Comfort Food

Comfort Food

Ujhazi's Rooster Soup


When I first saw the story behind Ujhazi's chicken soup, I knew I had to make it and write about it! I have anxiously awaited reaching “U” in my alphabetic list of Foods Named After Famous People!



My dad’s baby brother was a bachelor. In all honesty, we would call him a bachelor who liked women, drink and partying! He worked but enjoyed the times he wasn’t working … the most! He was also always taken care of by my dad and my dad’s baby sister, who we lovingly called “Sissy”. Uncle Peck (aka Wilburn) lived with Sissy’s family much of the time and when they all started aging and he no longer worked, she had a house trailer moved to her property so he could be independent, but so she could make sure he was fed and taken care of. He was a favorite of me and my siblings, even though his lifestyle was just the opposite of our family’s lifestyle. There were times that my dad … the Southern Baptist Deacon … had to go find him and retrieve him from one of those weekend parties!

What does any of that have to do with chicken soup? The story really begins right after World War II. Daddy and Uncle Peck had returned home. Daddy was busy building a house for his little family. Uncle Peck was busy being a “party animal” in the post WWII days! Uncle Peck was living with his father in a little house just a block from where I grew up. Uncle Peck had a prized fighting rooster.

On a day when Mother and Sissy decided they should make chicken and dumplings for the family, the old rooster had been especially annoying. Mother always said you couldn’t walk through the chicken pen to feed them without dodging attack of the old rooster. The two pious women probably felt that Uncle Peck shouldn’t be gambling with that rooster … so the rooster ended up in a pot of hot water, simmering away for a rich broth that made really good dumplings!

Can you imagine Uncle Peck’s temper tantrum when he discovered what they had done? Daddy told the story saying that Peck looked like an old rooster flapping his arms, strutting and yelling. I have never known if Uncle Peck ate any of the dumplings.

The original recipe for Ujhazy Chicken Soup calls for a rooster … not a hen. In order to have edible tender meat, that rooster would have cooked for a very long time! The broth would have been rich and flavorful!

I’m going to share the supposed original recipe with you today, but I’m going to share some short cuts to a wonderful chicken noodle soup. Phoebe and I made it on May 29, when temperatures are usually in the 80s. Not on this day! Temperatures were in the 50s and soup was in order. (Truth is, we love soup twelve months a year!)


Újházy tyúkhúsleves is a traditional Hungarian chicken soup made with instructions from actor Ede Ujhazi. Ujhazi was a ‘foodie’ and in his original recipe cooks included celery, carrots, beets, tomatoes, onions, green peas, mushrooms and garlic. The chicken (or rooster) was cooked with lots of parsley.


There is a wonderful 2015 article online from www.food&wine.hu that describes the importance of this soup. I happily cite it as my source for the following:

“Brueje” comes from the Middle High German language that disappeared by the end of the 15th century. The word meant “hot liquid”. The next word that came in line was “Bruhe” and it had a little different meaning. “Soul-warming” giving health and strength … became attached to the new word. Soup and broth were also directly associated with the launching of restaurants in the mid-1700s. One of the first restaurants to send the message “all those whose stomachs are suffering and who need repair … come to me” was Mr. Boulanger’s restaurant in Paris … build in 1765. Soups and broths have continued through centuries to be an important part of every good restaurant’s menu! The notion that soups make us feel better and are healthy eating is not just a notion. Cooking meats and vegetables in water to make the broth … takes the nutrients from those ingredients and puts them in the broth … all of which is easier to digest because of the cooking. It is safe to say that the broth may be more nutritious than the meat cooked to make it!

Ede Ujhazi was born in 1841 and died in 1915. While his food desires date to earlier times when goulash and lots of paprika made Hungarian food what it is … his acting talents and skills were modern for the times. According to writings from the times, this actor was excellent because he was intelligent. He was a student of history. He understood what was emerging before him. All combined, it made him one of Hungary’s greatest.



Sometime around 1890, this still famous chicken soup was first created at Ferenc Wampetics’ famous restaurant located in the City Park in Budapest. The soup made the restaurant so popular, it expanded! The tradition of eating this soup at restaurants all over the region has also expanded and survived the times! Make it … you’ll love it!


The original recipe for this soup has been changed many times, I’m sure! The following is probably very close. It is also a time consuming process, but nothing would be better than enjoying this simmering away on a cold day … or on any day when comfort food is required!



Rooster Soup!

