Monday, December 10, 2018

Chicken Soup

Ma would make a big batch of chicken soup and freeze portions for a few weeks. I used to use her ancient pot (below, on left) but I became exasperated how quickly I needed to allot a Sunday to make another one. So off to Amazing Savings, and I got myself this baby (on right).
I don't make soup exactly how she did. Well, her method was always changing. My brother-in-law's friend was scandalized that she didn't use leek, so in leek went. My sister's sister-in-laws were laughing she didn't put in a tomato, so in went a tomato. Then she heard somewhere about chucking in a golden beet for color, and it does add a lovely shade. 

I've messed around further with the method. My sister, whose brood are deadly serious about chicken soup, has had to hone her skill finely. She simmers it overnight, so I now devote an entire day to its construction. 

I read in an article about browning the chicken before adding in the water for deeper flavor. Cool. 

But I added my own step to cut back on the necessary skimming of gunk: I pre-boil the chicken in the smaller pot for about five minutes—not too long. Then my soup is a lot cleaner. (It's naaaasty what's left behind!)

I personally love the vegetables from the soup (my in-laws considerately keep it for me). I use not only the aromatics (onion, celery, carrots), I gleefully add parsnip (not too many, Ta's not crazy about the flavor), turnips, and rutabaga (oh, rutabaga, mmm). 

My niece commented that my soup tastes like Ma's, and her mother said that's because I use dill. 'Cause I love dill. 

Ma used chicken legs, but for all that merciless simmering, I use chicken bones. I add turkey legs too, but keep on the skin because that's where all the fabulous collagen is. 

For seasoning, I definitely undersalt (still can't escape Ma's high blood pressure, even though she ain't here no more). Peppercorns, red pepper flakes, garlic cloves, bay leaves, fresh parsley, and again, fresh dill. Mmm. 

Straining is vital. Cheesecloth! Or at least use a fine mesh strainer. 

Behold, nine to ten weeks of golden joy. I try to let it cool as much as possible before pouring it over into plastic, then into the freezer it goes.


Anonymous said...

Simmering overnight? That's intense!
But I like your method of preboiling--do you do that with bones, as well?

Princess Lea said...

It is intense! And delicious!

Yes, I do it with all the bird that goes in. The gunk and scum all come out. I use tongs to fish everything out of the icky water, and then my official version is markedly cleaner.

Altie said...

My sister makes chicken soup in the Instapot and sometimes will cook it twice. The pressure gives it intense flavor.

Thanks for these great tips, I like the idea of the golden beat.

Princess Lea said...

That sounds awesome. I'm dithering about the Instapot. I should give in already.