If someone asked me what my favorite food was, I’d say soup. I know that’s not very specific. There’s hundreds, nah thousands, of soups from simple broths to creamy bisque’s. But it doesn’t matter to me. I have yet to meet a soup I didn’t like. Okay, I take that back… there was this eggplant monstrosity I had in Stratford that made me rinse my mouth out BUT that was certainly the exception. Having said that, if pushed, and required to chose my very "favoritest", I would have to declare good old fashioned chicken soup. Here is a post from One Generation to Another first published November 6, 2007. Meet me on the other side for a "wrap up" and challenge!
I happen to be one of those people that loves to cook. (Sure beats the alternatives like cleaning or the four letter word ironing…okay, I know ironing has 7 letters, but the root word is only 4 letters, but I digress.) Anyway, I’m not talking gourmet cooking, but rather those savory comfort foods that can soothe and console, calm and placate, not to mention gratify the palate. These are the soups and stews, breads and desserts, veggies and meats whose aromas’ fill the house with a sense of anticipation and promise. There’s nothing like coming home to the smell of tonight’s dinner simmering on the stove. When the children were growing up, it was always my practice to make twice as much as I think I needed to allow for “a small taste”, a last minute dinner invitation, or leftovers for lunch.
The other day my son, Adam, was visiting and looked over at the stove. A kettle of chicken soup was cooking. He fished out a steamy carrot, popped it in his mouth, and after doing what appeared to be a war dance as he hopped around the room fanning his scalding mouth, commented that I ALWAYS have a pot of chicken soup going. Truth be told, it’s an hyperbole to say I ALWAYS have a pot of chicken soup going, but I do often enough for it to be a seemingly ubiquitous feature of my kitchen.
You might well ask, “Why the fixation with chicken soup?” Well, chicken soup is relatively easy to make, it’s nutritious, fairly inexpensive and often considered a good remedy for colds and flues…something to do with the mucous membranes, I think…BUT my main reason for making chicken soup is the fact that, oh, probably a third of the recipes I make call for cooked chicken or chicken broth. Starting a pot of soup around noon, when I have the time, allows me choices as the day progresses. If my schedule gets crazy, a few noodles and a piece of bread can turn the soup into a meal. If time permits, I am prepared to make casseroles, cacciatore, enchiladas, or unique “throw together” meals at the last minute.
Want your house to smell “homey”? Nothing, and I’m a bit of a connoisseur on household scents…to be discussed at a later date…says “home” like the smell of chicken soup. (Hmmmm…note to self…send Yankee Candle the suggestion to include chicken soup scent in their lineup.) Anyway…chicken soup IS synonymous with home and comfort…globally. All cultures seem to have their own version. Throw a matzo ball in the middle, and you have a Jewish classic. Curry and apples enhance India’s Mulligatawny. The Greek Lemon/Egg Soup is called Avgolemono and has a wonderfully surprising tartness. It is one of my personal challenges, as this list grows to unfeasibly gargantuan proportions, to try more chicken soup recipes.
So, if you haven’t already, discover the joys of chicken soup. If you don’t see yourself as a “bona fide cook” you will be delighted to find how easy it is to make. It won’t be long before your family associates it with home and comfort and you’ll find it to be a welcomed friend in your kitchen.
KIMARA’S CHICKEN SOUP
This is my own recipe that evolved over the years. The longer the soup cooks the more flavorful the veggies and chicken become. Flavors will intensify the longer you cook so reduce bouillon cubes if you plan to let it simmer all day.
3 pound bag boneless/skinless chicken tenderloins or breasts*
1 gallon water
2 cups chopped celery(approximately 5 large stalks)
2 cups chopped carrots(approximately 6 large carrots)**
1 large onion, chopped
6-8 chicken bouillon cubes*
4 bay leaves
2 t. dried basil
2 t. dried parsley
1/4 t. pepper
Place chicken tenderloins and water in a large stock pot. Heat to boiling, skimming until all foam is gone. Add veggies and seasoning. Bring to boil then reduce to simmer. Cook 2 – 4 hours. Remove chicken and chop into bite sized pieces. Return to soup. Remove bay leaves and serve with noodles. Note: If you are cooking the chicken for another recipe, it will be fully cooked and ready to remove after 45 minutes.
*Can use fresh, whole chicken. If you do, use 4 pounds to account for bone weight and skin chicken to reduce fat. Also, if using a tasty, fresh chicken, you will probably be able to reduce the amount of bouillon cubes you use. Remember, you can always add more if you need them, but can’t take them out. If reducing bouillon cubes, or omitting all together, salt to taste.
**I often add more carrots since I can lose many to “tastes” and because everyone in my family loves the cooked carrots. If you plan to let your soup simmer all day, or if you like your veggies firmer, wait and add carrots in the last hour of cooking.
So, this is My chicken soup recipe. If you try to pawn off any other chicken soup on Bug, he will promptly point out that this is NOT Gammy’s soup. Truth is… this IS the soup my children and grandchildren grew up on, and thus, their standard. And now, the challenge. As said earlier, I really want to expand my chicken soup repertoire. I’ve been to Southeastern, Chinese, Greek, Mexican, and Italian restaurants and they all have their own versions of chicken soup. So… do you have a favorite recipe for chicken soup that differs from my recipe? If so, I would LOVE for you to share it with us! And, what do you get for contributing? Well, the satisfaction of sharing with fellow readers, a link back to your blog, (if you have one) and my heart-felt gratitude! If you’d like to share a recipe, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, a little anecdote about the soup, your website, and, of course, the recipe. If you have a pic of the soup, that would be great, but not necessary. Oh, yes, another reward for sharing a recipe is our cute little button that you can proudly display on your website!
(FYI… I’m really hoping someone has a killer recipe for cream of chicken soup!) Thanks in advance to everyone that participates!