Begin with a 3- pound chicken and cut in into 8 pieces. Put it in a big pot of water to begin cooking. You’ll need 2 to 3 quarts of water. If the chicken is old … or by chance a rooster … bring it to a boil and simmer it for 45 minutes before you add any vegetables. If the chicken is a young hen, add the vegetables at the beginning.
Add:

2 big carrots, cut in half
1 onion, peeled and cut into quarters
1/2 pound brussels sprouts
2 parsnips, cut in half
1 stalk of celery
2 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons of salt
10 whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon paprika
1 Tablespoon tomato paste

Cook all of this for 1 hour. Strain the soup, reserving the broth … and holding the meat and vegetables.

Put the broth back in the pot and add 1 cup of vermicelli noodles or egg noodles that you like best. Add 2 cups sliced mushrooms and let this simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.

As the soup simmers, remove the chicken meat from the bones and cut it into bite size pieces. Work with all the vegetables, cutting them into bite size pieces. Add all this back to the soup pot and simmer for 20 more minutes.

When the mushrooms and noodles are done, add lots of chopped fresh parsley and serve.

Sound delicious? Sound like a 3-hour project? It is well worth the investment of time and effort, but here’s a quick version!




Rotisserie Chicken and Noodle Soup

After you’ve enjoyed a meal from a supermarket rotisserie chicken, save the carcass for soup the next day. You can also pop it into the freezer for soup a couple weeks later!

Begin the soup by sauteing some vegetables in olive oi. I love garlic infused olive oil for this soup. I sauteed 2 spring onions, 2 carrots and half a green pepper … chopped into soup-size pieces! If you enjoy greens in your soup, add chopped greens at this point, too. I added a giant leaf of rainbow chard including the colorful red stalk.

While the vegetables are softening, pull all the meat off the chicken carcass and set it aside. Add 2 quarts of water to the soup pot and drop the carcass in. I use any fat or skin that might still be attached to the carcass, too. Let this simmer for 30 minutes. The vegetables should be done by then and all those rotisserie herbs will have added tremendous flavor to the broth.

Taste the broth and if it needs salt and pepper, add it. Drop in some caraway seeds and paprika if you want a true Hungarian flavor! A dribble of tomato sauce, catsup or a tablespoon of tomato paste improves the flavor. At this point, I like to add a little “Better than Bullion” in the roasted chicken flavor. You might also need as much as another quart of water.

Finish the soup by adding a cup of uncooked noodles or tiny pasta. Garnish it with fresh parsley. Delicious! In less than an hour, you have a soup that tastes and smells like it cooked all afternoon!




This post is part of my 2021 foodie project!  Enjoy!


Luisa's Tetrazzini


Many years ago, I was responsible for preparing a luncheon meal for 40 women.  The budget was small, so I was looking for something delicious that was not costly.  The menu was scrumptious and I ended up spending just a little more than one dollar per person.  My salad was a frozen gelatin based fruit salad that tasted more like dessert than salad!  Dessert was was a browned coconut topping oatmeal cake.  The entrée … which I’d never made before but have made many times since … was Chicken Tetrazzini!

Touring in the United States

Turkey or Chicken Tetrazzini was named after an Italian opera singer, Luisa Tetrazzini, but was created in the United States.  The recipe was first published as one of her favorite foods in 1911.  However, Good Housekeeping published the first reference to the dish in 1908, indicating that it could be found at a restaurant on 42nd Street in New York City.   There are various stories about when and where it was actually created, but two stories are my favorites!  No matter the story, many people think this is an Italian recipe!


Luisa Tetrazzini was born in 1871 in Florence, Italy. She began singing at the age of three.  In the 1890s, she was a highly popular soprano with a concert career in Europe and in America.  Her popularity came from a voice that had an incredible range.  She brought everything she sang … to life!  She made her debut in the United States in San Francisco in 1905.  She loved San Francisco.  In a second story, Tetrazzini made her American debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City in 1905.  This is why we have conflicting accounts of the origin of the recipe!

Recipes for Chicken or Turkey Tetrazzini have been printed in cookbooks and magazines … and newspaper columns … for decades!  There are many varieties, but this is one of those dishes that I always used canned soup in.  Sometimes I make my own cream sauces and skip the soup, but not in this recipe!  The flavor is not the same without Cream of Chicken Soup!

This is a perfect recipe to make after Thanksgiving, when you have lots of left over turkey meat.  Today, rotisserie chickens from the supermarket are so popular and make such an easy weeknight meal, home cooks frequently have meat left over from that!  Use it in this recipe!

