Monday, January 21, 2013

chicken soup: for your soul and health

Last week I said I would post a chicken soup recipe the day after my antibiotics post. In truth, that post took such a long time to search for and read articles, write, edit, and double-check sources that I didn't leave myself much other time for blogging. Then I also attended a birth that took a huge amount of physical and emotional work, so I took a few days off from blogging. I'm back with the promised chicken soup. I hope you had a nice weekend! 
We are both perplexed at the absence of this recipe from the blog. I was sure it was on here. So was Nate. Lots of head scratching and googling later, I must admit I haven't posted it before. A shame, really, because it is so easy, delicious, and healthy. VERY easy. If you've made stock, you can make soup. In addition to mall chicken and smitten's chicken salad, chicken soup is my favorite way to use up random chicken parts that arrive in our meat CSA cooler. The best part is the kids devour it the same way I used to do in my grandmother's kitchen as a little girl; when she put the bowl in front of me, she always said with a smile: "Eat it once, eat it twice. Eat that chicken soup with rice." Of course I now do the same when serving it to my own kids. Traditions like this one are the glue of my life.

You don't have to serve this soup with rice. I myself have used egg noodles or pasta stars on an occasion I need to use them up, but leftover rice is the best in my opinion. This time I had squeezed some brown rice and white rice leftovers into a container (from making eggnog rice pudding, recipe tomorrow!), so I threw it all in the pot. Two days later, it's gone, and the girls already seem to be feeling better. So you see? Chicken soup really is good for your soul and health.

Grandma Louise's chicken soup with rice
serves 6-8

4 chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks) or 1 whole chicken, cut up
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 stalks celery
2 carrots, cut in half
2 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
bay leaf
handful of peppercorns
large pinch of salt
a few sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, plus an extra Tbs. chopped
2-3 cups of leftover rice or pasta

Like I said above, however you make your chicken stock is how you can make your soup. Add all ingredients except chopped parsley and rice into a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil and turn heat down to a simmer for about an hour. You don't want to boil your stock for too long or it will become cloudy. After an hour, pull a chicken leg out to test doneness; insert a knife in the meatiest part of the thigh, and if the juice runs clear it's done. If it appears bloody, put it back in the pot for another 15-20 minutes.

Remove the chicken to a plate to cool slightly. Taste broth and add salt and pepper as desired. Strain broth into another pot (if serving immediately) or a 2 QT pitcher or QT mason jars if saving for later. Discard remaining solids. Pull skin off chicken and cut the meat off the bone; shred meat into bite-sized pieces and add back to the stock with the chopped parsley. If you are serving immediately, add all rice. If you are serving it bowl by bowl, store the rice separately and add back into the soup when you heat it up.

Optional: You can add more sautéed veggies and onions back to the soup after straining; in the picture above you can see some celery and onion. I only occasionally do this step; often I just keep it simple with chicken, broth, and rice.

Author's Note: This post is part of Pennywise Platter Thursday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday, and Seasonal Celebration Wednesday.


Mom said...

I'm listening to Nora Ephron read her book, " I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections ". Great to hear her voice and well you know...
Anyway ,she talks about chicken soup . She reflects that in the past she has always made chicken soup as soon as she felt a cold coming on, yet she would always get the cold . "do you think maybe chicken soup causes colds ?" She muses .
I wanted to mention a phrase she gives (not her own ) for something that is repeated so often it becomes "fact". Such as with flu shots causing the flu . This is called "informational cascade" . I liked that .

Rebecca Watkins said...

Now this looks so utterly delicious, we just have to make it! Thank for sharing your Grandma's recipe Justine!


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