This land is my land (Not Quite Mulligatawny Soup)

It's been cold here. Below zero cold.

The kind of cold that makes you just want to hole up like a bear and head into deep hibernation.

When you check your fingers every few minutes to make sure they are still attached - because you stopped feeling them sometime back in mid-December.

Where you make sure you have your fuel oil delivery guy on speed dial (because there is no hook up to a natural gas pipeline and its seemingly never ending supply) - because when the tank runs dry, the house gets cold. When the house gets cold, pipes freeze. When pipes freeze, well, we don't even want to think about that.

It is this part of the winter that makes me question my sanity for living in Upstate NY.

Sometimes, I have to remind myself why I love where I live.

It may not be the most sophisticated life. There is no Whole Foods. I have to drive an hour to get to Trader Joe's. Things are a little more laid back here.

My 34 mile commute to work is generally hassle & traffic free.

Unlocked doors are not a thing of the past around these parts. You can't get away with much - because there is always someone around who knows your parents, or your aunts and uncles.

In three hours, I can be in Canada. In three hours, I can be in New York City. In less than two hours, I can be at the base of one of the High Peaks of the Adirondacks or I can cross the state line and spend the day in Vermont.

I can see the stars at night. The air is fresh. I can walk to the lake.

Farms - lots and lots of farms. There is nothing cuter than baby cows and lambs in the spring.

Seasons. If I lived somewhere else, I think I would miss all the distinct seasons.

Spring - where everything comes to life. The smell of new grass and budding plants.

Summer - the warmth of the sun. Summers that are tolerable - you are able to go outside and enjoy it (most of the time).

Fall - foliage, apples, cider donuts and pumpkin picking. Need I say more?

Winter - freshly fallen snow. The crackle of a fireplace. And soup. Lots and lots of soup.

One of my favorite soups this time of year is Mulligatawny. A curry soup is both spicy (gently so or not - your choice) and hot - doubly comforting when the temperatures begin to drop.
I've made it a few different ways over the years, but this is the version I am currently drawn too.
Celery, onions, carrots and ginger are cooked until just tender and blended with stock and coconut milk and a healthy dose of seasonings. Chicken, rice and corn are tossed in at the end to add substance and texture.  
Hearty enough to fill. Light enough not to slow you down. Chapati or another flat bread on the side would not be remiss.
Stay warm, my friends. Stay warm.

Not Quite Mulligatawny Soup
Adapted from King Arthur Flour’s The Baking Sheet (Winter 2013)

6 Tbs unsalted butter
1 cup onions – ½” dice
1 cup celery – ½” dice
1 cup carrots – ½” dice
1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 Tbs curry powder (mild or spicy, whichever you prefer)
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup coconut milk powder (you can substitute 1 ½ cups coconut milk, just cut the stock back by 1 cup)
6 cups chicken stock
T Tbs honey
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 tsp brown sugar
½ tsp ancho chili powder
½ tsp galangal powder (optional, but adds a mysterious note that I enjoy)
1 ½ cups cooked basmati rice
½ cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1 – 1 ½ cups cooked chicken, shredded
½ cup heavy cream (optional)
2 Tbs lime juice
1-2 thinly sliced scallions, for garnish

In a large, heavy bottomed pot (I like to use my 5.5 qt Dutch oven), melt the 6 Tbs of butter. When melted, add onions, celery, carrots, ginger and salt. Saute for ~5-7 minutes over medium heat Рuntil vegetables begin to soften. Stir in the curry powder and saut̩ until the curry becomes fragrant - ~1 minute.

In a small bowl, combine the coconut powder (if using), with the flour. Add ~1/2 to ¾ cup of the stock to the flour mixture and whisk well – until no large clumps appear. It should have the texture of a loose paste – if the mixture seems too thick, add a little extra stock. Pour flour-stock mixture into post with vegetables – stirring well to make sure vegetables are coated.

Slowly add in stock (and coconut milk, if using) – ½ to 1 cup at a time. Be sure to whisk well between each stock addition to ensure no “flour lumps”. Add in the honey, tomato paste, brown sugar, chili powder and galangal (if using). Stir well. Bring mixture to a simmer and hold at simmer for about a half hour. Using an immersion blender (or very carefully transferring to a blender), blend the soup until desired smoothness is reached. Return to a simmer and add corn, rice and chicken and let simmer for 2-3 minutes. When ready to serve, stir in heavy cream (if using) and lime juice. If needed, adjust seasoning with additional salt and/ or chili powder. Yields ~3 quarts.

