Day 7: Egg Day! Oh Yeah, and Chestnut and Chicken Soup

11 Jan

Finally! I get another egg tomorrow, so today is the day I finally cook my egg. I coo “precious” to it like Gollum in Lord of the Rings to the ring, and then promptly soft boil it and dunk strips of toast into it, or “soldiers.”

“It’s egg day!” I squeal excitedly to my husband Ed as I wait for it to boil.

“What?”

“You know, I get an egg a week and tomorrow I get another egg, so I can finally cook my egg! I’ve been waiting all week to eat it and now I can.”

“That’s great, honey.” He mutters something under his breath about not dropping the egg, followed by something I can’t quite make out about my sanity, which I ignore.

I rarely soft boil eggs anymore, but soft boiling is the ultimate celebration of a gooey, warm, velvety egg yolk. If I had butter and could butter the soldiers, I would. I notice the wobbly egg white as I spoon it out, coated with what’s left of the egg yolk.

Since I have some leftover chicken and gravy, I make them the basis of this soup. Like most of my Granny’s savory food, it’s unfussy but tasty, and makes full use of what’s at hand. If you’ve never had gribenes, or chicken skin cracklings, give them a whirl. No need to salt the chicken skin though, since it was salted for the roasted chicken already. I like something a little crunchy on top of soup, especially since it’s filled with softened vegetables. Add a little color with parsley and you’re done.

Chestnut and Chicken Soup with Gribenes

4 Servings

INGREDIENTS
2 pint containers full of fresh chestnuts
1 roasted chicken breast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 large onion, cut medium dice
4 small carrots, cut medium dice
2 stalks celery, cut medium dice
1/4 leek, cut medium dice
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups leftover chicken gravy
Water
1/2 potato, peeled and cut medium dice
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

METHOD
Score each chestnut with a cross. Put them in a large pot of salted water and bring the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, then strain and peel the chestnuts. Cut them into a medium dice and set aside. Take the roasted chicken breast and carefully remove the skin. Small dice the chicken skin and render it in a small sauté pan until golden brown and crispy. Remove from the heat and put on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

Cut the chicken meat into a medium dice. Take a large shallow pot and put it over a high heat. Add the oil and heat it until it shimmers. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sweat. Add the leek and flour, and stir continuously until the flour is cooked, to ensure that you don’t burn the flour. Add the gravy and scrape the bottom of the pan with a spoon. Add the potatoes and enough water to cover all the solids in the pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. When the potatoes are cooked through, season the soup with salt and pepper. Add the diced chicken and chestnuts to the liquid. The liquid should just cover the solids in the pan. If it doesn’t, add a little water or chicken stock. Check the seasoning on the soup, bring it to a boil, then remove from the heat. Serve the soup topped with the crisped chicken skin (the gribenes) and the parsley.

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