Pulling a page from Oprah, I. Love. Soup. I LOVE SOUP. I also love bread, but that’s another blog post. I could eat soup everyday, particularly during winter time and when I’m sick, which is now. There is nothing more satisfying than digging into a hot steaming bowl of your mama’s homemade chicken soup to make you feel better. Well guess what? Your mama’s not here and you need to cut the cord and start taking care of your own sick ass.
Making homemade chicken noodle soup is a great start. You can either have it as chicken noodle or use it as stock for some other awesome soup. Refrain from opening a can or carton of “soup” as a replacement. It’s not the same. At all. It’s full of thickeners, flour, preservatives, and other cheap ingredients.
The most important part of the soup is the stock because it’s basically the soup. It can seem overwhelming, but it’s just sticking a chicken (or a bunch of chicken pieces) in some water and slap chopping in some vegetables. Then it just simmers for hours.
The second important part is getting a quality chicken. By that, I mean don’t get a discounted bird from Walmart, where they’re hocking sweatshop chickens that were basically featherless and beakless their whole lives. To make chicken stock, you’re infusing the water with the chicken’s essence, along with some vegetables. If you have a sweatshop bird, you’re also going to infuse it with all the toxins that comes with being in a nasty environment. Try getting a decent bird at a local grocer, butcher, or farmer’s market. If you don’t know, just ask.
You: “Hey is this a sweatshop bird?”
You: “Did it come with a beak?”
That wasn’t helpful, but you get the point. Below is my recipe for a simple stock. It seems like a lot of work, but it’s basically prep and then playing the waiting game.
Homemade Chicken Stock
1 chicken (3-4 lb or chicken pieces like legs, wings)
3-5 celery stalks, chopped (or a celery root)
3-5 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large white/yellow onion, chopped (or 2 small ones)
4-5 garlic cloves, smashed
¼ cup fresh parsley
1-2 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp salt
8-10+ cups of water (until everything is covered in the pot)
I like to chop my vegetables to smallish pieces because there is more surface area exposed in the broth. I feel like you’ll get a better veggie essence rather than jamming in some giant carrot.
Put everything into a big pot and pour enough water to cover it (or most of it). This recipe is quite flexible since it can be. It’s not like you need exactly 3 carrots and don’t you dare add another. If you have 4, then toss them in. You can also add in fresh thyme, but I generally don’t have that on hand. I don’t always have parsley either, so whatevs.
Also, if you add more ingredients, add more water. But if you’re doing the minimum quantity of these ingredients, stick to the the 8-10 cups of water. You don’t want a watered down broth.
Set to medium on the stove and let it start to simmer. Once you reached that point, turn it to medium low. You don’t want a rolling boil, but just some simmering. Leave on for a few hours. I try to go for 5, but last night when I made this, it was just 3 hours. Still delish.
Strain off any gross crud that floats to the top and after you’re done making it, strain the liquid. Pick out the good chicken bits and toss them back in the broth or maybe for a future sandwich, wrap or salad. I also like to toss in a few tender carrot pieces.
Now you have chicken stock or chicken soup. Add in some noodles and eat or let it cool down and pop it into the freezer. Legit chicken stock, not the garbage you buy at the store, is so good for you. It helps when you’re sick, have joint inflammation, acid reflux, leaky gut and a bunch of other ailments. Plus it’s delicious and it doesn’t take much effort. I made my latest batch on a Monday night after work. So get on it!