Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The "Forever" Chicken Soup

I sometimes think people don't really know me. Or "get" me.

But then I get a container of homemade chicken stock, with a recipe tucked in with it, delivered to my door when the kids were sick.

My friend, I love you. You know that what matters in life takes time. You know that giving someone something you've made is one of the best gifts you can give. And you know that something this delicious needs to be shared.

I requested the recipe and she told me where she had found them. She said that this is her "forever" chicken soup recipe and I can taste why. It has amazing depth of flavour that you could never get out of a container of chicken broth from the store. It was so entirely fragrant that this not-entirely-vegetarian tasted it. And it was wonderful.

We share this recipe because it must be shared and given to those you love. (Not just when they are sick, but especially when they are sick!)

To get this unbelievable soup, it is really a three-part process- roasting the chicken, making the stock and then making the soup. Of course, you can skip to just making the soup- just make sure to use the best quality store-bought broth you can get your hands on. My pick: Imagine Organic Chicken Broth (it actually has carrots, onions and celery as ingredients- unlike their counterparts).

I'm not a chicken expert, so I asked my foodie friend Bri to share her experience. The words that follow are hers. We also thank Kyrie who has the wonderful blog, aresohappy, for letting us reprint her recipe for chicken stock. They both recommend putting leftover chicken carcasses into the freezer until you have the three required for the stock. That would take me a little while to gather and I don't have much freezer space, so I might just half the recipe when I make it.

Everyday Roast Chicken

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. Slice two onions into four thick slices, place on bottom of big ovenproof pot.
3. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Liberally salt and pepper cavity of chicken. Slice a lemon and a head of garlic in half crosswise, stuff into cavity with a large handful of fresh thyme.
4. Brush outside of chicken with approximately two tablespoons of melted butter (or if you have reserved bacon fat, I HIGHLY recommend using that, because it’s delicious). Liberally salt and pepper outside of chicken.
5. Pop it in the oven for 90 minutes.
6. When it comes out, let it rest for at least 15 minutes before you carve- 25 is better. Juicy and yum.

Chicken Stock (based on aresohappy blog)
If you want to see Kyrie's original post, check it out:

Place in your biggest stockpot:
3 chicken carcasses
6 carrots, chopped in thirds
4 celery ribs, chopped in thirds
1 head of garlic cut in half crosswise
1 large handful dill
1 large handful thyme
3 onions, cut in fourths
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1. Fill pot with water to within an inch of top, bring to a boil, turn all the way down to the lowest simmer. Allow to simmer at least four hours (I like to let it go overnight). Don’t stir.
2. When it’s done, strain out the solids and discard. DON’T do what I did the first time I made stock, which is strain into a colander in the sink and let your stock go literally down the drain. Do yourself a favor and remember to put a POT under your colander. Hehehe.
3. You have a couple of options at this point. One, you can use it right away after skimming the fat off the top. Two, if you don’t want to use it right away, put it in the fridge overnight and then the fat will solidify on the surface and you’ll be able to take it off a lot easier.

You’ll notice that this stock, when refrigerated, will gel. You want this! This is good! It means that the gelatin from the bones has leached out into your stock, and natural gelatin is so good for you, especially if you have any sort of intestinal upset. When we’re sick we drink this like tea. It’s liquid gold, I tell you. My gorgeous, delicious, nutritious cure-all. Here’s hoping it works this time and we’re all better within a day or two.

Chicken Noodle Soup with Dill
(Michelle's note: fresh dill and fresh ginger are imperative! Our family left out the extra chicken and just had a veggie-noodle combo and it was unbelievable!)

10 cups chicken broth, homemade or reduced-sodium canned
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 large stalk celery, diced
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces dried egg noodles (3 cups)
4 cups shredded cooked skinless chicken (about 1 pound)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste
1. Bring broth to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add carrots, celery, ginger and garlic; cook, uncovered, over medium heat until vegetables are just tender, about 20 minutes.
2. Add noodles and chicken; continue cooking until the noodles are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in dill and lemon juice.