Pray that I never serve you my chicken soup.
It's not that I make bad chicken soup – on the contrary. I craft mine with love, care, a whole roasted chicken, homemade stock, fresh herbs and meticulously prepared, in-season vegetables. It is, by all accounts, pretty spectacular and soothing stuff.
It's good for what ails you - and that's the problem. If I'm making this soup for you, things are not going well in your world, and it's the only way I can think to help. I'm not a physician, therapist, social worker, lawyer or member of the clergy. I can, however, feed you right now and leave a batch of it the freezer so later, when I'm not around you can serve yourself a good, solid, home-cooked meal without having to think too much about it.
I'll admit that the act of crafting this meal for someone is potentially a tad selfish on my part. I'm worried about you and feel helpless, and the action and ritual keep my brain and my hands busy. If you're feeling well enough and need the distraction, you can come with me to the market (I'm paying - don't you dare argue), but otherwise, I'll show up at your door, supplies in hand.
Chop, chop, baste, stir. If you want, you can sit at the kitchen table so we can talk while I'm working, or you can go put your feet up and zone out, nap, or head out to spend time with the person over whom you've been so worried. Take your time. When you're ready, dinner will be waiting.
Kat's Crisis Chicken Soup
Traditionalists might not subscribe to this method, but it's worked for me time and time again and it's good for at least a couple of hearty meals. The measurements are not precise, but this recipe is endlessly forgiving and can be adapted to include whatever's in the fridge at the time.
1 whole chicken
Fresh herbs (I like thyme and rosemary)
1 whole lemon
Vegetables of your choice
Fill a large pot 2/3 with water and heat burner to medium. Roughly chop 1-2 carrots (no need to peel) and add to the pot with several celery stalks and half a large peeled onion or a whole medium onion, cut in two. Add a fistful of kosher salt, a bay leaf and several sprigs of thyme (if you're using that).
Using poultry shears or a sharp knife, cut the backbone from the chicken and add it to the pot. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the temperature, cover, and let the contents simmer.
Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 425°F, making sure that the racks are placed so a chicken in a roasting pan fits comfortably in the middle of the oven.
In a food processor, blender or using a fork in a bowl, blend together olive oil, several tablespoons of kosher salt, 2-3 cloves of garlic, as many fresh herbs as you'd like, the juice of the lemon, and slices of the rind until it forms a slurry. Rub this under the chicken's skin, as well as over the entire outside.
Spread open the chicken like a book, skin side up, and place on a rack in a roasting pan, or lay the chicken over several horizontally-placed celery stalks in the pan. Place in oven and baste with pan juices as needed.
When skin is distinctly golden brown and crispy, lower the heat to 350°F and continue to monitor and baste until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165°F at the thickest part, but without touching any bones.
Once you've lowered the temperature, on racks above and below the chicken, slide in sheets of chopped vegetables you've brushed with pan drippings. Butternut squash, cauliflower, corn and broccoli all work well in this soup. Roast until softened and browned.
Serve whatever parts of the chicken you'd like (along with any of the vegetables), removing the meat from the carcass.
Remove the skin from the uneaten portions and discard. Place the leftover meat, bones and vegetables in the stock pot, add in any leafy vegetables (kale works well) and simmer for an hour until flavors meld.
Remove from the heat and once the soup has cooled enough, remove the celery, carrots, onion halves, bay leaf and bones, skim the fat from the top, then refrigerate the rest for a few hours or overnight.
Heat individual portions on the stove top or in the microwave and freeze in individual containers for later use.
Note: Spices like star anise, coriander, smoked paprika and others add a distinctive flavor note to the soup and can be added at any stage.
Got a food ritual you share with friends and family who are feeling down? Please share it in the comments below.
I always like to put a bunch of parsley to chicken soup ... stems and all. Kohlrabi is also a terrific addition ... just peel and cut into bite-sized chunks. It adds a wonderful flavor.
FOR ABOUT $ 7.00 YOU CAN BUY FROM LOCAL SUPERMARKET A FULLY COOKED HONEY CHICKEN. I WING,1 LEG AND 1 THIGH MAKES ONE DINNER, SLICE OFF SEVERAL THIN SLICES OF WHITE MEAT FOR SANDWICHES. YOU HAVE NOW FED 4 PEOPLE. LETS GO TO SOUP.
