Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chicken Soup

My husband has a cold.  This is the male equivalent of a woman dealing with the flu, breast cancer and malaria.  At the same time.  Needless to say, he is laid low for the weekend by the sniffles.  In an attempt to revive him for his poker game tonight (and rescue my chick-flick night with our daughter) I am making him chicken soup. 

Seems like it could be handy this time of year so here's a bonus Saturday recipe for you:

1 whole chicken cut up (if you can get a "roasting chicken" it should have more flavor than a fryer and you could probably ask your butcher to cut it up... or go all caveman/Julia Child like I did today with the bonus of truly horrifying any nearby first graders by butchering the chicken yourself.)
I also added an extra package of chicken breasts because the meat will be so yummy and I like a LOT of chicken in my chicken soup...  OKAY - so:, start by making the broth:

Chicken parts - bones & skin intact
1 onion - skin & all  - just wedge it
3 carrots - cut in half (or just the tops/bottoms - saving the good parts for later)
bottom & tops of a bunch of celery (save the salks for the actual soup)
1 TB whole peppercorns
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coriander seeds (optional)
5-6 whole cloves (optional)
2-3 smashed garlic cloves

Put all ingredients into a large, heavy bottomed stock pot, fill with COLD water to just cover everything.  Cover and place over med-high heat.  As soon as it starts to boil, turn it back to simmer and simmer about 45 minutes. 

As it boils, there will be a frothy scum on the top - that's perfectly normal.  Just scoop it off and toss it away. 
after 35-45 min, pull out the "good" pieces of chicken (breasts, thighs) and set aside.  Allow the rest to come back up to a good simmer and cook another 45 min or so. 

When the "good" chicken is cooled, pull it from the bone and set aside (in fridge).

Once the broth has cooked and the chicken is falling apart, veggies are super soft/over-cooked, pull out as many large bits as you can and throw them away.

Strain the broth (cheese cloth works great but just passing it through a strainer would be okay too) into a bowl or other pot. Throw away the solids. 

Clean out the pot you started with.  In some butter, at the bottom of the pan, saute:
1 onion chopped fine
3-4 stalks celery, chopped fine
3-4 carrots chopped fine
once the veggies are translucent, pour in the chicken stock and add some additional veggies (all of these are optional):
1 chopped red pepper
1 handful green beans chopped
1 C frozen corn
1 zucchini chopped
1 poblano pepper
Sm bag of cheesecloth with: rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, tarragon or whatever is left in your garden.  Or - if you have whole/fresh herbs, tie them with some kitchen twine.

Simmer all together for 10 min, add back in the original chicken and simmer another 10 min.
Remove the boquet garni and serve over freshly cooked noodles.

Okay - here's a weird thing of min, and you can do what you want here.  You CAN add the noodles right into the soup and simmer until they're soft (about 10-15 min).  This is great, tastes fantastic and works beautifully that first day.  However, I find that the noodles don't hold up very well even until the next day, let alone if you freeze the soup.  So... I like to actually cook the pasta separately in very salty water and add them to the bowls and then pour the soup over the noodles.  But you're free to do whatever you want here.  It's really just my OCD tendencies that drive me to do this extra annoying step. 

Happy eating!!

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