Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chicken Soup for the Soul

I have a cold, it was a miserable day and I am hungry. Time to make my world famous Chicken Soup for the Soul! Going out to eat for lunch or dinner is not an option because whenever we go out I whine about everything. I love to order soup but:
  • it never has the right amount of ingredients, 
  • it's not the right temperature,
  • it's too thick or too thin,
  • and the taste is just wrong.
I decided to make chicken soup. Now to make chicken soup you need it to be just a little creative. You need to open the refrigerator and take inventory of possible ingredients. In our refrigerator I saw:
  • carrots,
  • leeks,
  • onions,
  • and of
In the freezer I had several containers with chicken stock. When I make chicken stock I save it in containers by a specific volume. This way if I need one, two, or three cups of chicken stock... I have it ready. I make sure I have a variety of volumes to be able to match any recipe requirement. If you save the liquid in two-cup containers then what would you do if you needed three cups of it? But, I digress. 
The beer is NOT for the soup, folks. Here is a Corona getting ready to get acquainted with me.

So, when did we decide that beer will be consumed directly from the bottle? I just don't understand why when I go to a restaurant and I order a beer they serve it to me without a bottle. Anyway. Let's move on.

To make things simple and easy for me I went to the local supermarket and I bought an already cooked rotisserie chicken.  There was nothing else for me to purchase there for this soup because I had everything else.  As you can see there is a chunk missing from the chicken. Well, I had to take care of Raspy because there was no way that she was going to let me cook without having her little tummy full.

Here is is a few minutes after the feast. She is stretching on the carpet happy as can be. Isn't she cute?

Here I have two, two-cup each containers holding the chicken stock. There are two additional containers off to the side holding three cups each. I was going to make A LOT of soup using eight cups of stock. When the stock begins to thaw you can use a spoon to remove some of the fat that coagulated on top of it. This picture shows the stock with the fat already removed.

I took out the 8 1/2 quart Dutch Oven Calphalon and drizzled about two tablespoons of olive oil. I like to use this particular pan for soups, even though I will not place it in the oven, because of the size of it. I set the heat to medium to get the oil nice and hot.

Then, I cube one large sweet onion and when the oil is ready I put it in the pot.

As the onion gets cozy with the olive oil I prepare the rest of the ingredients. 
Ah! My favorite vegetable. Leeks. As you can see I have a small pot to the left of the leeks that I will use to wash them after julienning them. I remove the top of the leeks and, of course, save them for my vegetable stock, and then I cut the stalk in half four to five times. I place the pieces in the pot and I wash them several times with cold water to remove the schmutz.

I also slice three carrots and two celery sticks and I put all of the vegetables in the pot.

I cook the vegetables for about five minutes just to get them a little soft but you don't want to brown them.

Then I add the chicken stock and bring it to a boil by increasing the heat.
In the following picture you can see some pieces of the leeks that were cut too large. Oops.

Take some of your favorite past and add it to the pot of vegetables and let the whole thing boil for five minutes.

After it boils for five minutes I add small pieces of the cooked chicken, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook it for two minutes just to get the chicken hot. If the chicken has been refrigerated for a day or more you may want to keep it in the pot for some additional time to get it nice and warm.

Here is the final product. Chicken soup for the soul. Allow me to borrow a line from Fiddler on the Roof: if a poor man eats a chicken, one of them is sick. I hope I get better because this cold I have is making me miserable.

If you want to make soup just for one or two people you don't have to have eight cups of stock. Use two cups of stock, one carrot, and half a celery stick. The celery is very important because it is very tasty. Then add just a handful of pasta and bingo!


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