MICROWAVE 1 LARGE SLICED ONION, 2 LG CLOVES MINCED GARLIC,CHOPPED MUSHROOMS,A SHAKE OF GINGER,CHOPPED PARSLEY,SEA SALT,GOOD GRIND PEPPER,A SHAKE OF ORAGANO, ABOUT 3 TABLESPOONS OLIVE OIL AND A GULP OF GINGER ALE. ADD THIS SOFTEN GLOP TO 2 CANS CHICHEN STOCK, ADD REST OF CHICKEN CUBED(NO BONE), CHOPPED CARROT,CELERY,FROZEN PEAS,FROZEN CORN, CUBED POTATO, STRING BEANS FROZEN, TOMATO OR LEFT OVER PASTA. MICROWAVE FOR 10 MIN. ON HIGH, STIR COOL AND MICROWAVE ANOTHER 10 MIN.IF TOO DRY ADD MORE GINGER ALE. ENOUGH TO FEED 4 MORE PEOPLE. YOU HAVE NOW FEED A TASTY MEAL TO 8 PEOPLE ON ONE CHICKEN. YUMMMMMM
While the basic ingredients sound interesting, I think the pasta would turn to mush after being microwaved for 20 minutes. Better to add it at the end. Also ... you're missing out on a lot of flavor by not simmering the bones. I guess if making something quick is your main objective, it works.
Sounds like pure comfort soup....I add ground up Ginger & drop a couple Star Anise in my Chicken Soup. the finishing touch is Cayenne Pepper, not too much.
When I was sick, my mom would bring me popsicles and ginger ale if I could not eat. If I could eat, I liked Campbell's tomato soup (with milk added instead of water) and a grilled cheese sandwich.
This chicken soup looks very nice, I will try it one day. Meanwhile, I will recommend a very great website to you guys, it is http://www.fourgreensteps.com/marketplace/, one of the largest green product website in the world.
This is good stuff. Thanks for sharing! It's interesting how chicken soup has a spiritual association. I wonder what's good when your soul is at peace?
The only thing i see that hasn't been addressed is skimming the fat. If you go through the trouble of refrigerating the soup or the broth overnight before serving, just wait until the liquid is refrigerator cold to remove the fat, because by then it is congealed and solid on the top.
Don't forget some good bread, rolls or biscuits to go with that fine soup.
Best post i've seen yet :)
It's gonna be a good day! Not only did I score a great new reicipe I just found a great new alternative music web station.
Interesting, "skim the fat from the top, then refrigerate the rest for a few hours or overnight."
My pop uses this same technique when making his chicken soup.
Seems to me that fishing out the bones, carrots and celery, while leaving the veggies you want, would be a pain. Simmer your flavorings and bones, then strain, then add your final vegetables – let this simmer for a bit, then add the meat. Oh...and don't forget to roast a head of garlic with the chicken, smash and add the bulbs to the stock...so good.
The first batch of vegetables is used to flavor the soup water, a.k.a. broth. Their flavors are basically cooked out of the vegetable so that is why they get the toss.
Wait, you go through the trouble of making perfect golden chicken skin and throw it away? Are you crazy? Add it to the stock for extra flavor and remove it before you assemble the soup. Or for you crispy skin lovers, remove the skin and broil it until crunchy, thinly slice and use as a garish, but I' not into that myself. Throw away the bones? Again, are you crazy? That's where the flavor is. Again, toss them in the stock pot,, break them in half to get the marrow into the broth and then strain them out with the rest of the junk in the pot. by the way, you don't need to peel that onion, add a halved or quartered onion skin and all, the skin gives the broth a nice color.
What's easier still is bake the whole chicken, spice the way you wish, slice off the breast meat for sandwiches and use the rest of the chicken for soup. Add in the chicken towards the end because you don't want to boil the flavor out of the meat.
Thank you Kat. I just came across your article, and maybe it was the title, but it was the very thing I needed. Perfect timing. I can't wait to make this soup. First batch is for me, but I promise to share with others.
