Oct 31 2010
I’ve been fighting a cold for most of the week. It didn’t stop me from cooking, but I did welcome the opportunity to use a coupon for a rotisserie chicken. Two days later, I still had the majority of a chicken left (I’d eaten half of a breast on two different occasions), but not much energy to do anything with it.
Chicken soup sure did sound good, though. Unfortunately, I’d used the last of my chicken stock when I made this soup that I ended up not even liking. My refrigerator was rather short on supplies, and we were in the middle of a windstorm the experts likened to a Category 3 Hurricane. Now, for those of you who’ve dealt with hurricanes and typhoons, that may not sound like a big deal to you, because you deal with those winds on a somewhat regular basis.
We don’t. We get snowstorms, tornadoes, and the occasional mild earthquake that few of us actually feel. I’m in the middle of a continent! There are no oceans here, just a few (well, five really) rather large lakes. And a host of small lakes (14,000 in my state alone), but they don’t influence the weather here.
So did I really want to venture out in the wind, in my walking boot to get soup? Not so much.
Instead, I analyzed the contents of my refrigerator, freezer, pantry, and yes, even my garden still. Here’s what I had to work with:
*most of a rotisserie chicken
* a couple of carrots
*a couple of onions
*a few cloves of garlic
*thyme (in the freezer)
*parsley (in the garden)
*dried bay leaves
*angel hair pasta
At about 7:30 in the morning, I picked off the breast meat, set it aside, and threw the rest of the carcass, including all the dark meat and skin, into my big pot. I then added a couple of carrots and onions, the remaining garlic, herbs, peppercorns, a bunch of water, and a splash of vinegar. Now, I really wanted that soup for lunch. Not enough time to make stock, right?
It is if you’re in a hurry and don’t care if you have cloudy stock. Really, all I cared about was the goodness in those bones, specifically the gelatin. The calcium was a bonus, and a splash of vinegar would help draw it out during cooking.
After a morning of cooking, I removed the legs from the pot and let them cool a bit before shredding. The meat was still fine, and perfect to add to my soup. I then removed the remaining solids and strained the stock into a bowl.
Dice up a carrot and onion and saute them in a little butter in a medium saucepan, until they just start to brown. Then I added the strained stock and tossed in some more herbs, tested the seasoning several times (it always needs more salt than I anticipate), and added the shredded chicken to warm it through. I had no small egg noodles (the only kind I like in chicken soup), but I did have angel hair, so I broke some of that into short pieces, and tossed it in for a couple of minutes.
Presto! Homemade chicken soup, the biggest cold-fighter I know of. I refrigerated the leftovers, and a glance at this container shows just how gelatinous my stock got:
Not the most appetizing picture, I know, but it’s delicious once it’s warmed through!