Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cure All Chicken Soup

Nothing is worse than coming down sick with flu-like symptoms. It sucks. And you just want something warm in your tummy and a comfy couch or bed, and sleep. And this is the BEST chicken soup that I make when I'm actually NOT sick and freeze it til it's needed.

You will need:

Big Stock Pot - bigger than the average 6qt. I have a 10qt (we call it the "corn cooking pot") and it's what I use.
Smaller stock pot, 6qt
Bone-in skinless chicken thighs - 3-4lbs (usually 6 in a package, big ones)
Head of Celery
2 Onions
1 bag baby carrots
1 head of garlic - i use way more but i love me my garlic
whole black peppercorns
fresh parsley
thyme
ginger
cayenne pepper
chicken bouillon

Step One:

Fill smaller stockpot 3/4 way with water.
Trim off any excess fat from the chicken thighs, discard fat and add chicken to water.
peel 3 heads of garlic, add.
chop the top half of your celery head including the leaves and add to water.
rip off a good size chunk of the parsley and add.
add 1 tablespoon each of: Ginger, thyme, black peppercorns
add 1 teaspoon of cayenne

Bring all the above in the pot to a boil. Stir it well all together, cover and reduce heat to med for 45 minutes.
Check every now and then and skim off any fat that's floating on the top. Use a fine sieve or a coffee filter; just drag it gently across the top (don't let it fall into the water, just skim along the top.

Step 2:

Cut up celery, onions and carrots in soup sized chunks.
Dice up all the garlic.
Slice up another big chunk of the parsley. Use a mezza luna if you have one, they're great.

When there is FIVE minutes or less remaining on your chicken pot, start this next bit.
Place large pot on stovetop and add a chunk of butter. Let it melt and saute the onions, garlic, celery and carrots. Remove from heat, leave the burner on, and put this large pot in your sink. Place a colander over the top of it.

Step 3:

Once 45 mins is done, remove from heat and turn off burner. Strain the stock (that's what your water is now called) thru the colander and into the large pot.

Remove the chicken to a plate and let cool.

Discard the spices, celery, etc etc from the pot. Just make sure you keep all the liquid!

Step 4

Put the Large pot with your soup in it back on the burner you left on. Keep it on medium-high heat. You should have all your celery, garlic, onions and carrots in it.
ADD:
3 cups of hot water.
2 cubes of boullion.
Tablespoon of: Ginger, peppercorns, thyme
Teaspoon of cayenne (or less, taste the broth first before you add.)
The spices you can add or decrease to taste. Keep in mind that when your sick, your taste buds aren't as awake.
Stir it all together, and let it cook.

While all that is cooking, pull off the meat from the bones. Make sure you also pull off any of the remaining fatty bits. There will be some. This is kinda gross but worth it cuz the more fat you remove the less fatty the soup. Add the chicken to the cooking soup.


Taste test your broth here and see how it tastes. If you want more 'chicken' taste, use one more boullion cube, and season accordingly to taste.

Cover and let this all simmer together for 2-3 hours or until ready to eat;
I usually turn it down to like, 3 or low-med heat. It tastes best if you can let it gel together the full 2-3 hours.

Et voila!!!

This soup is great the day of and of course gets better with a day or two.
It also freezes beautifully, I use the heavy duty ziploc freezer bags.


For a different twist on it:


I like to serve it kinda like Vietnamese Pho - cook up come 3 minute noodles (you can find them near the chinese food usually; they're like, 99c a package), boil a few eggs, and add spinach, bean sprouts and thai sweet chili sauce, topped with lime wedges.
Wha??
Add the soup you want into the bowl.
So you put the noodles in the middle of the bowl.Then, at 3 oclock, set in a bunch like, a pinch, of spinach. At 6o'clock, add a pinch of beansprouts. 9 o'clock, slices of the eggs. and then a dollop of chili sauce in the middle, and squeeze a lime wedge over it all. Eat with a big spoon and chopsticks, or a fork.
Don't be afraid to slurp!!!