Or, a chicken soup recipe for when you have a cold.
At the request of my good friend Nate. This recipe uses the “entire chicken,” and there is something about the restorative powers of using this whole of the bird to bring yourself back.
I’ve attempted this recipe a few times, sometimes when I shouldn’t have, for example, when I had wrapped myself in a blanket while cooking, and nearly lit my sleeve, and therefore myself, in flames—so, yeah, don’t wrap yourself in a blanket while you do this.
- Whole chicken, preferably as natural and free of a life as possible. Definitely no injected bullshit in there.
- 2 “normal sized” carrots, peeled and chopped into a few large pieces.
- A big onion, cut into quarters or eighths. (Leave brown skin on, just cut away the ‘gross part’).
- A leak or 2 celery stalks, or some fennel, really whatever you got, or none is fine too, roughly chopped (make sure you clean that leak though, google it to figure it out).
- Black pepper corns.
- 4-5 cloves garlic, crushed, skin on.
- 2 bay leaves.
- 1 table-spoon tomato paste.
- 10 Thyme sprigs.
- Big handful parsley.
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt (and more to taste).
Finishing The Soup:
- 1 Carrot, peeled, finely chopped. (these will be in the soup, so cut ‘em up pretty).
- Pasta, macaroni or shells, or whatever you have laying around. Broken up spaghetti if you want.
- The reserved chicken from the stock, roughly chopped,
Put the whole chicken in your large stock pot. Fill it so taht there is about 2 inches of water over the bird. Put it on high heat, and wait till it just become a boil. Put it on low simmer, for about 45 minutes.
Skim the broth! The lower the simmer, the less agitation, and therefore the less amount of skummy junk floats to the top. But literally the whole time, you should be skimming off the fat, and the weird bubbly junk. Get rid of it!
At the 45 minute mark, pull out the bird. And turn off the heat. Now is a great time to get rid of all that fat that is floating around, since there is nothing else left. Skim it off with a ladle, and don’t freak out if you get rid of a little broth here and there.
With a set of kitchen tongs, you should be able to peel off the skin. if the chicken is too hot, let it chill (literally—zing!) for a few minutes. Toss the skin or save it for some crazy peasant recipe (it’s pretty gnarly at this point, have no shame in tossing it). The pull off the breast meat, as best you can. Pull off the thigh and drumstick meat as well. It should come off pretty easily with the tongs. Reserve all the meat. Anything that has a lot of gristle or gunk, toss it back in the broth, this is the good stuff!
Toss the bones and carcass remnants back into the broth. Bring it back up to just before the boil, then put it on a low simmer, and let it cook for 4-5 hours. Every so often stir and skim. Replenish the water from time to time, keep about a 2 inch buffer. The longer it cooks, the more gelatin will dissolve into the broth. Aka, the mightier the strength of the potion.
If you really want the most potent of potions, start this whole process around 5PM or so, so that around 10 PM, you turn off the broth and let it sit overnight, and then finish it in the morning. If you don’t have time for that, it’s fine, it’ll still kick the shit out of any store bought crap you can find.
If you’ve let it sit overnight, bring it to a boil and then immediately back to the low simmer. (Or at the 4 hour mark, if you don’t let it sit over night), add all the veg and spices. Let it simmer for about 45 minutes. Any longer, and the veggies will start robbing the broth of it’s flavor.
Strain the whole thing through a sieve, at least 3 or 4 times. At this point you have the stock. You can correct the seasoning to your taste, but you may want to wait until you finish the whole soup. You can stick this in the fridge for a few days, or just go ahead an finish.
To finish, bring back to a simmer, pop in the chopped carrots, pasta, reserved chicken meat, or anything else you like in your soup. You will probably want to go easy on the meat, maybe save some for a sandwich or something. Let it simmer about 10-15 mins till the pasta is tender, and serve. I added a little freshly chopped chives to the bowls.