Wednesday, April 9, 2008
This is the one meal my kids jump up & down yelling *Woo-Hoo* for. The key is making your own chicken stock from scratch. The canned stuff just isn't the same.
Max was home sick today & this was the perfect fix...
First, you need 2- 4lb. chickens & a big pot. If handling a dead bird makes you cringe.
Then, this isn't the recipe for you. You'll have to pop open a can of Campbell's instead.
Add some quartered, unpeeled onions,
a few teaspoons of whole peppercorns,
some fresh parsley,
a bunch of fresh thyme,
a tablespoon of Kosher salt,
and a whole head of garlic, unpeeled. (didn't have one for the photo)
Fill the pot with water & bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered for 1 hr
Then remove the chickens & place in a big bowl to cool down enough to handle. You can turn the stock off while you are waiting.
Once the chicken is cool, use your hands, or tongs, to take the breast meat off, shred it & reserve in a bowl for later & put the rest of the bird back in the pot...bones, skin & all. Bring it back to a boil & simmer uncovered for 3 more hrs.
This is a long process. But, you will get a lot of stock & many meals from it! After the 3 hrs. strain the stock through a colander & discard all of the solids. Let it cool for awhile.
At this point you need to skim the fat off. The easiest way is to let it cool down. The fat solidifies on the surface & can be easily skimmed off. If pressed for time you can use one of those gravy separator things & just separate the fat from the stock in batches. The fat can be discarded, or reserved for making matzo balls....a whole 'nother delicious story.
Depending on how big of a pot you used, you should get about 3 qts of stock. It is very concentrated & has a ton of flavor. When cooled it solidifies into gelatin...Don't be nervous when you see your leftover chicken soup in the fridge looks like jello. It will liquefy again once heated.
For making the actual chicken soup, the stock needs to be diluted. So, put a quart of it back in a pot for dinner, add a quart of water & freeze the rest in separate containers. I use pint sized ones for easy lunches, or quarts for a couple more dinners. Just mix the frozen stock with an equal part water when you use it again.
So, now you've got 2 qts of liquid in the pot again. Bring this to a boil & add 2 cups egg noodles, 2 stalks of celery (chopped), and 3 carrots (chopped). Simmer for 10 min. Add your reserved chicken from earlier....along with 1/4 cup of minced fresh parsley. Season with salt & pepper.
Serve with crusty bread, buttermilk biscuits, dumplings, or matzo balls.
Next time you use the stock, you won't have the chicken breast meat you did this time. So, just roast 1 whole chicken breast, bone-in, skin-on. Rub it with olive oil, salt & pepper. Cook at 350 for 35-40 min. Shred meat off bone & proceed from there. OR, just use a store bought chicken, or leftovers.