Saturday, November 7, 2009

My Mom's Chicken Soup

Today was our last Saturday water practice for the season and it was cold. 3 hours outside in 25 degree weather is just not pleasant and it took me a good majority of the drive home (30 minutes) to regain feeling in my hands. Good thing Max and I had planned to make a big pot of chicken soup today. It's really more of a broth I guess since I strain all of the chicken and vegetables out of it but that just makes it all the more versatile since it can be used as a base for other soups or risottos. It's really quite simple to make and as long as you have about 4 and half hours (half hour of prep work and cleaning up and 4 hours to waste while it cooks) to spend at home then you're set. Usually I like to keep mine simple with just some thin noodles or grie├čnockerl, but lately I've also been adding steamed greens such as turnip or mustard greens, small white beans and even some crumbled chicken sausage (no skin).

Mom's Chicken Soup
Makes about 2 litres

1 5lb or 2 2 1/2 young chicken (skin on, giblets removed)
3 Medium onions (skin on)
3 Large carrots
3 Stalks of celery
1 Large or 2 small parsnips
1 Bunch of parsley
1-2 Tbls olive oil
3-4 Litres water
Heat olive oil in a large stock pot.
Add chicken(s) skin down and brown on both sides
chop onions, carrots, celery, and parsnips into large chunks, add to pot.
Add water a litre at a time until chicken and vegetables are just covered (I start with 3 litres and add up to 1 more as it cooks.)
Add Parsley and cover.

Bring to a boil and then down to a steady simmer.
Let simmer for about 4 hours. After about 1 hour I add some or all of the remaining litre of water if it has reduced a lot. Do not add water after two hours as it will water down the flavor.

When the soup is done strain it through colander or large mesh strainer. Set chicken and vegetables aside. Pour soup into mason jars and let stand on the counter to cool to room temperature. The fat will rise to the top as it cools so when you put it in the refrigerator it will harden. I like to leave it in the fridge overnight and then skim the fat off with a spoon in the morning.

Meanwhile, separate the chicken from the bones and vegetables. It can be saved and frozen to add back to the soup. I like to make chicken salad instead to eat for lunch all week.

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