While inspired by the idea of a 7-day Soup Diet, this Soup Stress Free Dinner Party is not an attempt to translate a weight loss fad into an event. It’s just a fun look at whether it is possible to host a dinner party that consists solely of soup.
And it seemed like a good idea at the time because I’m cold, soup makes an economical meal, and I have been looking for soup ideas.
Well, basically soup. In the sense of soup being a liquid with bits in, and while it’s commonly made by boiling or simmering stuff like meat and vegetables, that’s not always the case. And some soups have a lot of stuff in a very little liquid. But I’m still trying to make it a luxurious and enjoyable meal.
While it seems odd to serve liquids to drink with liquids to eat, there will be booze. And of course, you should have water on the side.
I’m going to go out on a limb, and say no special arrangements required. Except you will probably prefer to eat at the dining table and offer napkins (serviettes). You might like an easy listening playlist so that you can all concentrate on not wearing the soup.
As ever, six guests invited to arrive 6.30 for 7.00pm.
6:30 Apéritif: Oriental Oysters and Sauvignon Blanc
You can make the dressing ahead of time, but don’t add it to the oysters until you are ready to serve. The dressing will get stronger the longer you leave it. I’ve allowed three oysters person, but you could offer just one or two.
Combine ¼ cup (60 ml) low salt (light) soy sauce with ¼ cup (60 ml) rice wine vinegar, and 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Add grated chilli, garlic and grated ginger to taste (2 teaspoons each is a good mix). Place 18 oysters, in Asian soup spoons and drizzle with dressing. Top with some finely chopped shallot or spring onion slices.
7.00 Entrée: Vegetable Soup with more Sauvignon Blanc
Fry 2½ lb (1 kg) mixed peeled and chopped vegetables (e.g., potatoes, pumpkin, onions, carrots and celery) in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until they start to soften, about 10 minutes. Cover with 6 cups of vegetable or chicken stock and simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked. Blend until smooth. Stir in ½ cup of cream or sour cream and top with snipped chives. If you want to get a little fancy, crumble some cheese or crispy bacon on top as well. Serve in tea cups and saucers with teaspoons.
8.00 Main: Indian Spiced Chicken with Rosé
Heat 3 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil in a large pot. Dust 6 whole chicken legs (thigh and drumstick) with salt and pepper and brown for 10 minutes. Transfer to a slow cooker (crock pot) leaving the oil behind.
Add a finely chopped onion, 4 grated cloves of garlic and a MAN thumb sized piece of ginger to the oil remaining in the large pot and cook for 10 minutes until the onion is soft and gold. Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, and 2 teaspoons each of garam masala, cumin, and turmeric, then ½ teaspoon of coriander, cayenne pepper, and ¾ teaspoon of cardamom. Cook, stirring, for 4 minutes, until the tomato paste darkens. Pour into the slow cooker.
Add 4 cups of low salt chicken stock, a pound (450 g) of sliced potatoes, ¾ cup of tomato purée, and ½ cup of cream to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
Cover and cook on low for 7 – 8 hours or 4 – 5 on high.
When you are ready to serve, remove the chicken skin and bones, and stir the meat back into the sauce. Add a little water if it seems too thick. Serve in big bowls topped with plain yoghurt and chopped mint, with naan or some other flatbread, on the side.
9.00 Dessert: Earl Grey Tea Fruit Compote with Muscat or liqueur Muscat
Put 12¼ oz (350 g) of mixed dried fruit (e.g., apples, pears or apricots) into a bowl, cover with Earl Grey tea to about 2 cm and leave to for 4 hours minimum (overnight if you can).
Transfer to a saucepan and add the zest of a lemon and the juice of half of it along with a cinnamon stick, a star anise and ½ teaspoon of mixed spice. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Once cool, strain and remove the cinnamon and star anise. Return the tea to the pan, add sugar if you feel it needs a little sweetening, and simmer until it thickens then stir in the fruit. Serve warm in glass dishes, topped with Chantilly Cream (whip cream with icing sugar, and vanilla essence to taste).
10.00 Digestif: dark chocolate, cheese and crackers with Brandy (tea and coffee).
Just a little something crunchy to round it off.
You’ll need to get up early for the Soup Dinner Party so you can go out and get the freshest oysters. Then rush right home and start making the chicken.
11.00 prepare Indian Spiced Chicken
12.00 prepare Fruit Compote and Chantilly Cream
5.00 make the Vegetable Soup
6.00 make the dressing for the oysters
6.20 start “plating up” and dressing your oysters
6.30 guests start arriving
6.50 reheat Vegetable Soup
7.00 serve Vegetable Soup
8.00 serve Indian Spiced Chicken
8.50 reheat Fruit Compote
9.00 serve Fruit Compute
10.00 serve the Digestives