This is a good oven casserole or an afternoon crock pot dish!  It is easily doubled.  Here ya go!

 



Turkey Tetrazzini



2 cups of cooked chicken or turkey in bitesize chunks
8 ounces of uncooked spaghetti
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can of Cream of Chicken soup
Fill the can half full of sour cream
Measure a whole can of half and half or whole milk
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
A handful of fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1/2 teaspoon of celery flakes or celery seed
2 Tablespoons of roasted red bell pepper or pimento – optional

Break the spaghetti in half and cook it about halfway.  It will cook the rest of the way in the casserole or crock pot. 

Sauté the mushrooms in a couple pats of butter.  I like to drop the mushrooms is really hot butter so they brown quickly.

Mix all the ingredients together and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Cover the casserole with foil for the first 30 minutes, then finish the casserole uncovered.  If you are preparing in a crockpot, cook on low for 3 hours.

 

Singing in the streets of San Francisco!  Her favorite American city.



This post is part of my 2021 foodie project!  Foods Named After Famous People!

I’ll shar with a couple blog parties, so look at my short list on my sidebar.

Enjoy!

 

 

Strawberries Romanoff

It is almost strawberry season in Southern Illinois and my family can hardly wait!  Sometimes we pick our own and other years we just buy them from our favorite orchard stand.

When I chose the topic of Strawberries Romanoff for my blog post, I figured I’d be writing about the historic Russian Romanov family and how some famous chef named this dish after them.  Not!

The first thing we need to know is that Strawberries Romanoff sounds like something extravagant and elegant.  It looks pretty, but it is really just fresh strawberries macerated in sugar and topped with a combination of ice cream and whipped cream … or sour cream and whipped cream … spiked with orange liqueur or brandy.  The famous chef, Escoffier created the recipe.  He served it at the Carlton Hotel in London and called it “Strawberries Americaine Style”.   It was a character named Hershel Geguzin who named the famous dessert after a restaurant in Beverly Hills, California!

Geguzin was born in Lithuania in 1890.  He went to Hollywood and changed his name to Michael Romanoff.  While he claimed to be a member of Russia’s royalty, he was a con man who immigrated to New York City when he was 10 years old.  He first changed his name to Harry F. Gerguson.  Sometimes he pretended to be a Count and other times a Prince and nephew of Tsar Nicholas II.  He was neither.

In the 1940s and 50s, he owned “Romanoff’s”, a restaurant that was very popular with Hollywood stars.  It was at this establishment that he copied Escoffier’s strawberries.

Romanoff dining with his dogs.  Photo credit: Wikipedia

Romanoff’s restaurant served good food.  It was popular for having well trained waiters and beautiful cigarette girls!  The restaurant was popular, but not  because of the owner/host’s personality.  Instead of mingling with his patrons, he had meals with his dogs. 

Michael Romanoff was also an actor.  He was in several movies and sometimes his role was that of Prince Romanoff!  What a character!

To make Strawberries Romanoff following one of the vintage recipes, combine 1/2 cup of sour cream with 3 Tablespoons of brown sugar.  Add a Tablespoon of brandy and if you don’t imbibe, use the same amount of vanilla.  Stir this in to 2 cups of whipped cream (real is best, but you can use whipped topping).  Macerate 4 cups of quartered strawberries with 1/4 cup of white sugar and a drizzle of brandy.  Top each serving of strawberries with a portion of the whipped cream.


I want to share a couple variations of this beautiful dessert.  I bought these cute miniature angel food cakes at a bakery.  I brushed them with a combination of Grand Marnier and orange zest.  Because I wanted the shape of the cake to be visible, I put the whipped cream/sour cream combination under the cake.



This trifle is a bit more complicated, but not too much!  I macerated the berries in sugar and brandy.  The whipped cream on top is spiked with a little brandy.  The vanilla pudding is instant, but I whipped in a cup of sour cream after I made it according to the box directions.  This is just as good using chocolate pudding or tapioca pudding.  If you are really busy, don’t hesitate to buy a bucket of pudding from the dairy counter. How easy? 



I'm posting this as part of my 2021 foodie project, Foods Named after Famous People!  I'll share with a couple blog parties, too ... so check out my short list on my sidebar.






February's Family Sunday Dinner

Christmas 2020

Mary Queen of Scots Dinner Menu Booklet

Grandma Debbie's Christmas 2018

Grandma's Blue & Green Pupkins!

Autumn at Grandma Debbie's