Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chicken Soup – For the Soul and the Body

This recipe is for a basic satisfying chicken soup, but you can add any vegetables to it that you have on hand, such as mushrooms or zucchini. Make up a batch and keep it in your refrigerator for quick between meal snacks to keep you fueled during the day. It also freezes well, so make up some serving sizes and store them away. Pop one in your microwave for lunch and have a hot homemade meal at work.

1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery ribs, diced
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
8 cups low-salt chicken stock
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Sea salt

Heat oil in a large stockpot. Add onion, garlic, carrots, and celery. Stir gently until vegetables become slightly tender. Pour in the chicken stock and add the thyme and bay leaf. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Delicious Homemade Chicken Stock

The following recipe is from Tyler Florence. If you have some extra time and really want to add some depth of flavor to your soup, make your own stock.

1 whole free-range chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), rinsed, giblets discarded
2 carrots, cut in large chunks
3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
2 large white onions, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved
1 turnip, halved
1/4 bunch fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.

Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.

Yield: 2 quarts

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