Tag Archives: soul food

Lung Soup – Nose to Tail Fortnight Day 12

14 May

Lungs.

Also called lights.

They’re not a commonly heard offal I hear you cry. I don’t think Lucy has even cooked with them. (I have, FYI, in my forthcoming haggis post.) Who would want to eat a lung? There’s probably a reason we don’t eat them.

Well, I’ll have you know that lungs are described by many as tofu-like, or mushroomy. Does that make it sound better?

There are a couple of recipes for lung soup that are around. I’ve read a few online and I’ve read Jennifer McLagan’s in ‘Odd Bits’. If there’s one in the Fith Quarter, then I’ve read that too. So I did all the reading and preparation. Then I freestyled. That’s quite typical. Generally I’m either a recipNazi, or I say “It’ll be fine, we’ll just make it up, food is food” and so on. With the latter there is always a risk. (The blood episode sticks out.)

Why don’t we eat lungs? They are cheap – £1 for a pair – they only come in pairs. I know there are some issues surrounding supply. When I made the haggis I had to telephone EVERY BUTCHER in Leeds to get hold of them. But they were lamb’s lungs. The ones you can get at Leeds market are pig’s. I’ve noticed with the nosetotail malarky that pork offal seems to be the easiest to get hold of. Do you find that true?

Anyway, back to the lungs.

I soaked my lungs in repeated fresh bowls of cold water for about an hour. This gets excess blood to come out. They feel spongy.

Perhaps not the most appetising looking of meats. They look pale because I took this picture after quite a lot of the blood had come out.

My lungs came with windpipe attached. I did a naughty thing and threw it away. Mostly because I was very tired and simmering a windpipe for small amount of stock didn’t appeal. Bad offaltarian.I then decided I was only going to use one lung today, so put the other in the freezer.

Then I got involved with my hands. There’s a membrane surrounding the lungs that is easy to peel off with your fingers. I’m not sure if you have to do that or not, but it was hampering my chopping, so I took it away.

If you’ve done GCSE Biology, you’ll know that lungs are full of tubes. Branchioles? Some of these are soft enough to eat, but if they look a bit bit or a bit tough, chop round them. Bearing in mind that the biggest ones are where the windpipe joins the lungs, I started my morsel chopping from the bottom of the lung. I found scissors easier to use than a knife.

So snip, snip, snip. I was quite tired when I was doing this, so I forgot to take any photos. SOZBAD. If you’re interested, get in touch and I talk you through my lung scissoring technique. You end up with a pile of tubes (for the bin, or stockpot, or hound) and a pile of lung tissue.

Then I sliced 1 leek and chopped 1 onion and fried them together gently in a pan. I added 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp dried parsley, 1 tsp oregano, quarter tsp suma spice, quarter teaspoon ground cinnamon. Stir it all around. Then add the lung bits. They cook really fast.

You can see the darker bits are the lung morsels, a couple are still a bit pink, so you can see how they change.

Then add 1 can chopped tomatoes and an equal amount of pork stock. I, of course, used my head stock. You could use any. Even chicken. Or vegetable. The simmer for about twenty minutes. The soup is quite a chunky one. Don’t blitz it.

And there you have it. An unusual soup.

What I realised whilst I was eating it, was that lung is totally in my all time favourite soup – Baxters’ Royal Game. If you’ve not had it. Do. it’s amazing. All through my life it’s been my poorly soup and it is DELICIOUS.

There’s even a stag on the front. So it must be amazing. That’s if you follow the wine rule, where the bottle with the cutest animal on is definitely the most delicious.

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Greek Chicken Soup

1 Apr

I’ve not eaten this in Greece, nor actually asked any of my Greek friends whether it is at all Greek, but it was taught to me by a Greek Cypriot who was my boss in the chip shop, and since then has been called Greek Chicken Soup.

It cures all ills, whether they are emotional (I was in a mega grump a few days ago) or physical (D Dizzle got a bad flu virus), and is super delicious. It makes a nice summer soup – I’ve never really got my head around cold soups – but some of this kind of warm is very refreshing.

Part soup, part risotto, it does take some time to prepare as the goodness is all in the stock that you make. If you’ve just thought “oh I’ll just use cubes”, then you’ll miss out on a lot of Getting Better Power. Just saying. But the beauty of this is in the holistic power of the chicken meat, skin, cartilage and bone. A whole chicken carcass, post-Sunday lunch works well. I learnt to cook it with chicken wings. Chicken thighs work nicely too, especially if you’re a lover of the dark meat. But my favourite way to make the stock is with these bad boys:

As an aside at this point, I did run a competition on twitter if you could guess correctly what this was. Twitter fail! I don’t think I have enough twitterlings yet, so if you’d like to, feel free to add me – look to the right. If you’re pon the case of twitter, then feel equally free not to, but bear in mind you might be missing out! But Facebook win, and MotherEagle a prize will wing it’s way to you soon!

By the way, that is a chicken neck. Not a penis, or tripe, or tapioca. Neck. From the African butcher in the market. Chicken neck is a dark meat too.

Here is not a recipe, but more a guideline to making your own Greek Chicken Soup. Adjust times and ingredients accordingly. It is a very forgiving dish.

  1. Take 1 lb of chicken – necks, legs, wings, thighs, a carcass – a cocktail of the above. What is important is the bones in it. So breast is no good. Place in a pan and cover with water and bring to the boil. This is going to simmer for a few hours (at least two) until the meat falls off the bone when gently teased with an utensil.If you feel the water is getting low, top it up as it definitely does not want to burn dry.
  2. When you think you’ve got to that stage, place a colander over an empty mixing bowl or pan and strain the chickeny broth through. What you need to do now is separate the meat from the bones. I use my (clean) fingers. With necks, you won’t get every single tiny scrap off, but that’s ok. Reserve only the meat, the boiled skin doesn’t taste that nice in the soup and anyway it’s already given a lot of its fat and nutrient to the stock.
  3. Now you should have a bowl of stock and a bowl of meat.
  4. Take a heavy-bottomed pan and put a slug on oil in the bottom. Finely chop an onion and fry it until it’s translucent. You might want to add a little garlic, you might not.
  5. Add two fistfuls of PUDDING RICE. Yes that’s right, the rice used for the making of the rice pudding from scratch. If you can’t get it or don’t have it, you can use risotto or paella rice. I imagine you could use barley. But nothing long grain nor indeed basmati. They are not appropriate here. If you feel like carb-loading, put three handfuls in. Stir it all together.
  6. Add the meat, stirring.
  7. Now, you need to ask the question, how lemony do I want this? If the answer is pretty lemony, then zest one lemon now (you’ll need the juice of two in total) and add that to the pan.
  8. But what of my delicious stock? Now is its moment of glory. Add it back to the pan. The top it up (if you need to) with water so that it’s all covered.
  9. Add the juice of two lemons.
  10. Simmer and stir for about twenty minutes.
  11. Decide how liquid you would like it – if it’s a bit too risotto-y, add a bit more water.

It should, according to my taste, be melting and have enough stock left for you to have some soupy spoons and some foody spoons, maybe a bit porridgey in consistency?

It tastes even better the next day.