Sunday, February 1, 2009

Way Better Than Opening a Can Chicken Soup

It's good for what ails ya.

Everyone at Chez Silicon has been struck by THE COLD, a nasty, horrible thing that results in drippy noses and hacking coughs. Fortunately, my kitchen already had chicken soup fixins.

I'm a big fan of soup because it's easy to make, you can walk away from it, and you can get creative and be flexible. This "recipe," if you can call it that, can stand lots of tweaks depending on what you and your geek squad prefer.


1.5 to 3 lbs chicken. You have some flexibility here. I prefer boneless skinless thighs, although leaving the bone in will result in more flavor. You can also use breasts (I suggest bone-in, but take the skin off), but the meat will be a bit more dry than thighs. If all you have is boneless and skinless whatever, then that's fine. Have a whole chicken? Well, just go ahead and use it. See what I mean about soup? Lots of wiggle room. This time I had breasts. I removed the skin, left the bone, and tossed them in.
Olive Oil--about 2 Tbsp
Chopped carrots--about 2 or 3
Chopped onion--1 medium or 1 1/2 small
Chopped celery--about 3 stalks.
Broth/Stock--chicken or vegetable, 2-3 cups
Water--about 2 cups (or 1 cup white wine, 1 cup water)
Rosemary (or whatever seasoning you like)--about 2 Tbsp fresh or 1 Tbsp dry
Salt/Pepper to taste

Chop all the veggies. You can include the leaves of the celery too, if you want. Or you don't have to. I like to do this part while the little geeks are napping.

Heat the oil in the bottom of a large pot. Toss in all your veggies and cook until the onions are soft. Pour in your broth. Season your chicken with salt & pepper and put it in the pot. Add water until the chicken is totally covered (if you want to be really fancy you can throw in a cup of dry white wine). Stir it all around and bring to a boil.

Turn down heat and simmer, covered, for about an hour.

When chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot and let it cool a bit. In the meantime, add your rosemary or whatever seasonings you like. Taste the broth in the pot and add salt/pepper according to your taste. If people are sick, you might want a little extra salt. It is really hard to mess this up. If it doesn't take enough like broth to you, throw in a cube of chicken bouillon. Toss in a cup or so of frozen peas if you feel like it. Get crazy--there are no chicken soup police.

If you want to put in noodles or rice, this is the time to do it. Toss it in, bring everything to a boil, and let it cook (with rice, you probably have to put the lid back on).

When the chicken cools a bit, start removing it from the bone (if there were bones) and shredding it. If you put in noodles or rice, wait for it to finish cooking. Add more liquid (broth or water) as needed. Then toss as much of the shredded chicken as you want back in the pot. Put the rest (if there is extra) in a ziplock in the freezer to use for enchiladas or chicken salad or something another day.

Let the whole concoction simmer a bit more so the chicken warms back up.

If you want to add dumplings, this is the time to toss them in (just use bisquick or refridgerated biscuit dough) and let them simmer, covered, for 10-12 minutes).

Then dish it up and let the healing begin.

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