Old-Fashioned Soups Often Win "People's Choice Award"

Soup lovers who have eagerly anticipated the 20th annual Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) Hilton Head Island Lowcountry Soup Challenge won't have long wait. With the organization's major fundraising event just a few days away, the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa is making room to accommodate the more than 1500 people estimated to attend the Jan.  22 happening.  Sometime between noon and 3 p.m., judges will select their favorite soups from among the 20 to 30 entries expected to compete for first, second and third place. In addition, a favorite soup will also be chosen by the people for the "People's Choice" soup award, perhaps the greatest honor of all.  It is interesting that while many elaborate soups containing lavish ingredients like duck confit, truffle oil and crab roe enthrall judges, it's the less baroque presentations that win favor with the people.  Sometimes soups comprised of  beans and sausage, or chicken and ground beef, edge out those made with lobster and brandy, or fresh oysters, quail and cream, to name but a few.  A $15 admission ticket, will buy you all the soup you care to eat,  plus the chance to assist  VIM in their mission to provide free medical care for individuals living or working on Hilton Head and Daufuskie Islands who could not otherwise afford it. For further information about VIM, or this year's soup challenge, visit the VIM website at www.vimclinic.org.

Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at kitchenade@yahoo.com.

Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup

People’s Choice Soup Award – 17th Annual Lowcountry Soup Challenge Colleton River Plantation Club, Bluffton, Café Chef Deloris Pate

7 cups chicken broth, homemade or canned (Pacific Organic brand is good)
4 whole chicken breasts (about 2- pounds)
1 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 (16-ounce) cans chopped tomatoes, undrained
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 (4-ounce) cans whole green chili peppers; drained, rinsed, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro or parsley, snipped
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, snipped (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed)
12 (5-1/2 -inch) corn tortillas
Cooking oil
2 cups (16-ounces) shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

In a 4-quart Dutch oven, bring chicken broth and chicken breasts to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for approximately 15 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Remove chicken from broth and let stand to cool. Remove skin, debone and finely shred chicken; set aside. In a separate saucepan or small skillet, cook onion, cumin and garlic in 1 to 2 tablespoons of hot oil, until onion is tender, but not brown. Add to stock. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili peppers, cilantro or parsley, and oregano. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in shredded chicken and heat through. Cut tortillas in half, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch wide strips. In a heavy, medium-sized skillet, heat 1/4- inch oil. Fry small batches of tortilla strips in hot oil for about 1 minute or until crisp and light brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Divide fried tortilla strips into eight (8) soup bowls. Ladle soup over tortilla strips and garnish with shredded cheese.  Makes 8 (1-1/2 to 2 cup) servings.

Navy Bean Italian Sausage Soup

People’s Choice Soup Award – 16th Annual Lowcountry Soup Challenge Colleton River Plantation Club, Bluffton, Café Chef Deloris Pate

2 cups navy beans, soaked overnight
1 pound mild Italian sausage, roasted and diced
2 ounces olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced thyme
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
8 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper

In a 2 gallon pot, heat 2 ounces olive oil and sauté onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Add thyme, parsley, tomatoes, beans* and stock. Simmer until beans are tender. Remove one quarter of the soup and purée. Add back to pot with sausage and simmer for 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Serves 10. *Kitchen Ade Note: Rinse and drain beans before using in soup.

Cheddar & Chive Biscuits

Recipe by Dr. Charles Anton, Physician Volunteer 15th Annual Lowcountry Soup Challenge, Presented by Tanger Outlets, Inc.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives used scissor fashion, cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With fork, stir in buttermilk, Cheddar and chives just until blended. Drop dough by well-rounded tablespoons, one inch apart on ungreased large cookie sheet. Brush biscuits with melted butter or margarine. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or cool completely on wire rack. Wrap in foil and freeze up to one month. Re-heat before serving if you wish.  Kitchen Ade Note: Makes 12 large biscuits depending on size of drop.


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