Disclaimer: I have always HATED chicken soup. Canned, fresh, your grandmother's, Phở, all of it. Just a bunch of mushy stuff I'd rather eat by itself than boiled all together.
Then I made it myself.
And now I like it.
Recipe for Chicken Soup
- 2 leftover roasted chicken carcasses (frozen for who knows how long)
- 4 chicken thighs (with skin and bone)
- (Or you can substitute the above for one whole chicken)
- 1 lb of whatever pasta you can muck together from half-eaten boxes
- 4 large slicing tomatoes
- chicken stock
- 4 carrots
- some kale if you happen to have it (not vital, but it gives the soup some color) (Okay, this is vital)
- bacon grease (or butter)
- salt, pepper, herbs to taste
A sick boyfriend.
A hangover.All of the above ingredients, plus LOOOOOOOOVE. (Sorry, it had to be said.)
So I took my step-daughter for a hike and then came home and got busy. I felt bad that I'd been working all week and my main man had been subsisting on canned soup whilst battling the plague. I wanted to make something truly MAN-COLD WORTHY.
All you do for that is throw a bunch of chicken parts into boiling water with a couple quartered onions, some carrots and celery and every herb you can possibly yank out of your garden. We used sage, thyme, rosemary and oregano. We don't ever really chop up our fresh herbs. It's easier just to throw entire branches into the pot and stuff 'em down until you're able to close the lid again.
[If you're starting with a whole chicken, it needs to boil with this stuff (or store-bought chicken stock) for at least 45 minutes, if not longer.]
Then you let it simmer for many, many hours while you read Storm Large's memoir in the backyard and eat cucumbers from the garden with raw milk cheddar and ranch. (DO NOT MOCK ME FOR MY RANCH ADDICTION.) Also: make sure you serve it on the plate your boyfriend lifted from the the Bossert Hotel at Jehovah's Witnesses world headquarters.
Once the broth is starting to get tasty (like three or four hours later), put your colander over another stock pot and drain off all the solids. (DO NOT, however, feed them to your chickens because then you'll have cannibals on your hands and NO GOOD COMES FROM THAT.) Return your broth to the stove, add salt and pepper to taste, and keep it simmering.
Meanwhile, broil a bunch of chicken thighs for soup meat (unless you started with a whole chicken, in which case, just start making bite-sized pieces from the drainage and set them aside.)
Boil your pasta until it's just BARELY under-cooked, like al-al-dente.
Then go ahead and lay about two dozen giant 1/4-inch-thick tomato slices on a greased baking sheet and slather them with bacon grease, salt and pepper. (Unless you're a vegetarian, but then what the hell are you doing making chicken soup?!)
Broil those beauties for 20 minutes, then turn them over, brush them with more bacon grease and broil them on the other side until they're deliciously blackened all over.
While the tomatoes are broiling, throw several cloves of smashed (NOT SLICED OR MINCED) garlic into the broth and then start chopping veggies, like so.
Once the chicken and tomatoes are done broiling, it's time to add your veggies to the boiling stock. Add the carrots and onion first and then add the kale at the very last minute since it only needs to be blanched.
Then burn your fingers by removing bite-sized chunks of beautiful, dark chicken meat off the broiled thighs and set it aside. (I mean, it's not like your tongue isn't burnt to a crisp already from all the times you've scorched it tasting the broth.) (And if your man is sick like mine was, it's not like you're really gonna need your tongue or your hands tonight, anyway, right?)
Test your carrots and onions after about six minutes and check for tenderness. They shouldn't take more than ten minutes and undercooked is ALWAYS better than soggy. Make sure all your other ingredients are ready and your bowls are warm.
I realize this is my first recipe here, but one of my cardinal rules is that I ALWAYS put our dishes in the microwave before serving anything hot. Because duh.
Then use a slotted spoon to remove EVERYTHING from the chicken stock and set it aside (preferably in a bowl that has also already been warmed) so you can assemble each bowl of soup individually. [Think Phở, only it doesn't taste like soap. For reference: IhateCilantro.com]
Keep your broth at a full boil while you do the plating. Or bowling. Whatever.
You can arrange this soup however you like, but I did it this way: clockwise from the top, that's carrots, garlic, chicken, kale, onion rings and a slice of roasted tomato all sitting on a bed of squiggly pasta noodles.
Then all you have to do is add the broth and VOILA! Chicken soup.
It went over well, especially once we mixed it all together and let the roasted tomato juice get busy with the broth. I can't speak to its healing abilities, but let's just say I needed my tongue that night after all.
I hope this recipe makes your mouth equally happy.