Yup.. here it was today it was nearing 100 degrees and I made chicken soup. Is there anything that motivates a Mom faster than a sick kid asking for a certain food? My lil' guy wasn't feeling well last night, had a slight temp, then this morning awoke with a scratchy throat. And he asked for chicken soup.
I ran to Fresh and Easy, bought a whole young chicken, and some celery. All the other ingredients were in my larder . (I love using that word)
Here's the recipe, adapted from my Grandma's Chicken Soup recipe. The keys to my nice clear broth are: I cook the chicken and whole veg, then a strain the broth twice before I make the actual soup. Then chopped veggies, cleaned chicken, and clear broth are simmered with fideo noodles (very thin strand like egg noodles) The other thing is a lemon peel boiled in with the soup. Somehow it adds a freshness, a clearness of flavor to the broth.
The Best Chicken Soup
1 whole chicken, giblets removed
1 gallon water
2-3 bay leaves
1 medium white onion
6 carrots, small size
3-4 celery stalks (use the leafy parts if you have them)
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2 medium size zucchini
good olive oil
rind from one lemon, peeled off with a knife, white part removed
3 chicken bullion cubes (I like Knorr)
1 8 oz package fideo noodles (or any tiny small egg pasta)
Place 1/2 the onion, the bay leaves, 2 carrots, and 2 celery stalks(the leafy ones if you have them), and the chicken and water in a large stockpot. Let it come to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook slowly, with a lid just askew on top, for 2 hours. Meanwhile, chop the remainder of the veg (onion, carrots, celery and zucchini) into similar size pieces, I like a 1/2 inch or smaller dice). Set aside.
When the 2 hours is up, remove the chicken carefully into a colander set over a large bowl. Let it cool here while you do the next steps: In a smaller pot (I use my Lodge/ Le Crueset 5 1./2 quart) heat the olive oil, then add all the chopped veg plus the garlic. Let these sweat (do not brown--lower the heat if you have to) stirring frequently. Meanwhile, get another big bowl or clean stockpot and place a large metal strainer over it (I have one that fits right over ) Or use a colander lined with a clean tea towel. Now, place it in your sink for safety. Pour the broth from boiling the chicken into the strainer. Press the solids to extract the most broth. Discard the remaining solids. Clean out the strainer and do it again, this time in the stockpot you used for boiling the chicken (I suggest you wipe it out first). Now you have your clear broth.
Add this broth to the vegetables, and stir, add the bullion and the lemon peel. Let it come to a boil. Now add the noodles and turn down the heat to a rolling simmer.
Move on to the chicken, taking out the skin and bones and shredding it with two forks. Set aside.
When the pasta is nearly tender, add the chicken to the pot. Let it cook until the pasta is tender.
Serve with a squeeze of lemon if you like.