To serve, spoon into bowls and garnish with sliced scallions. Pair with your favorite crusty bread and call it a meal…


  1. That soup looks fantastic and I am not sure how you juggle it all (and I see you managed to even put me to shame by doing your taxes already ??!!!)but I love checking in to see your productivity. Tarts and cakes AND FFWD - wow. I didn't even find time to leave comments last week (note to file - hubby on business trip, I had week long annual review AND Mr Return from Italy got a concussion at school - egad) Also nice to see what those cellophane noodles were supposed to look like ....since I won't be seeing them again any time soon. Stay warm ~

  2. Sounds like you live in pretty perfect place. There is no price you can put on being well connected, yet in a sanctuary of it's own, and a perfect soup to warm up. Have a nice (and warm) weekend :)

  3. Distinct change of seasons is something I miss here. We do have them, but the climate the past 15 years is much warmer, even in winter. I´m pinning this soup right now, curry flavors is something I love! Looks wonderful Cher, have a great weekend!

  4. What a nice soup, perfect for the cold!

  5. Here, in Ohio, climate is pretty the same so I know what you are talking about - I love the season changed by season, I just wish they would be twice shorter.. but, I'm affraid that would require whole Universe restructuring :) I like any kind of soup with coconut milk - thanks for the idea and for the great, as always, tale (this time Tale of Seasons) - I enjoy reading your posts.

  6. Ooooh that is cold, I hope this warmed you up!


  7. Ah, soup - and mulligatawny, at that (my personal favorite). In the winter, I grumble about wanting to live in Florida, but I know I would miss the seasons, too (although, honestly, I think I could skip right over winter without too much regret: spring-summer-autumn-one quick snow squall at Christmas - spring).

  8. Soup just hits the spot on a very cold winters night…we had soup the last two nights! Your soup sounds so perfectly delicious…I have never tried mulligatawny soup. Sounds like something I would love to try!

  9. This soup sounds delicious, and reminds me of the soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld. I could not survive your weather Cher - I sometimes struggle with Melbourne's weather as I am a child of the tropics.

  10. Cher, buy an electric blanket and hope your electric stays on during a storm. I
    dislike winter more and more (has nothing to do with old age) and can't wait for spring.
    Your soup looks delicious,. Have a great weekend.

  11. We had below zero wind chills today...I needed your soup!
    Stay warm, my friend!

  12. Looks Delicious!!! You remind me of our years in Upstate NY! I loved the people and hated the weather. Did I tell you that 2 of those 8 years were spent in Watertown and the other 6 in Syracuse...well Watertown is not describable, but you bring back the Syracuse memories. Now I'm such a wimp...yesterday was 74 and I could not get warm. Your post literally makes my shiver! You made the perfect soup for a cold January day!

  13. This is definitely soup weather. Reading your weather report, I'm thinking I live in the tropics by comparison. I've been making one or two pots of soup every week, so I'll have to try this version soon. Say warm!!!!

  14. You make a great case for living in New York. :) Your soup looks wonderful and perfect for a cold winter's meal. Comfort food - indeed!

  15. Cher, this really looks like a wonderful recipe for a comfort style soup - just what one craves these days! I am really looking forward to spring but for now it is rainy and cold and wintry around here and a bowl of your soup would be really nice right now!
    Have a wonderful weekend and stay warm!

  16. I vote for crossing the state line to Vermont. That's my home state and, in my not so unbiased opinion, the more beautiful corner of the US. And having grown up there, I can relate to the cold you are dealing with right now. Soup is definitely the way to get through it.

  17. Cher you make upstate NY sound lovely but then I think about the temp in winter and I don't know that I could take it:) You northerners are made of stern stuff! The soup sounds delicious!

  18. That soup sounds delicious. Your part of the world is beautiful and this West Coast girl admires the fortitude of North Americans who handle more winter in a year than Vancouver sees in ten.

  19. Yum this sounds delicious - when I first read it though I was like "What does this have to do with Groundhog's Day?" Mulligatwny = Punxatawney in my brain I guess

  20. Sounds heavenly, Cher, the soup not the frozen fingers. Well, there is light at the end of the winter tunnel since we are now on our way through the longest winter month (ironic that it has the fewest days, someone much have thought they better shorten it so we could survive it). Think I am gonna make that soup....

  21. We do miss the seasons here! And where you live sounds lovely.

    I've never had this type of soup but it sounds wonderful.

  22. Delicious soup. I love soup in the winter. I need to give this a try. Thanks for posting.

  23. I love mulligatawny soup and your version sounds and looks great. It is the perfect comfy and cozy meal for these frigid days!

  24. I love Mulligatawny soup and this looks like a great version!


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