Friday, February 4, 2011

One Chicken, Three Meals- Chicken Soup

Meal #2- Chicken Soup

It is undeniable and beyond contestation: one of the best things for a cold is a hot bowl of nourishing, homemade chicken soup.  A week and a half ago, I roasted a chicken.  When we were done with that juicy bird and roasted veggies, I carved off the remaining meat and picked the carcass clean.  I put all the remaining meat in the freezer.  The carcass, on the other hand, had more cooking left to do.

I put the carcass and the contents of the bag of organs that were removed before roasting the chicken in a stock pot and filled the pot with about a gallon (16 cups) of filtered water.  Next, a 1/4 cup of white vinegar goes in to draw out the minerals from the bones.  The water was brought to a boil, then dropped to a simmer.  Any bits and pieces or foamy scum that floated to the surface was skimmed off and discarded. Once that was removed, my vegetables and seasonings went in.  

Each batch of stock is a little different, depending on what I have on hand that day. This time, it was an onion (quartered), 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 5-6 black peppercorns,3-4 cloves of garlic (smashed), two teaspoons salt, 2 bay leaves, a teaspoon each of sage and thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.  I let the stock simmer on the stove all day for a total of 12 hours. It was left to cool off, then strained and stored in the refrigerator.  I took about half of the left over chicken out of the freezer and put it to defrost in the refrigerator to defrost overnight.  The next morning, the fat had risen to the top of the stock.  I skimmed the fat off and used it to cook potatoes (home fries) with breakfast.

The nicely-gelled, de-fatted chicken stock went back onto the stove top. In went a 1/2 cup of brown basmati rice.  I really don't care for brown rice, but this is pretty good- very similar texture to white rice.  I sliced up three carrots, two celery stalks, and chopped the defrosted chicken.  It all went into the pot with a tablespoon of parsley.

And here is a nice, hot cup of soup.  Perfect to chase away the common (if ever so stubborn) cold.

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