Posts Tagged With: gene

Chicken Orzo Soup From Portugal

Portuguese Soup



1 garlic clove
1 onion
5 cups chicken broth
7 cups water
8 allspice berries or ½ tablespoon ground allspice
1½ pounds chicken boneless
2 bay leaves
1¼ teaspoons salt
½ cup orzo or arborio rice, couscous, and pearl barley
½ cup fresh cilantro

Serves 6. Takes 1 hour 15 minutes


Mince garlic clove and onion. Add chicken broth, water, chicken, allspice, bay leaves, garlic, onion, and salt to large pot. Bring to boil using medium-high heat. Stir occasionally. Reduce to medium heat and simmer for 50 minutes or until chicken is tender to the fork. Stir occasionally. Remove chicken. Shred chicken with 2 forks. Return shredded chicken to pot.

Add orzo to pot. Simmer at medium heat for 10 minutes or until orzo is done to your desired level of tenderness. Stir enough to keep from burning. While orzo cooks, dice cilantro. Garnish soup with cilantro.


1) Every time you hesitate to eat some new meat or fish someone will say, “Try it, it tastes just like chicken.” I used to say, “Well, why can’t I have chicken then?”

2) But don’t get angry at your annoying would-be advisor. He has to say that. It’s in our genetic make up. Just like we have a gene to determine height; we all have a gene that makes us say, “Try it, it tastes just like chicken.”

3) However, the chicken in Chicken Orzo does taste like chicken. Indeed all chicken tastes like chicken. The reverse is also true.

4) One wonders why humanity evolved this gene millions of years ago. You’d think learning to walk upright, to cook with fire, to build huts, or to harvest wheat would have been much more useful to Early Man than saying, “Try it, it taste just like chicken.” Particularly, when chickens weren’t around. And what of the woman hearing this advice? She couldn’t understand all those words nor respond intelligently, particularly when the vocabulary of the time limited itself to “ugh” and “ugh!”


– Paul De Lancey, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fragrant Beef Stew From Vietnam

Vietnamese Entree



2¼ pounds beef, chuck, top round
3 garlic cloves
3 lemongrass stalks or 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste
¼ teaspoon annatto powder
2 teaspoons Chinese five spice
½ tablespoon minced ginger
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar


3 carrots
3 shallots
1 tomato
1 green chile or Thai chile
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
3 kaffir, curry, or bay leaves
3 star anise pods
2⅓ cups coconut water, beef stock, or beer
¼ cup fresh* Thai basil or basil
⅓ cup fresh** mint leaves

* = or 4 teaspoons dried Thai basil
** = 5¼ teaspoons dried mint

Serves 4. Takes 2 hours 10 minutes.


Cut beef into 1″ cubes. Mince garlic cloves. Remove white outer leaves from lemongrass stalks. Mince remaining green part of lemongrass. Add all marinade ingredients to mixing. Mix with hands until well blended and beef cubes are well coated. Marinate for 30 minutes.


Dice carrots, shallots, and tomato. Seed and mince chile. Dice Thai basil and mint. Add vegetable oil to large pot. Heat oil using medium-high heat. Oil is hot enough when a little bit of shallot starts to dance in the oil. Add marinated beef cubes. Sauté at medium-high heat until beef cubes turn completely brown. Stir enough to ensure even browning. Add shallot. Sauté at medium-high heat until shallot softens.

Add tomato, chile, cinnamon stick, kaffir leaves, and star anise. Stir until well blended. Add coconut water. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Stir until well blended. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add carrot. Simmer for 30 minutes more or until beef cubes and carrot become tender. Remove cinnamon stick, kaffir lime leaves, and star anise pods. Garnish with Thai basil and mint.

1) The Western Roman Empire fell in 476.

2) Too many barbarian armies attacked Rome for its vast supply of eggs.

3) The barbarians loved to eat Pionono.

4) For every single meal.

5) This meant they needed Rome’s eggs.

6) Rome had lots of eggs and chickens. All civilizations have them.

7) So, the invading hordes destroyed Rome. The lands descended into anarchy.

8) With the collapse of Western Civilization, came the disappearance of the poultry industry.

9) Hardly anyone had eggs.

10) If word got out that you had a chicken ranch, cutthroat gangs would raid your lands and carry you off to lead a hard existence in some faraway land.

11) And you’d never eat another egg.

12) Not ever. And without eggs, you could never eat Pionono again. Who’d want to go through life knowing that?

13) Clearly, this was an untenable existence.

14) But would could be done?

15) As we all know, the gene that directs some people to chicken ranching, also makes them extremely poor fighters. These ranchers needed brave, sturdy fighters to protect them.

16) Indeed in the sixth century, strongmen emerged all over Western Europe to protect the chicken ranchers in return for eggs. This arrangement soon extended to all aspects of agriculture. This system became known as feudalism.

17) Now, no inventions occurred under feudalism as thinking stagnated. But hey, eggs.


Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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