Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Monthly Mingle: Chicken Soup

Meeta over at What's for Lunch Honey had designated this month's monthly mingle to be about comfort foods. Here's her definition of comfort food:
It's the type of food that picks us up when we are down, warms us when we are feeling lost and cold and blurs out the bad mood. The first mouthful takes us straight back to the familiar, the good; to the time when all was well. That is what I am looking for this month. Your very favorite comfort foods.
Like many others, my main comfort food is chicken soup. I'm not fussy...I'll eat it with matzoh balls, noodles, mandlen, matzoh, rice, whatever...As long as it resembles my grandmother's recipe, I'm "good to go" (or eat, in this case).

This is my variation of my grandmother's recipe. It all starts off with the basic ingredients...Chicken. The amount of chicken depends on the amount of broth you want to make. I used one package of chicken carcass, one cut up chicken and the package in the back in my frozed turkey carcass from Thanksgiving. I wasn't sure if the spices I used on the turkey would affect the broth. It didn't.

Important to this recipe, use kosher chicken. The turkey isn't kosher. The one time my grandmother made soup with a non-kosher chicken, I took one taste of it and told her that something was seriously wrong with the soup. She admitted that it wasn't kosher. The taste is entirely different. I think it has to do with how kosher chicken is salted. If you're interested, here are the (somewhat gory) details of making sure chicken is kosher. Depending on the city you live in, kosher chicken can be significantly more expensive than non-kosher chicken.

Put all of the meat into a stock pot and cover with water (best to be conservative on the amount of water you put in to avoid a bland broth)

Add some salt at this stage and let the chicken/turkey cook for about an hour. Shortly after the water starts boiling, scummy stuff forms on the top of the pot. Skim this off.

After the chicken and turkey have cooked for a while, add the vegetables. I was running low on carrots, but in general I would probably use at least 3 big carrots.

From here, I leave the soup to simmer for 3 hours or so. Check it periodically to make sure it's not boiling too fast. Usually, I just keep it on low. About an hour before it's finished, add some dill.

Once this is all done. I strain the contents of the pot into a Dutch Oven (and second pot, if necessary). Save the meat on from the bones to make a chicken salad (or for a meal of boiled chicken, if you like it).

This time, since I had a large turkey carcass, I was able to get a lot of broth...and the flavouring was good too. I think it also helped to have fresh dill (instead of my usual frozen dill).

You can then put the soup in your fridge to cool overnight. But, let the soup cool down a lot first otherwise it'll warm your fridge. The next day, skim the congealed fat off the top of the broth.

At this point the soup is ready to be warmed for eating or put into containers for freezing. I was able to get a bowl of soup and 6 good-sized containers out of my stock.

I used a package mix to make some matzoh balls...but since my larger pots were not clean, I used a smaller pot (than required) for boiling the matzoh balls. As a result of that and not letting the mixture set for a long enough time in the fridge, the matzoh balls were harder than I like. Still...it was good.

I also added some mandlen for good measure.

All-in-all, successful soup-making day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Chicken Soup is the best. Perfect comfy food for me too. Thanks for joining!

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