…and my husband has his first cold from germ-filled middle-schoolers. So this morning I was off to Martin’s to load up on medication, vitamin C, orange juice, and saltines. And of course, all the ingredients to start a giant pot of homemade chicken soup! It’s always a little intimidating making chicken soup because my mom, hands-down, makes the best chicken soup (and always has). Her recipe comes from my grandmother and isn’t actually written down anywhere. So while I have a general idea of the recipe, each time my ingredients vary slightly in amount and I can never quite decide what I like best. For the first time though I actually wrote down what I used so I could keep track. Just FYI, this is a several day process…so here goes:
8-10 lbs. chicken wings, legs, or thighs (today was a combo of legs and thighs)
6 carrots, peeled and cut in 2-3 inch segments
1 onion, peeled and cut in 6 wedges
6 garlic cloves
1 bunch of parsley (just a handful)
6 celery stalks, cut in 2-3 inch segments
Salt and pepper
Fill a large stockpot with all ingredients (I use a 12 qt stockpot) and add enough water to cover ingredients with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and immediately turn heat down to a simmer. Let it simmer for 8-10 hours adding water as needed to keep the water level an inch or two above the chicken and veggies. Let it cool so it can be put in the fridge overnight. If time allows, bring it to a boil and simmer for a second day for a more developed flavor.
Take a colander and line it with cheesecloth folded in half. Spoon all contents of the pot into the colander and let drain into another pot. Discard veggies and chicken. The chicken and vegetables will be so overcooked at this point that there is no redeemable flavor.
Let the soup cool and then stick it in the fridge overnight. In the morning the soup should be the consistency of jello and there should be a thick layer of fat on the top of the soup. Scoop it all out and discard (although if there’s a potato kugel in your future, a few tbs of that chicken fat makes all the difference in the world!). If this is the day you’re serving the soup put it back on the stove and heat it slowly. As it liquifies you can add salt and pepper to taste. You can also add shredded chicken and carrots or celery or whatever other vegetables you prefer. I prefer it with a little dill and carrots.
Rosh Hashanah is this weekend so besides being cold medicine this is also the start of my holiday preparations! Tomorrow I’m making a pot roast in the slow-cooker and will use the leftover meat to make kreplach (beef-filled dumplings) for the soup!
This makes a lot of soup so if you’re not using it all at once you can freeze it in single-serving portions. It will also keep in the fridge for up to a week. I like to have several ziploc baggies of soup in the freezer for the occasional cold throughout the year!
While it does take awhile to make, the taste is incomparable to store-bought stock or broth and I promise you won’t regret it!