Monday, August 23, 2010

Rehearsal Soup

Dear Mouse,

Remember this mug?
"Stress: the confusion created when one's mind must override the body's basic desire to choke the living s*T out of some a***hole who desperately deserves it."

Inexplicably popular in, I'm going to say, the mid-'80s, when, despite its complete lack of actual wit, it became
a 'humorous' staple on various desks around the country? Akin to the "Hang In There, Baby" cat posters?

As you know, I'm deep into rehearsal for my first-ever-oh-the-terror-and-the-glory-why-did-I-ever-think-I-could-
do-this-oh-look-its-happening-anyway .... original play. Sorry, MUSICAL. Or, 'play-with-music'.
Whatever. I wrote it, with my childhood friend Leon, it got into this festival before there was a script, we
assembled a cast and director, and now it happens IN A WEEK. Lightning and neuroscience and
rock music and Shakespeare and a guy in a Lion Suit. Good good times. It's all very exciting.

And it's also happening in a WEEK. So.. when I found myself,at the end of last rehearsal in our borrowed attic
space, wearing an antlered mask while taking notes and muttering "No, no, the lateral sulcus needs to be
stage left", it really only made sense that the mug I wasclutching happened to be the one pictured above.
(Not that I want to choke anyone... just the stress. You get it.)

Tonight is our rainy night off, and I'm thinking of making a big pot of this:

courtesy of my co writer Bob, aka Leon the Lightning Safety Lion. I cannot recommend this highly enough. Leon
happens to cook
a lot and has fed me and the rest of the
company on several occasions when we seemed in danger of an Excitotoxic
Seizure (see the play). I have contributed by making, um, nothing. I truly believe that
this spicy, nourishing soup,
packed with protein and enriched with dark greens, ginger, and garlic, has prevented
colds, exhaustion, tears,
pessimism, and maybe even bad acting. Do not skip the peanut butter.

1/4 to 1/2 cup of peanut butter (creamy)
3/4 cup of peanuts
1 medium onion (diced)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp ginger (diced)
2 tbsp garlic (diced
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 pound chicken breast, cut into chunks
6 cups chicken stock
2 sweet potatoes, sliced into rounds (non-sweet will work too)
8 plum tomatoes or 1 large can
1/2 ib collard greens (or kale) cut into strips
Red Wine Vinegar
Hot Sauce
Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper to taste

1. Marinate the chicken in hot sauce before cooking. 20 - 25 minutes is fine

2. In a skillet w/a thin layer of olive oil, on medium heat, sweat the
onions for 3-5 mins and then add the ginger & the garlic for the final 2
mins or until golden brown. (Times may vary based on your stove/frying
pans/etc. Basically, you want the Onions to sweat and the ginger and garlic
to brown w/o burning)

3. Add the chicken and lightly brown until no more pink is visible, do not
cook all the way thru. Crush the peanuts and let them slightly roast in the
pan. Lightly douse the pan w/the vinegar to de-glaze the pan. Take it off
the heat

4. To a medium dutch oven or other soup-cooking vessel, add the stock and
diced tomatoes and
the potatoes. on high heat, bring the contents to a boil. When it' starts
bubbling (don't let it come to a boil), turn the stove down to low.

5. Transfer the onions, garlic, and chickent to the cauldron. Add the kale,
and the peanut butter
and the cayenne pepper. Simmer on low heat. It should take about 15 mins til it's ready to
serve, but w/many soups, you can really let it continue to simmer and it
only makes it mo' better. W/this one, you can let it go on super-low heat
for up to an hour.

6. Salt, pepper to taste. Cilantro as a garnish.

Eat n' rehearse.


Don't be a Part of the Charge.

Love, The Boo.
PS. Tickets on sale HERE.


meeegan said...

Looks theoretically delicious!

How would you adapt it for pescetarian diners? Substitute veggie and/or seafood stock, skip the chicken and poach shrimp and/or chunks of mild white fish in the cooking soup? Or is peanut butter and fish just too weird to contemplate?

Bob Saietta said...

Bob/Leon here. I've never thought of/tried a pescetarian version. That said, I have substituted ground turkey meatballs (made w/bread crumbs, eggs, and oregano) for the chicken.

You can actually substitute water for the chicken stock (between the tomato and the Peanut butter, it's pretty rich already)and it's still darn tasty.

I'd say, leave out the stock as a fish stock of any kind would probably overpower the dish and then throw in the shrimp or a mild whitefish a little later in the process so as not to overcook 'em.

As with most of my dishes, they came about b/c of the weird combo of items in my pantry and/or my utter inability to shop ahead of time. Experiment and lemme know how it goes!

Anonymous said...

oh this looks (and sounds) exactly what I could use right now given the November weather and the long stormy work day - will absolutely try this - would it work with the Soy un Jalapeno which is peeking out from under? hmmm mebee not ....
wow, no one ever made me a rehearsal soup...better crowd you got there!
devoted subscriber

meeegan said...

Thank you, Bob/Leon! I'll post again if I get to try that now-sanctioned experiment.

The Boo said...

I'm making it right now despite having forgotten the cilantro and crushed peanuts. and I will chime in and say that I bet shrimp would be great. BUt yeah, no fish stock an peanut butter. yikes.

Keri said...

Oh my goodness. I made this soup this past weekend, and I substituted shrimp for chicken, beef broth for chicken broth, and almonds for peanuts, and IT WAS AMAZING. I think it was one of the best soups I have ever made. Thanks YOu for posting it!!!

The Boo said...

oo sounds great!