The flu hit the household a couple of weeks ago, so just before I was taken down with fever, chills and that whole body ache, I stocked us up on the main defense against this sort of thing: chicken soup.
This soup is similar to another lazy recipe I talked about before but it’s been refined a bit and is slightly more work. The basic idea is the same. First you spend a day making a nice chicken stock. Then the next day you combine this stock with more fresh vegetables and roasted chicken meat to put the final soup together.
So, on to the details.
Basic Chicken Stock
This is the easy part. First, buy a two or three pound package of chicken wings, necks or whatever. Now make a about a cup or two of diced onion. I find that one of the huge onions at Whole Foods is enough. If you have smaller onions, use two. Do the same with 2 or 3 carrots, and 2 or 3 stalks of celery. Saute the veggies in a soup pot with some olive oil and salt. Then add the chicken pieces, peppercorns, a bay leaf and water to cover or a bit more. Bring the liquid to a boil, then turn the heat down to get a simmer. Simmer uncovered for a while then covered for a while for a total of three or four hours. Play some Halo.
You should end up with a couple of quarts of strong stock. After a night in the fridge it should look like chicken stock jello.
This is the fun part. Get yourself a small roasting chicken. I found the horrendously expensive free range chickens at Whole Foods to be the right size. Regular Purdue chickens or whatever tend to be too large. Chop a clove of garlic and stuff it into the cavity of the bird along with a couple of pinches of salt. Then rub the outside of the chicken with olive oil, salt, thyme, rosemary, and whatever else you like.
Put this in the oven in a shallow pan and roast it for around an hour or a bit more depending on how big the bird is. Take it out, let it cool off and then pull the meat off. Eat some of it for lunch, and then chop up the rest for the soup.
This is the last part. Start with your chicken stock and the pieces of meat you made. Then take another onion and dice it as small as you can. It helps to buy a hideously expensive Japanese knife for this. Do the same with two carrots and one or two stalks of celery.
Now get that soup pot out again and heat up some more olive oil. Add the veggies and some salt and pepper. Mix that around for five or ten minutes until the onion is soft. Now add the chicken, a quart or a bit more of stock, about the same amount of water and some white wine. The only thing you really need to worry about is balancing the amount of liquid with the solids. Just do it until it looks like soup. Simmer this for a while, add more salt and pepper to taste. To give it a Chinese feel, add Chinese cabbage and white pepper.
If you want noodles in your soup, cook them separately in another pot, then put them in a bowl and serve the soup on top. Noodles in the soup are pointless because the next day they’ll get nasty.
Matzoh balls are also nice.
So there you have it. This basic scheme works for almost all soups. Try adding bacon in the last part. Bacon makes all soups nicer.
The idea for adding the roasted chicken was stolen from the cookbook we got from my son’s school. Thanks to Brenda for this idea. I don’t know why I never considered it before.