recipe.)
We lived in a hot, tropical climate year round in the Philippines. I never asked why we had soup every meal. Mom never ran out of ideas for soup. It was amazing how every big bowl tasted different and delightful.
Back here in my American kitchen, I could not help but think of those days of my growing up years especially when we got a huge snow storm on the east coast this week. Storm “Hercules” left us with a foot of snow and bitter cold temperatures. It was time for soup. I could feel the chill in my bones. My family needed some warm comfort in a bowl. We had many leftovers from the holiday dishes. I knew I had enough to put together a big cauldron of soup. There was boiled chicken from leftover ‘Nilagang Manok’, pork (ham and longanisa sausages), vegetables. There was no exact recipe for this. It is what Filipinos would call “maski-pops” (short for ‘maski papaano’ meaning anything goes).
I sliced everything in uniform bite-sized pieces. Once the broth was simmering, I tossed everything in and watched the chicken float around with the leftover ham, sausages, green beans, bok choy, corn kernels and all. Lastly, I added cupfuls of leftover cooked rice. It made the broth rich and thick. Before long, the savory aromas of ginger and garlic filled the kitchen. I stirred the pot and scooped out a cupful of soup with the large ladle. The shiny, plump rice grains nestled next to the vegetables and meat cubes. The aroma of onions in the broth floated around. I stirred the soup in the pot some more. I just knew that if my Dad were still around, he would have had not just one, but two heaping bowls of my chicken soup with rice. He would have enjoyed it so.
Chicken Soup with Rice and Vegetables
- stockpot, large;
- 1 cup cooked chicken sliced in 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup cooked ham sliced in 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup cooked pork longanisa sliced in 1/2-inch pieces (or use any cooked sausages preferred)
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garllic minced
- 1 whole large onion chopped onion
- 1- knob (1-inch) fresh ginger peeled, sliced in thin slivers
- 2 Tablespoons patis (fish sauce)
- 8 cups broth, chicken or vegetable
- 1 cup cooked green beans sliced in 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup cooked corn kernels
- 1 cup shredded bok choy
- 2 cups cooked rice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare ingredients by slicing the chicken, ham, pork, vegetables in uniform bite-sized pieces of about ½ inches.
- Over medium heat, in a large deep stock pot, add the vegetable oil. After 1 to 2 minutes when the oil is hot, saute the garlic, onions, ginger. Stir around and cook for 2 minutes till onions are transparent.
- Add the fish sauce and soup broth (or rice wash). Cover and increase heat to high. When the broth boils in about 8 to 10 minutes, lower heat back to medium. Add the meat pieces : chicken, ham, pork. After 5 to 6 minutes of simmering, throw in the cut up vegetables and cooked rice. Stir the soup. Season with salt and pepper. Keep the soup on a very low simmer till ready to serve.
- Cook’s comments: I used leftover soup broth and chicken from a previous Nilagang Manok (Filipino Boiled Chicken Stew with Vegetables). If you do not have soup broth on hand, use rice wash for the broth. In the Philippines, we call rice wash 'hugas-bigas'. I have shown how to obtain rice wash and keep the broth in a previous blog post – this is an age old cooking tip from Filipino mothers and generations before them.