I know it’s starting to look like my Recipe Rewind feature is really just about soup, but I assure you that’s totally not the case. It’s just that I just happen to like soup a lot… which means my old recipe collection has a very high soup-to-not-soup ratio.
Mulligatawny, if you’re not familiar with it, is usually a chicken and rice soup flavoured with curry, celery and chopped apples, which give it a gorgeous spicy, sweet and savoury combination of flavours. The story goes that the soup was concocted by Indian cooks under the British Raj to satisfy their British employers’ custom of always having a soup course with dinner.
Like many other traditional dishes, there are as many recipes for mulligatawny as there are for pad thai, so it’s hard to tell exactly what qualifies as an “authentic” version. I’m pretty sure this one isn’t even close to being authoritative… but it’s the way my mother made it, which means I’ll always think of it as the one true mulligatawny against which all others should be measured. (Why yes, I am stubborn and set in my ways… why do you ask?)
My mother was always a big fan of mulligatawny as a post-turkey-dinner meal, since it uses up leftover turkey scraps (or roast chicken) and leftover cooked rice in a single dish… not to mention onions and celery you probably have left over from stuffing the bird the first time around. When it comes to leftovers, Mumsy Dearest doesn’t mess around – when my sister and I were growing up, she had an entire folder of recipes for leftover turkey alone… it’s a level of organization and planning I can’t even begin to duplicate in my own life.
Don’t despair if you’re not a leftover superstar or don’t happen to have leftover rice in the fridge, though… you can just as easily cook it along with the rest of the soup. Just add a quarter cup of basmati or long-grain rice when you pour the broth into the pot, then simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender before continuing on with the rest of the recipe.
Oh, and speaking of leftovers… I find that this soup is quite delicious the first day, but it’ll usually be even better after a day or two, once the flavours have had a chance to mingle and mellow out.
Mumsy’s Mulligatawny Soup
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 tsp curry paste
1 tbsp flour
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup cooked basmati rice
1/2 cup diced cooked chicken
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tart apple, cored, peeled and diced
1/4 cup heavy cream
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, saute the onion and celery until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the curry paste and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Then add the flour and cook for another minute.
Add chicken stock slowly, stirring constantly in order to blend with the roux. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes or until thickened. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the cream, and cook for about 15 minutes to warm through.
Remove from heat. Stir in the cream, then ladle soup into bowls. The soup is quite delicious as it is, but you can garnish with chopped cilantro or sliced toasted almonds for a pretty look.