Includes: Chicken Corn Soup
I just returned from my mom’s annual Chinese New Year party. It’s quite the coveted invitation in Smithfield, Virginia.
Here’s her template:
Decorate like crazy — make sure you weave in plenty of whatever animal’s year it is according to the Chinese zodiac. (We’re just starting the year of the rabbit.)
Invite fun friends — either couples or individuals. Provide all guests with overviews of their Chinese zodiac animals, plus detailed horoscope predictions for the new year. All easily available online. If a couples party, be sure to include compatibility horoscopes (which my mom claims are eerily accurate). Mom rolls up all the paper in beautiful scrolls.
Make it easy on yourself and rely on Chinese takeout for some, most or even all of the meal. Mom makes the first course — her traditional Chicken Corn Soup recipe is included at the end of this post — and the dessert (this year it was Gran Marnier trifle). But she gets all the entrees from No. 1 Chinese in Smithfield.
Include plenty of conversation-inducing adult beverages.
Send everyone home with lucky gift bags. Tradition calls for red items and coins, then anything else you’d like to add.
Dee Dee Darden was one of the guests at this year’s all-female soiree. Some of you may know of her fame as co-owner of Darden’s Country Store and artisanal producer of the world’s best country ham. In loving partnership with her husband Tommy, of course. Heck, they’ve even been featured on an episode of Food TV’s “Tyler’s Ultimate” show.
I brought back some ham for a friend, and have an additional half pound to give away, thinly sliced and ready for sandwiches or biscuits. First one to shout out gets the ham free. (You have to live in the Raleigh area, of course! No shipping.)
Here’s the recipe:
Chicken Corn Soup
- 5 cups stock
- 1 can of cream-style corn (2 cups) blended in blender until creamy
Bring stock to boiling point. Add corn and boil for 5 minutes.
- 1 cup cooked chicken (or other meat) minced very fine
- 1 T. wine
Add chicken and wine to boiling soup.
MEAT AND VEGETABLE MIXTURE
- 2 T. cooked ham, chopped fine
- 2 T. water chestnuts, chopped fine
- salt and pepper
Add meat and vegetable mixture and cook for 3 minutes.
- 1 T. cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water
Mix cornstarch and water and stir into boiling soup mixture.
- 2 egg whites
Beat egg whites. Turn off heat under soup. Drizzle whites into soup slowly. Mix very slightly and gently. Serve hot.