So many of the people I know online seem to be succumbing to a 24 hour bug that I thought it would be appropriate to repost my expereince with making chicken stock and chicken soup.
Originally posted, July 12, 2002:
I am so proud of myself.
Yesterday I made some scrumptious blueberry muffins and a chicken and potato dish. Yum. Today I made a soup from scratch; I’d just bought some yummy veggies and wondered what to do with ’em. Yes, I made it up – no recipe or anything! Actually I had been reading several dozen soup recipes the day before, so I guess I just figured out the “soup basics”.
It turned out perfect.
I started with one bunch (with the leaves all still on) of smallish organic carrots. Small and expensive, but wow – what flavor! Well worth the expense. I chopped them up into smallish bits, then diced a clove of garlic and two medium stalks of celery (after I’d peeled all the tough strings out of the celery) into same size smallish bits. Note, peeling out those tough strings made a huge difference. It was a bit of extra work, but worth it in the end.
I then sauteed the veggies in olive oil very briefly – just 3 to 5 minutes – and added about six roughly chopped mushroom caps (no stems). I also chopped the white ends of green onions (about six smallish ones) and added those and a tiny bit of water. I let that saute for another 5 minutes or so.
Next I added about 4 cups of water and three chicken bouillon cubes. (I was out of chicken stock.) I also chopped up the two chicken breasts I had left over from the previous night’s dinner (they’d already been baked with tarragon, thyme and rosemary before) into medium chunks and added those and a half can of (drained) “toovar liva”, otherwise known as Indian bean seeds. (They’re like a firm and smallish black-eyed pea. Lentils or some other smallish bean would substitute nicely.)
Then I tossed in some seasonings: sea salt, onion powder, black pepper, basil, tarragon, lemon pepper, sesame seeds, and about ten dashes of white wine vinegar.
Finally I added a couple of handfuls of egg noodles, lowered the heat a bit and simmered the whole schemer (covered) for about ten or so minutes.
Originally posted April 14, 2003:
Sometimes I want to make something really good and home cooked, but not put a lot of effort into it. This slow cooked chicken is really easy and you get a lot of mileage (chicken dinner, stock and soup) out of one chicken.
Whole Slow Cooked Chicken:
First thing you need is a slow cooker. Most of the models available now have an integrated timer, but if you have an older model you can buy adapters that will give them the same ability.
Take a whole chicken and get rid of the skin and any stuff left inside. I’ll often trim off a lot of the fat too, then rinse the bird. Cut a large yellow onion into big quarters and stuff that inside of the bird with a few springs of rosemary. Place inside the slow cooker, on top of a small rack (if you’ve got one for the cooker). Sprinkle a lemon pepper spice mix all over the chicken and set to the lowest setting for about 6 hours.
You can set the whole chicken ontop of several potatoes in leiu of a rack. This has the added bonus of infusing the potatoes with chickeny goodness. With a little butter and milk or cream they make excellent mashed poattoes.
After dinner I’ll strip the chicken of the meat and and save both that and the carcass (onions and everything) in separate containers in the fridge. I can use some of the chicken for dinner the next night or keep it for soup.
The next day, or immediately after trimming the chicken and putting the meat in the fridge, place the carcass (bones and all the trimmings.) Fill with water enough to just cover and then set your slower cooker on the highest setting.
You’ll notice a huge difference in the bones after three hours and if you let it go long enough they’ll start to disintegrate. When you’re ready, just strain the whole thing through a cheesecloth into a container and refrigerate. The next day you’ll be able to lift off any remaining fat off the top of the stock. (It’ll be a solid layer on top.)
Voila. You’re ready for chicken soup.
Hearty Chicken Soup:
This one does take a little more prep, but it’s still pretty quick.
Take three stocks of celery from a bunch and chop them up into small cubes. I de-string the stuff first, then cut them into strips and chop to get the nice cubed look. Take three or four carrots, peel ’em with a potato peeler and chop them up into similarly sized bits. Dice one clove of garlic.
In a large pot over high heat, add your home-made chicken stock and a bay leaf (or two) plus 4 to 6 chicken bouillon cubes.
In a saute pan, add a small amount of olive oil and the garlic. Cook for a minute or two. Add the celery and carrots and sprinkle with salt. Cook two or three minutes max.
Scrape all the veggies into the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add small (not wide) egg noodles and cook until almost done.
Roughly chop up the leftover chicken (don’t get it to small) and add to the soup when the noodles are almost done. Add some lemon pepper spice to taste (and for a nifty touch toss in a handful of sesame seeds) or, alternatively, season with cumin and allspice. Cook until noodles are done and the chicken is heated through.