Glad to be of help and I hope it does you good.
My moms chicken soup is great. When I'm ill or Just need some love, I beg her to make her chicken soup. She puts cabbage in it as well. Even when I'm trying to lose a few pounds quickly or I have an up tummy I go rummaging in her freezer in hopes of finding a frozen bowl. You're right, that soup cures whatever ails you. Cold, flu, a few extra pounds or a broken heart!
Sounds awesome. I like to add some ground ginger to mine as well.
I use food to convey my support to loved ones in times of distress. I don't know why chicken soup hasn't made my list (I'm big on lasagna), but it will now. I actually make really good chicken soup - roast the chicken, not boil.
I make soup some kind of soup for everyone I care about when they are sick or in crisis; it's the only thing I can think of to do! Everyone has their favorites, I keep a list and make sure I fill up their frig, it's my way to show I care.
I have a biserable code id by node...cad you cub over?
I feel much, much better just reading this. It really works!
Dark thigh meat. The secret.
No need to peel the carrots? Maybe if you like dirt and whatever they sprayed on the carrots in your food.
Well, I do wash 'em.
ALWAYS peel carrots. ALWAYS.
Um, it's kinda hard to spray anything on a carrot when it's growing UNDERGROUND.
Scrubbing them with a stiff brush is plenty. Peeling is optional. I use them both ways.
Use the onion skins & ends in the stock (yellow onions) It will make a rich golden color.
I agree Kat always roast a chicken, I Never boil to make chicken soup, gumbo or any chicken casserole dish.
Roast first, remove meat & throw the bones in the stock pot.
Meat is murder!Just kidding lol.
I'm going vegetarian for two months...and in all seriousness, that's the first thing that popped into my head. Can't wait to squash it with a nice tall glass of gravy and a side of deep fried chicken...just 4 more weeks to go.
Why are you going vegan for 2 months?
mmm mmm – good!
I’m sorry, I’m missing something. Early in the recipe it says to cut the backbone of the chicken and put it in the pot with the water and vegetables, to bring it to a boil, and to let it simmer.
Later it says to put the oil, salt, garlic and lemon mixture under the skin of the chicken and to put it in the oven. Is this the same chicken? Isn’t it going to fall apart if it has been boiled and simmered? Or is that just for a few minutes?
The backbone goes in the pot at the beginning. The rest of the chicken gets roasted, well, like a chicken, and then you use the leftovers for the soup. Two meals in one!
When you butterfly a chicken (for grilling, often) you have to remove the backbone so you can flatten the chicken. It gives you the two breasts and the breast bone splayed out. It roasts faster this way in the oven and can help keep the bird juicy. Not a bad method to try. Youtube how to buttery a chicken and you'll see what the author means.
Pardon me for trying to improve your recipe, but braising the vegetables in a hot fry pan before adding them to the stock will improve the flavor of any soup stock. My chicken soup recipe has about 100 ingredients, including coffee, peanut butter and mustard - but in small amounts. It builds the stock's "body" up to a savory yield that is almost miraculous.
I very much need to know more about that.
Also Leeks add a nice flavor over onions.
This looks like a great receipt for diabetics.
Good stuff. Good idea.
As much as the recipe, I like your reason for making it. :)
I like to add a handful of fresh tarragon, some white wine and celery salt to mine...
That sounds fantastic! I will definitely give that a try. Celery, celery seed, celery root and celery salt make just about any dish better.
Own a pressure cooker? You can make a fantasticly rich stock and the soup that results is out of this world.
Kat – Sounds fantastic... I may have to try this
Mildred – Please feel free to share a recipe! I love cabbage soup, having lived in Eastern Europe.
My recipe's a bit of a mish-mash of several, but based on my memory of Mr Alston's recipe (my Russian Language teacher in high school).
It's a similar ritual when I make schi (a Russian cabbage soup).
Kind of a food ritual, more like a mispronounciation ritual...My wife likes to make rock cornish game hens, but calls them "baby chickens". She gets some interesting looks at the meat counter when she has to ask for one.
Sounds really good. I could use some of that.
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