We all love it. It’s the soup that fixes everything and comforts all. Such is the reputation of Chicken Soup it also is the title of a series of wonderful sharing short stories, about life – not food!!
I indeed have my method for my chicken soup. Loved so much it’s featured in my new book. (For the Love of Chicken from New Holland Publishing) Here is a sneak peak of the beautiful photography by Joe Filshie!
Many tell me it’s amazing and so delicious they want more. So to satisfy many a request here is my method for a glorious big pot of great chicken soup
Start with a huge fresh free range chicken, add a couple of additional carcasses and a handful of vegies such as carrot, onion and celery.
The chicken used from years gone by was a ‘boiler’. This was the term used for an older, tougher chicken that was only good for soup. Now a days you’ll have a little difficulty finding boilers unless you try a old fashioned poultry supplier. These boilers were not at all suitable for roasting or braising – they were far too stringy and dry. They did have a lot of flavour and yes, if simmered slowly, for a long time, developed a great broth. Today a nice free range chicken does a great job and gives you tender succulent meat that can be chopped into chunks or torn into strips to add to the soup.
The larger the better! You need lots of water around the chicken for it to bubble away.
The flavoursome ones to enrich the broth are onions, carrots and celery. These form the first part of a great soup.
So start with a nice fresh chook, rinse it well and pop into a big pot with the extra carcasses (or necks or giblets). Add a couple of the vegies, roughly chopped, and cover with water. Bring this to the boil and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. All you need to do is skim off the white foamy stuff that collects on the top. Don’t leave it on as it adds a gritty texture to the broth. Do this skimming regularly with a nice fine sieve… skim it off and discard.
Cool the large pot of chicken and water for about 1 hour, then drain into a large colander over a large clean bowl or another pot – be sure to keep every last drop of the beautiful broth. I do have to confess I have tragically tipped the contents of a simmer pot into a colander without anything undernealth – eek! It’s a complete disaster. Discard the wings and giblets (if using). Remove the whole chicken using tongs or rubber gloves from the colander and gently remove the skin.
If the chicken is still hot, be sure to use rubber gloves. I then tear the chicken or cut into lovely tender pieces and set it aside.
Next, give the pot a rinse out and return the reserved ‘sacred’ broth to it. REFRIGERATE to allow the fat to rise to the top. There will be a good 2 cm of firm fat and this needs to be removed and discarded otherwise the soup will taste oily. Once the fat is removed return the soup to the heat and add the vegies. I mostly like to use carrot, celery, parsnip, green beans, fresh corn and herbs. I add the vegies to suit the amount of cooking time required as I do like the carrots tender yet the green beans bright green and a little crisp. I season and add a little lemon rind and fresh herbs to finish…. mmm its delicious and I feel better before I even finish the bowl.
For those of you who like a complete recipe here it is!
Chicken Soup – like grandma made
Equipment: Chopping board, cooks knife, veggie peeler, 2 large saucepans, measuring cups and spoons, wooden spoon, spatula, colander, slotted spoon, tongs, large mixing bowl
For the stock:
2 sticks celery
2 large carrots, peeled, ends trimmed
1 large onion, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 free range, size 16 (1.6 kg) chicken, well rinsed
For the soup:
2 tbsps olive oil
2 leeks, ends and green section trimmed, well washed and thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled
2 sticks celery
1 clove garlic, peeled, finely chopped
½ cup risoni (small rice shaped pasta) or long grain rice
100g green beans, topped and tailed, cut into 4 cm pieces
2 cobs corn, husks & silks removed, kernels trimmed from the cob
Finely grated rind & juice 1 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ small bunch parsley, stalks removed, leaves finely chopped
Place the celery, carrots, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns and chicken into the large saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over a medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Use a slotted spoon to skim off any scum that rises to the surface.
Using tongs, carefully remove the chicken from the stock (tipping out any stock from inside the cavity) and set aside to cool. Return the stock to the boil and simmer 30 minutes. Place a colander over a large bowl and drain the stock.
Discard the vegetables and keep the precious broth. If desired the broth can be placed into the fridge and cooled. The fat will rise to the surface and can be skimmed off.
Using gloves (if the chicken is still too warm to comfortably touch), remove the skin and discard. Slice the flesh (from the breast, legs, etc) and shred into long thin pieces. Set aside.
Heat the oil in the clean saucepan. Add the leeks, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook over a medium heat stirring occasionally for 8 minutes or until softened and glossy (do not burn this mixture).
Add the reserved chicken broth and bring to the boil. Add the risoni pasta or rice and cook 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the corn and beans and cook 5 minutes. Finally stir in the shredded chicken, lemon rind and juice and parsley. Season well with salt and pepper.
Blast away the winter blues with my favourite soup. Now if you’re not a chicken soup fan, I don’t understand this at all but here are some other delicious soups from the KitchenAid .
Blast away the winter blues with my favourite soup. Now if your not a chicken soup fan, I don’t understand this at all but here are some other delicious soups from the KitchenAid Australia & New Zealand recipe website. Simply click the gorgeous image and you will see the recipe on the website.
Don’t forget if you have any cooking questions feel free to ask on the Questions page and I will be happy to chat to you!
Photography by Blackwood Studios.