“Only the pure of heart can make good soup.” –Beethoven
Sometimes you’re home sick. It’s been snowing and gray for three days. Three days.
You have to make your own soup. (boo hoo)
You try to work. (Surely you can read or write.)
You can’t. Your nose keeps running and your head feels like about a hundred people are living in there.
You make tea. You read. Take some Tylenol. Try to forget about the book review you’re supposed to be writing. Take a nap. You suck on a zinc lozenge.
You look out the window because you can. There’s a flock, yessir, I said a FLOCK OF ROBINS cavorting in the tree in your front yard. Sometimes they just sit all puffed up trying to keep warm. Other times, they’re flying, swooping and gliding and then dive-bombing one another. They seem to be in love with the air currents and the blowing snow. Are they nuts? Are these robins, harbingers of spring? All of them?
Just goes to show you what you’ll see if you have to sit still a while.
Still, you feel awful and go search out a frozen chicken. You can make your own chicken soup, by golly.
And you do. Here’s how:
Make Your Own Chicken Noodle Soup
8 quarts water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons black pepper corns
1 small whole chicken (or pieces if that’s what you have)
2 onions cut in half, peels on
4 stalks celery, whole
4 whole cloves of garlic, papers off, but whole
4 large carrots, whole and unpeeled a chicken in every pot is good
2 large parsnips, whole and unpeeled
2 medium turnips, whole and unpeeled
4-5 sprigs fresh dill (or 1t dry)
1 bunch (1 1/2 c?) Italian parsley, whole
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary (or 2t dry)
1 onion, minced
4 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced or grated draining the chicken and veg
2 cups Kluski’s egg noodles
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
4-6 drops Tabasco, or to taste
Place all of the ingredients in the first section into a 12 qt stock pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook until chicken is falling off bone. 1 hour or so if the chicken is fresh. 2-21/2 if chicken is frozen.
Put a large colander on top of another big stock pot and pour soup through, catching chicken, vegetables and herbs. Remove vegetables and herbs to a food processor, disgarding peppercorns, and pulse until you have a fine babyfood texture; you might need to add a ladle or two of broth so that it processes easily. Put the babyfood back in the stockpot. Bone and shred chicken and add it to the pot as well.
Bring soup to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables from the second section, chopped onions, carrots, garlic and celery. Lower heat a little and let soup cook until vegetables are about half-way softened. If soup seems too thick, add some water or canned broth. Bring soup back to a boil and add noodles. Cook until noodles are al dente. Season with salt, pepper and tabasco, as needed. Serve as hot as you can eat it.
Cook’s note: About the vegetables. I used what I had in the house. You could skip the parsnips and turnips and only use carrots, celery, etc. I also threw in a leftover bunch of green onions because they were going to go bad. Use your imagination, but skip things like broccoli and cauliflower for making the first part (the broth) of the soup. If you have them and want to use them, add them near the end.
There are many ways to make chicken soup; this is just one of the easier ways.
making the “baby food”
(above: shredding the chicken by hand, not by cutting) (above: all back in the pot again)