An Egyptian favorite, hamud has a versatile nature. Although generally served as a sauce for rice, it often appears twice in the same meal, first as a soup, and then again as the sauce. It is basically a chicken soup with celery, strongly flavored with lemon and garlic, but other green vegetables find their place in it when they are at hand.
- Carcass and giblets of 1 chicken
- 3-4 stalks celery with leaves, sliced
- 2 leeks, sliced (optional)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, slivered
- Salt and black pepper
- Juice of 1-2 lemons
- 2-3 zucchini, sliced (optional)
- 3/4 cup rice, boiled (measure uncooked)
Collect a chicken carcass, giblets, and bones to make a rich stock. The giblets must be very fresh, and the bones and carcass those of a chicken prepared the same day, otherwise any meat on them will be hard and dry, and the marrow in the bones very stale. Crack the bones slightly to release more flavor.
There are two ways of preparing this soup. The stock can be made beforehand and strained through a fine sieve, the vegetables then being cooked in the clear broth. However, I usually cook all the ingredients together in the following manner.
Put the carcass, bones, and giblets in a large pan. Add the celery and, if you like, sliced leeks. (The basic recipe is made with celery only.) Add the slivered garlic and cover with about 9 cups water. Bring to the boil and skim the scum off the surface. Season with salt and pepper, and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the pan. Simmer gently for about 1 hour. Remove the pan from the heat and discard all the bones, leaving only pieces of chicken in the broth. Add the zucchini, if using them, and cook for 15 minutes longer. Adjust seasoning, adding more lemon juice if necessary. The soup should have a distinctly lemony tang. It is this and the taste of garlic which give it an Oriental flavor
Add cooked rice just before serving so as not to give it time to become sodden and mushy.