Hallelujah! Chicken Soup From Scratch

Sisters and brothers! Brothers and sisters! Who among you is coughing? Who among you is sneezing? Whose throat is so sore it’s like you gargled sand paper? I’m Reverend Pastor Amateur Gourmet and I’m here to heal you with the yellow waters of homemade chicken soup. You may think to yourself: “Heck no! I ain’t go time for no homemade chicken soup! I’m opening a can!” But you’d be wrong, my friends, you’d be dead wrong. For one whiff of this Godly creation and you’ll be better restored than the Sisteen Chapel. Behold the vision:

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A bowl of this is within your reach. Click here to read the recipe in great detail, or let me walk you through it. I’ll show you how easy it can be.

What you need, more than anything else, is a big ‘ole pot. My biggest pot is the Le Crueset Dutch Oven I purchased a while back. But even this holds little more than two quarts of water. How could I proceed when the recipe calls for four quarts?

Reach to the heavens and you shall find your answer. Or turn to the Steve Martin section at your video store and look for the title “Leap Of Faith.” That’s all it takes.

I layered a raw cut-up chicken on the bottom of my dutch oven. I didn’t use all the pieces, just as many as I could get in without overloading it. Then I poured in about 8 cups of water (that’s 2 quarts). I brought it to a boil:

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I skimmed the fat off and then added all my vegetables:

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That’s: 1 onion unpeeled (nice! you don’t have to peel it! (though, I did, ultimately, cut it in half to help it fit); 2 parsnips peeled; 1/4 cup chopped celery leaves, 2 stalks celery and their leaves; 1/2 a rutabaga peeled and cut in half again; half a turnip, peeled and quartered; 2 carrots peeled and left whole; 3 Tbs chopped parslsey; 3 Tbs snipped dill; 1/2 Tbs salt, 1/8th tsp pepper.

Once in, the very crowded pot looks like this:

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You lower it to a simmer, you cover it, and you let it go like that for two and a half hours. Start this at 4 and it’ll be ready at 6. And look at the transformation that takes place. You start out with raw chicken, raw vegetables, and cold water and you end up with:

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Hallelujah! You’ve got soup!

So then you fish out all the vegetables and dump them: they’re no good–they’ve lost their flavor to the water. (That’s what makes the soup taste so good.) Then you take out the chicken and you let it cool. When it’s cool, get rid of the skin and cut up the chicken into little pieces. You’ll only use about half, use the other half for chicken salad the next day (which I did and it was tasty).

Then with the remaining liquid, strain it into another pot.

Here’s where you’re supposed to refrigerate it and let the fat collect for you to skim off. I was too impatient to complete this step. So I put the stock back on the heat, I chopped up a carrot, some celery, some leftover rutabaga and added it to the simmering broth. Then I added some egg noodles (acutally, I added WAY too many egg noodles: the next day, when I went to reheat the soup, the noodles had absorbed all the liquid! So be careful!) and waited about 6 minutes for them to cook. When they did, I ladeled myself a bowl, garnished with dill and look how beautiful:

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There’s nothing like making your own chicken soup. If you haven’t done it, I highly suggest you try it—you’ll never wanna eat canned soup again. And my cold? It’s getting better. True, I started an antibiotic yesterday (my throat was infected) but I only credit the antibiotic with 20% of my healing. The rest is in the soup. Can I get an amen?

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