Chicken Soup

Submitted by Mr. Harmon on 2009-01-06 05:11:48




This is pretty basic, but also very good. Not really from a cookbook– but the traditional French bases are all up in this: I don’t cook a whole chicken, I don’t feel that it is necessary and I care very little for white meat– so if you do cook a whole chicken, allow for a slightly longer cooking time.

This is how it goes:
One Large Carrot, diced
One Onion, diced
One Stalk of Leek, diced
One fennel Bulb, diced
Four Cloves of garlic, chopped
About 1/4 cup of Olive oil, enough to coat ingredients.
1 teaspoon of salt.
3 or 4 chicken legs/thighs

Put all of the vegetables in a pot.
Work the salt into the veggies with your hands– this is important and might take a couple of minutes– you want to start drawing liquid from the vegetables. If you’re like me, you might want to keep the salt to a minimum, but this is a chemical reaction, so you need enough salt to make it work. The vegetables should feel very damp.

Add the olive, coat the veggies– the bastards.

set to a low heat– very low. I try to keep things as low as possible as to warm the food without cooking-out all of the nutrients– as such, I try to keep things under 200 degrees. I don’t use a thermometer or anything, but if I can hear it cooking, I know it is too hot. The volume should reduce to about 1/2– keep cooking until the carrots are done or longer. I generally cook the vegetables for about 2 hours.

At this point you have the makings of a pretty killer vegetable stock. This is the deal with all stock, meat or vegetable– you have to use good water. Bad water kills a stock faster than anything, so if you don’t have good tap water it is best to spend a buck or two on bottled spring water (i.e.– don’t waste your money on desani, that is just filtered municipal water.)

Add Four cups of water
Add chicken

(Some notes about chicken: I remove the skin. Some people don’t. That is totally up to you– sure, the skin does add some flavor, but it also adds a lot of fat. Generally, I feel that the trade-off isn’t worth it in the end. If you leave the skin on, skim the emulsified fat from the surface every half hour. Maybe I’m lazy, but the flesh and the bone does it for me.)

Once the chicken is in I let it go for a minimum of an hour and a half. If the heat is low enough, you can cook it for a long time, depending on the texture you desire. When I cook this for myself I usually stop after 2- 2.5 hours, as I prefer the chicken to remain somewhat meat-like, but I also enjoy soups that have been cooked much longer, where the protein becomes a deeper base in the soup.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Sometimes I add fresh chopped rosemary– but only before serving and not to the soup as a whole. With this soup I tend to shy away from warming spices, as I feel that the right amount of salt is the best way to raise the flavor of the vegetables. That being said, go to town with the spices!

This is a really great soup by itself but it can handle many additions:
Cooked rice (brown or white)
Cooked beans– (White great nothern, navy, etc)

Also, I haven’t tried this yet, but I like the idea of putting half a head of cabbage into the vegetable mix.

This soup requires about 4 hours at the least, but it is well worth it and keeps for a least a week in the fridge.

Special thanks to my Grandmother, Anne Mack, who insists that carrots are an important ingredient, and who also just got a hearing aide, so we can all talk to her again.


Left by tinybadger — 2009-09-24 17:05:53

I want to make this in one month.

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