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Souper Bowl XV: A family recipe from kitchen to table

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

A chicken cooks on the stove in Raejean Beattie’s kitchen in River Oak Cottage at Hopsewee Plantation, its gently bubbling noise and mild aroma a foretaste of the finished product.

Tender white meat and flavorful stock will combine with more than a dozen other ingredients to make Gin-Gin’s Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, one of the favorites on the menu now that Hopsewee Plantation has begun serving lunch in addition to what Beattie calls a “southern tea” in the cottage. Diners include guests who are concluding a tour of the circa 1735 home that was birthplace of Thomas Lynch Jr., signer of the Declaration of Independence, and others traveling south of Georgetown on Highway 17 to the banks of the North Santee River.

Raejean and Frank Beattie have owned the house listed on the National Register of Historic Places and surrounding property for more than a dozen years and have developed River Oak Cottage as a venue to make her gourmet dishes available to the public. She says a “southern tea” can properly be served between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. To the doubters, Beattie explains that she makes the rules about southern propriety.

Gin-Gin’s Chicken and Wild Rice Soup is usually on the lunch menu along with a creamy tomato soup and a soup of the day. Its name does not come from any alcoholic ingredients. Gin-Gin was the name Beattie’s children called their maternal grandmother.

Beattie said her daughter Eva, chef at Eli’s Table on Meeting Street in Charleston, is her soup guru. She served shrimp bisque at last year’s Souper Bowl. She will make five gallons of Gin-Gin’s speciality for this year’s 15th annual event Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at Precious Blood of Christ Catholic Church to benefit Habitat for Humanity. For $25 in advance — tickets are $30 at the door — participants get to taste some 40 soups and a variety of breads.

Buy tickets in advance at SCBT, Greenskeeper Florist, Litchfield Books, Chocolate and Coffee House and Applewood House of Pancakes. Reserve tickets by calling the Habitat office in Georgetown at 546-5685 ext. 6.

Seacoast Artist Guild and Grand Strand Porcelain Art Club have painted 400 clay bowls for the event. Other bowls were painted by students at Coastal Montessori Charter School and Lowcountry Prep School.

The goal is to raise $16,000 for this year’s house to be built by area churches.

Gin-Gin’s Soup

The ingredients

3 onions, small diced

1 cup celery, small diced

1 cup carrots, small diced

2 cups mushrooms roughly chopped

1/4 cup chopped garlic

1 cup white wine

2 gal chicken stock

2 tbs thyme

2 tbs seasoning salt

2 cups wild rice mix

1/2 lb roux (1 stick butter, 1/2 cup flour)

64 oz cooked medium chicken breast diced

1 qt cream

2 tbs parsley

salt and pepper to taste

The preparation

Saute all vegetables in a small amount of oil

Deglaze with wine

Add chicken stock, thyme and seasoning salt, bring to a boil

Add rice mix, boil again, and reduce to simmer, cook for 45 minutes or until rice is cooked through

Whisk in roux, bring to a boil

Add remaining ingredients

Yield: 3 gallons

Note: To freeze, do so before adding cream.

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